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vendredi, 08 janvier 2016

Review: The Glass Bees by Ernst Jünger

Review: The Glass Bees by Ernst Jünger

Ex: http://the-electric-philosopher.blogspot.com

Thanks to Rowan Lock for the biographical details, and general assistance with writing.

You can get hold of the copy of The Glass Bees I read here.
glassbees.jpgErnst Jünger was one of the true luminaries of the intellectual Right in the 20th century. A popular hero of the First World War, famous for his memoir of the conflict entitled The Storm of Steel, he became aligned with the German conservative revolutionary movement in the interbellum years, and as such advocated a radical, authoritarian, militarist nationalism. This being said, he never made the fatal gesture Heidegger made, and was never associated with National Socialism; his relationship with Nazism began as coolly ambivalent, progressing into antipathy and finally open hostility (he was even peripherally involved with 20 July Plot to assassinate Hitler). This being said, his contribution to political theory outside his initial context was, essentially, minimal. However, he was regarded as a figure of great literary stature in post-war Europe. He was a prolific novelist, and his incredibly long lifespan (over a century) gave him an enviable vantage point to comment from: he was a grown man when the German Empire collapsed, he was present during the rise and fall of the Third Reich, and lived to see the reunification of Germany (comfortably outliving the German Democratic Republic). His fans included a variety of contradictory figures, including Hitler, Goebbels, Francois Mitterand, Thomas Mann and Bertolt Brecht. As well as writing, he was also a well-educated botanist and entomologist. He was even one of the very earliest experimenters with LSD. He was a man who embodied the very paradoxes and contradictions of recent European existence.
The Glass Bees is a novel about Captain Richard, a retired cavalryman-turned-tank-inspector. He's been offered an interview for a job working for Zapparoni, a technology magnate who embodies the Zeitgeist of modernity perfectly, and is depicted almost as a synthesis of Walt Disney and Steve Jobs, only infinitely cooler. Zapparoni's company makes the finest automata in the land, but these aren't the clunky mechanoids you might expect, they're rather more like the kind of tech that we have here-and-now. They are modest, ubiquitous, labour saving devices, tiny robots performing a host of domestic and industrial tasks. That isn't the limit to Zapparoni's vision though, he is also a purveyor of cinematic products, his automata bringing characters from myth and legend to all-too convincing life (in other words, animatronics). The vividness of the distractions he produces is, however, somewhat disquieting: 
Children, in particular, were held spellbound [by his films]. Zapparoni had dethroned the old stock figures of the fairy tales...Parents even complained that their children were too preoccupied with him.  
Richard is not a man of his time, arguably like Jünger himself. He harks back to the glory days of warfare and conflict that still felt human, battles fought with flesh and steel, and not simply with mechanisms and calculations. He feels a particular disgust at the kind of dismemberment produced by the technics of modern warfare, remarking that one doesn't find any stories of amputated limbs in the Iliad. That statement in particular becomes eerily prescient of the image of today's soldier wounded by an IED in one of our misadventures in the Middle East, missing an arm or a leg, but still alive: Richard mourns the loss of wars that killed you cleanly. Richard's world is one that has been plunging into chaos and uncertainty since his youth, when his country, Asturia, was plunged repeatedly into war, including civil war. He is a man whose principles were formed in a world now lost, and the one he finds himself in does not feel like an improvement.
[My father] had led a quiet life, but at the end he hadn't been too happy either. Lying sick in bed, he said to me: "My boy, I am dying at just the right moment." Saying this, he gave me a sad, worried look. He had certainly foreseen many things.
glassbees222.jpgThis is a deeply reactionary novel, and doesn't make for easy reading. Jünger's writing meanders, straying into lengthy digressions into his narrator's memory; his pace is languid, virtually glacial in fact. Although his prose is beautiful, even poetic, it feels incredibly indulgent and is often, frankly, dull. Very little happens as such in the novel, the bulk of it simply being Richard's recollections. And yet, what is curious is how this achingly slow piece of writing is able to convey the sheer speed with which modernity did away with the old world. The narrator, like Jünger, grew up in a world were the horse was still yet to be rendered obsolete by the automobile. 
Jünger's clear concern is that technological progress will injure humanity very, very deeply.
Human perfection and technical perfection are incompatible. If we strive for one, we must sacrifice the other...Technical perfection strives toward the calculable, human perfection toward the incalculable. Perfect mechanisms...evoke both fear and a titanic pride which will be humbled not by insight but only by catastrophe.

What is curious here is that before the Second World War, Jünger advocated Germany's complete embracing of the technological age as the only way it could find victory in the next war. He felt that it was Germany and Austria-Hungary's traditional, aristocratic hierarchy that prevented it from being able to properly mobilise itself in the total way the more levelled, egalitarian societies of the democracies were capable of doing (he discusses this in his work Total Mobilisation), and only by accepting the levelling effects of technological modernity could Germany once again find itself triumphant. Perhaps by the time of writing The Glass Bees Jünger had simply become disenchanted with the fury of warfare.

Elsewhere Richard, and maybe Jünger, speaks of the loss of the simple 'joy' of labour, of working the earth, of harvesting crops, of the well-deserved rest at the end of the long day, and how this has been traded in for labour that is certainly easier, and leisure time that is longer, but doesn't carry the same weight of satisfaction. The fear that we have lost much and gained little except damnation in return is the central theme of this book.

Zapparoni himself, in fact, has utilised his vast wealth and power to create a private world at first seemingly devoid of the artefacts that have made his name. He has a residence located within the grounds of his plant (which Bruce Sterling, in his introduction, remarks is not dissimilar to the campus feeling of Silicon Valley) in the form of a converted abbey. Richard explores its private library, finding books on Rosicrucianism and other occult sciences, and is later sent down the path to a cottage that comes close to the very Platonic Form of idyllic country residences. What is curious here is that this retreat from modernity has only been made possible by Zapparoni's very success at the practices and theories that Richard feels have destroyed the simple authenticity of the old world. How might this be read? Perhaps Jünger is suggesting that the only way back into the world that has been lost is to pass through the modern one, presuming we are capable of surviving it, and to use its mechanisms and ingenuity to recreate a new version of the old.

There's a feeling of resignation in this novel. Jünger isn't really calling on us to take up arms against the machines. His constant allusions to astrology suggest that he feels that what we now find ourselves in was, somehow, inevitable. It is our bad luck to find ourselves in the midst of it, but a way out might be found if we can weather the storm of the new. This being said, Richard repeatedly describes his attitude as 'defeatist'. Perhaps the more subtle suggestion Jünger is making here is that things only became inevitable when we decided we can't stop them.

I'm left feeling torn by this book. I share Jünger's concerns about the insidious nature of these devices we're now surrounded by, and yet the past he (or Richard) is seemingly appealing to is one that is forever out of reach, and if we were to find ourselves in it, it wouldn't be what we wanted. Consider the above statement about how now modern war doesn't kill one cleanly, that we now have the mutilated, dismembered wounded: we can equally well read this as 'Human technical ingenuity is now such that it can protect us, admittedly only limitedly, from the extremities of human malice.'

The question posed by modernity is one that has not yet had a satisfactory answer. Indeed, the question itself has yet to be fully formulated. Jünger's contribution to understanding the condition that we find ourselves in is an important one. If nothing else, he can remind us how incredibly recent all of this still is. Up until only very recently, there were people alive who'd fought in the war of Kings, Kaisers and Tsars, witnessed the rise of all the great and terrible varieties of attempted Utopia the last century produced, saw a human being walk upon the surface of the Moon (an image which disturbed Heidegger no end), and died in the age of Facebook.

It really is anyone's guess where this will all lead.

2016 Reading List Progress

List 1:
1. The Glass Bees by Ernst Jünger
2. Sacred Drift: Essays on the Margins of Islam by Peter Lamborn Wilson
3. Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
4. United States of Paranoia by Jesse Walker
5. Axiomatic by Greg Egan 

lundi, 28 décembre 2015

“Stato, grande spazio e nomos”, Carl Schmitt e la globalizzazione americana che stermina


“Stato, grande spazio e nomos”, Carl Schmitt e la globalizzazione americana che stermina

Ex: http://www.ilprimatonazionale.it

Roma, 24 dic – Far passare l‘hostis, il nemico, per un criminale al fine di eliminarlo. E’ l’operazione che Carl Schmitt prevedeva avrebbero attuato i nuovi “padroni del mondo”, gli Stati Uniti. Una guerra contro l’altro da sé, a suon di missili anche, certo, ma senza rinunciare e piuttosto preferendo quello che più recentemente Joseph Nye ha definito soft power, attraverso il quale Washington avrebbe dovuto imporre un modello culturale e di vita a partire dal controllo dei media. Schmitt anticipò e comprese da subito che “l’universalismo dell’egemonia anglo-americana” avrebbe sancito un sistema unico globale cancellando distinzioni e pluralità spazio-temporali. Un mondo dominato dalla tecnologia generata da una sola potenza, da strategie economiche transnazionali e finanche da una “polizia internazionale”. Il giurista tedesco vide oltre la globalizzazione, che è sterminata perché cancella il Terminus come per Hegel l’infinito si realizza a spese del finito, e lo fece ante litteram senza essere un nano salito sulle spalle dei giganti del suo tempo. Lo fece da gigante con buona pace della crème della mediocrità intellettuale, che ancora si affanna a revisionare lui come Heidegger senza afferrarli mai se non per collocarli altrove poiché colpevoli di non essere come loro prima che essere macchiati dell’eterna colpa nazista.

Già nel fondamentale Terra e Mare Schmitt analizzava il diacronico processo che ha portato la talassocrazia statunitense ad imporsi sulle potenze di terra europee. Ben prima della recentissima uscita di “Stato, grande spazio e nomos” (Adelphi, pp. 527, euro 60) i lettori italiani potevano coglierne la filosofia politica che inchiodava il liberalismo alla vacuità su cui fin dalle origini poggiava, a quel tentativo mai celato di imporre la società al di sopra dello Stato, fino all’estirpazione di quest’ultimo professata da Franz Oppenheimer. Se è pur vero che per Schmitt lo Stato per essere tale necessita del concetto di “politico” oggi assente, Voltaire in Zadig e nel Candido sosteneva che i legami commerciali e contrattuali fossero preferibili a quelli basati sul Blut und Boden, sintagma germanico impronunciabile al tempo dell’ortodossia umanitaria dell’antiparadigma Ius Soli, perché intrinsecamente meno dispotici. Per Schmitt era vero l’opposto perché porre lo Stato al di sotto dell’individuo significava “degradarlo appositamente in zone di immoralità e di violenza”, renderlo quindi un feticcio primitivo.

Ed è proprio questo l’eterno inganno liberale, sciogliere l’individuo da ogni responsabilità, confondendo il voluttuario con la volontà prometeica che ha un’origine e per questo, soltanto per questo, è destinata a portare il fuoco che edifica e non cancella il confine e la norma. La grandezza di Schmitt sta qua, nel tracciare un solco nel diritto internazionale e nella filosofia politica, e basterebbe Il nomos della terra, inevitabile come lo è Essere e tempo di Heidegger per la metafisica, a sfidare i guardiani del caos. Alla cancellazione della definizione c’è sempre l’alternativa della definizione stessa che potrà pure essere tacciata di inattualità ma resterà certezza di fronte ad ogni dissoluzione. Come il Castello dei Pirenei di Matisse, l’opera di Schmitt resta una roccia che si erge sopra le onde che tentano di spazzare via ogni Nomos della Terra.

Eugenio Palazzini

lundi, 23 novembre 2015

Paroles visionnaires de Carl Schmitt

Schmitt1xxxx.jpgParoles visionnaires de Carl Schmitt

« Ce serait une stupidité de croire qu'un peuple sans défense n'aurait que des amis, et il serait bas et malhonnête de compter que l'ennemi se laisserait peut-être attendrir par la non-résistance. Personne n'ira croire que les hommes puissent, par exemple, changer le monde et y créer une situation de moralité pure en renonçant à toute productivité esthétique ou économique; combien moins encore un peuple renonçant à toute décision politique saurait-il placer l'humanité dans une situation où régnerait la moralité pure ou l'économie pure. Qu'un peuple n'ait plus la force ou la volonté de se maintenir dans la sphère du politique ce n'est pas la fin du politique dans le monde. C'est seulement la fin d'un peuple faible. » 

 La notion de politique, Carl Schmitt.

jeudi, 12 novembre 2015

Ludwig Klages and the Biocentric View of Life

Ludwig Klages and the Biocentric View of Life

Joakim Andersen

Ex: http://www.righton.net

Klages2.jpgKlages puts Life in the centre, but he also identifies an anti-Life force that gradually infiltrated the world and took it over.

Ludwig Klages (1872–1956) was one of the most interesting thinkers of the twentieth century. He was also one of the most complex. Klages was a philosopher, a psychologist, and a leading graphologist. Together with Alfred Schuler and Karl Wolfskehl, he formed the ‘Cosmic Circle’ in Munich. The Circle consisted of the milieu around the poet Stefan George, but it did not fully adhere to George’s patriarchal worldview.

Klages was a productive and original thinker. Among other things, he was the father of the term ‘id’ which was later to be picked up by Sigmund Freud. Klages also coined the term logocentrist, which today is a term used in certain types of feminist theories. He gave his psychological school the name characterology, and wrote several classics on graphology.

Klages was a man of paradox. In his writings he was an anti-Semite, yet he spent several years editing the works of his Jewish-Hungarian colleague, the natural philosopher Melchior Palagyi, after he had passed away. Klages was not very popular in the Third Reich, but neither did he renounce his theories about Judaism even after the Second World War, either. Recently, Jürgen Habermas stated that there is much of value in Klages, given that he was such an original and interesting thinker. But his unique perspective is now largely forgotten. It is therefore of great value that Arktos Media has published two books consisting of excerpts from his writings, translated by Joseph D Pryce (Pryce has also written a valuable introduction to both collections). This present review focuses on the first of them, The Biocentric Worldview.

The Biocentric Worldview

‘Wild boar, ibex, fox, pine marten, weasel, duck and otter — all animals with which the legends dear to our memory are intimately intertwined — are shrinking in numbers, where, that is, they have not already become extinct…’
— Klages, 1913

What I appreciate the most in Klages’ thought is his so-called biocentric worldview. Klages claims that the distinction between ‘idealism’ and ‘materialism’ is rather irrelevant. In its place he describes a deeper, less well-known historical conflict. Klages puts Life in the centre, but he also identifies an anti-Life force that gradually infiltrated the world and took it over. Klages uses the German terms Seele and Geist, usually translated as Spirit and Mind. There is an intimate connection between Life and Spirit, but Mind is connected to abstractions, like ‘sin’, ‘will to power’, and similar concepts. Klages illuminates the difference:

‘Just as the philosopher of spirit considers everything that denies spirit to be a “sin”, the philosopher of life regards that which denies life to be an offense… no one speaks of a sin against a tree, but men have certainly spoken in the past — and even today many still speak — of an offense against a tree.’

Among these expressions of anti-Life he mentions moralism, Judaism, and Christianity, as well as capitalism and militarism. Nietzsche’s ‘will to power’ also risks becoming a part of the anti-Life forces and an unhealthy obsession. Klages develops a useful deep ecological perspective, related to and complementing Naess, Abbey, and Linkola. He also describes how ‘progress’ has hurt the world. In the essay ‘Man and Earth’, Klages describes how animals and plants became extinct, but also how folk cultures and authentic human emotions are pushed aside. Klages was an anti-colonialist, and discusses how both species of animals and human cultures are extinguished. In their place everything, is homogenised, and the vampire that is Geist spreads over the world. Thus Klages connects the threat against biological diversity with the threat against cultural.

‘Modern man´s conscious striving for power far surpasses that of any previous epoch… in the service of human needs, the ever-increasing mechanization has brought about the desecration of the natural world.’
— Klages

These essays are also interesting from the perspective of the history and philosophy of science. Klages analyses both psychoanalysis and Socrates, among many other things. He criticises concepts like ‘progress’ and utopianism as being hostile to Life. His perspective places primary value on Spirit and Life, and on the non-conscious and the qualitative. One does well to compare Klages with Guénon’s The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, along with Heidegger and Alexander Jacob’s De Naturae Natura.

klagesSX336_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgKlages and Romanticism

‘Man should look upon the harvested fruits of the unconscious as an unexpected windfall bestowed by Heaven above.’
— Goethe

Among Klages’ own sources we find Nietzsche and the pre-Socratic philosophers. We also find the German Romantics and Goethe. Among the Romantics, Klages focuses on the now largely forgotten Carl Gustav Carus. He demonstrates that German Romanticism has permanent value.

In one’s own life, Klages is of value in showing that too much Geist leads to a worse and less authentic life. When the process has gone too far, one loses the ability to perceive the beauty of a forest, and instead only sees it as something merely quantifiable: as a bunch of timber. Likewise, the Romantics and Klages are also of use in politics. They show that the tendency towards hyper-politicisation and ideological thinking are among the enemies of Life. Family, nature, emotions, beauty, folk culture — they are all threatened by too much Geist. When Karlheinz Weissmann identifies the living as the leitmotiv of conservatism, or when Heinrich von Leo described his mission as protecting the ‘God-given, real life, in its development following its inner forces’, they are clearly related to Klages. Conservatism, defined as taking care of the living, not only animals and plants but also such ‘organisms’ as cultures, can also be biocentric.

When it comes to the philosophy of science, Carus, Goethe, and Klages are also of great use, given their focus on the whole rather than on the parts of things, on the sub- or non-conscious, and on reality and life above the prevailing focus on the mechanical and quantifiable. Klages quotes Carus:

‘…the key to an understanding of conscious thought resides in the realm of the unconscious.’

The Biocentric Worldview is thus of great value due to its deep ecological qualities as well as Klages’ original conception of history. Klages’ description of the rise and vampire-like spread of Geist has much in common with Nietzsche’s description of how ressentiment and slave morality takes over the world. (However, some aspects of Nietzsche are also dangerously close to the vampire.)

Klages is not a determinist. He does not rule out that Spirit and Life may be defended against Mind. He also reminds us that the goal of a Spirit-oriented science is to understand, rather than to reduce and manipulate. His role models are thus heroes, poets, and gods. The anthology is highly recommended.

Recommended products:

The Biocentric Worldview

Price: $21.00

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Cosmogonic Reflections: Selected Aphorisms from Ludwig Klages

Price: $22.40

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About The Author

Joakim Andersen is regarded as 'the grand old man' of the Swedish New Right, and was one of the founders of the famous Scandinavian think-tank Motpol. His ideological background is Marxist, but he has since moved on to what he regards as more interesting sources of inspiration such as Julius Evola, Alain de Benoist, and Georges Dumézil. His writing focuses primarily on issues pertaining to intellectual history.

mardi, 10 novembre 2015

Evola e la critica dell’americanismo


Evola e la critica dell’americanismo

Ex: http://www.centrostudilaruna.it

  evola-oltre-il-muro-del-tempo   Dalla casa editrice romana Pagine sono stati pubblicati recentemente (giugno 2015) gli atti di un convegno tenutosi nel 2014 nella capitale e dedicato al tema “Julius Evola oltre il muro del tempo. Ciò che è vivo a quarant’anni dalla morte”. Il volume, dal medesimo titolo, comprende tutte le relazioni presentate all’epoca, cioè quelle di de Turris, Veneziani, Malgieri, Fusaro e Scarabelli. Qui mi occuperò soltanto del testo di Fusaro, avente come oggetto “Evola e Heidegger critici dell’americanismo”, ed esclusivamente della parte riguardante Evola.

     L’impostazione metodologica di Fusaro è indubbiamente condivisibile: “in filosofia il solo modo di rendere onore a un autore consiste nel discuterne criticamente le tesi, a distanza di sicurezza dai due atteggiamenti – apparentemente opposti e, in verità, segretamente complementari – dell’elogio agiografico e della demonizzazione preventiva” (p. 27). Altrettanto condivisibile, anche se per nulla originale, è l’approccio di Fusaro all’esame evoliano dell’americanismo, in quanto prende giustamente le mosse dal celebre scritto del 1929, Americanismo e bolscevismo, uscito sulla rivista “Nuova Antologia”. Ulteriore aspetto da sottolineare è l’insistenza, corretta, sul ‘maggior pericolo’ rappresentato, agli occhi di Evola, dall’America rispetto all’Unione Sovietica. Ma con ciò si esauriscono, a parere di chi scrive, gli spunti positivi presenti nel testo di Fusaro.

     Questo perché, innanzitutto, va criticata l’impostazione generale dello scritto, dato che Fusaro, insistendo sempre e solo sul parallelismo americanismo/bolscevismo, finisce col perdere completamente di vista le analisi ben più ricche e articolate riservate da Evola alla ‘civiltà americana’. Detto altrimenti, dallo scritto di Fusaro vien fuori un Evola che praticamente dagli anni Venti sino alla sua morte avrebbe letto l’americanismo servendosi di un’unica chiave interpretativa, quella appunto della sua equipollenza con il bolscevismo, con l’ovvia conseguenza di dar vita a una lettura in fondo astorica e iperschematica, del tutto avulsa dai cambiamenti economici, politici, sociali, culturali, nel frattempo intervenuti. Fusaro infatti passa sistematicamente sotto silenzio, non si comprende se per scarsa conoscenza delle fonti o per superficialità analitica, tutti gli scritti in cui Evola non solo rivede, seppur parzialmente, il suo giudizio negativo sull’America, ma dimostra anche di seguire con attenzione i nuovi fenomeni che nello scorrere del tempo prendevano piede oltreoceano, dalla Beat Generation alle tesi di Burnham, dalle posizioni politiche di Barry Goldwater e George Wallace ai testi di Kuehnelt-Leddhin, e così via.

     Non solo, perché anche le critiche rivolte a Evola da Fusaro si rivelano, a mio parere, inconsistenti. Nel dettaglio: Fusaro accusa Evola di incoerenza per aver giustificato la scelta del MSI di votare a favore del Patto Atlantico, pur sottolineando, a ragione, che l’accettazione evoliana del Patto non dipendeva da “un mal celato filoatlantismo” (p. 45) ma si spiegava “unicamente in ragione antisovietica” (p. 45). L’incoerenza consisterebbe nel fatto che essendo, per esplicita ammissione dello stesso Evola, più pericoloso e insidioso l’americanismo, sarebbe in ogni caso contraddittorio schierarsi con quest’ultimo contro il bolscevismo. Qui a me pare che Fusaro non tenga minimamente conto del contesto ‘geopolitico’, pur accusando, al contempo, Evola di essere caduto in contraddizione proprio per aver trascurato il medesimo fattore. La posizione evoliana, infatti, se pure criticabile in astratto, assume forza e coerenza una volta inserita nel concreto contesto di quegli anni, quando la minaccia comunista era avvertita non solo come imminente ma soprattutto capace di condurre all’annientamento persino fisico dello schieramento ‘nazionale’. Basti il rimando ad un importante scritto evoliano apparso nel luglio del 1960 su “L’Italiano”, intitolato C’è un “democratico” con una spina dorsale?, in cui si chiedeva la messa al bando del partito comunista e si auspicava un diretto intervento delle “forze sane” del paese in difesa dello Stato minacciato dal comunismo.

     La seconda obiezione mi sembra ancora più infondata. Fusaro (p. 46) cita estesamente un passo evoliano tratto da un articolo del ’57, Difendersi dall’America, apparso su “Il Popolo italiano”[1], dove viene lucidamente adombrata la progressiva americanizzazione cui stava soggiacendo l’intero continente europeo, aggiungendo subito dopo che, alla luce di questa consapevolezza, suonerebbe decisamente contraddittorio l’appellarsi, da parte di Evola, a una possibile reazione ‘antiamericana’ avente l’Italia come centro propulsivo. A sostegno della sua tesi, Fusaro (p. 47) cita due passi evoliani, uno in cui viene detto che la nazione italiana “più di ogni altra è l’anti-Russia e l’anti-America”, l’altro in cui tale ruolo dell’Italia si spiegherebbe grazie alla sua eroica “tradizione mediterranea, ed in ispecie classica e romana”. Per la fonte di entrambe le citazioni, Fusaro rimanda alla pagina 30 della silloge Civiltà americana, ma il punto è che sarebbe fatica sprecata cercarvi tali citazioni e per la semplice ragione che non ci sono. Lo scritto da cui infatti sono tratte le due frasi di Evola è il già ricordato Americanismo e bolscevismo del 1929[2]. Mi sembra pertanto evidente che pensare nel 1929 ad una realistica contrapposizione nei confronti dell’America non avrebbe nulla di contraddittorio rispetto a quanto sostenuto nel 1957, e questo già solo per l’abissale differenza di contesto storico. Non concordo con Fusaro neanche quando afferma che Evola a tale necessaria reazione in senso antiamericano “rimarrà sempre legato” (p. 47), visto che l’idea di tradizione mediterranea verrà abbandonata dallo stesso Evola già nei primissimi anni Trenta, ragion per cui non si comprende davvero come potesse essere ancora considerata, a distanza di decenni, un credibile argine all’americanismo.

     Per chiudere: Fusaro afferma che l’antiamericanismo di Evola andrebbe epurato “dalle inaccettabili sfumature razziste” (p. 48). Però Fusaro dovrebbe sapere che l’indignazione morale avrà pure molti pregi ma di sicuro non quello di accrescere la comprensione di ciò che è oggetto di riprovazione. Pertanto, piuttosto che usare la solita ‘clava morale’ antirazzista, sarebbe stato molto più proficuo, a mio modo di vedere, chiedersi se l’avvento anche in Europa della società multirazziale di stampo statunitense abbia contribuito o meno, e in che eventuale misura, alla sempre più pervasiva americanizzazione del nostro continente.

* * *

ottobre 2015

[1] Fusaro cita dalla silloge evoliana, Civiltà americana. Scritti sugli Stati Uniti 1930-1968, pubblicata, a cura di Alberto Lombardo per i tipi di Controcorrente nel 2010. Lo stesso articolo si può leggere nella raccolta completa dei contributi evoliani usciti su Il Popolo italiano, curata da Giovanni Sessa per la Pagine Editrice nel 2014.

[2] Saggio volutamente non inserito nella silloge Civiltà americana. Per la corretta individuazione delle due citazioni si veda J. Evola, “Americanismo e bolscevismo”, in Id., I saggi della Nuova Antologia, Edizioni di Ar, Padova 1982, p. 53, ora anche in Id., Il ciclo si chiude. Americanismo e bolscevismo 1929-1969, a cura di G. de Turris, Fondazione Evola, Roma 1991.

lundi, 09 novembre 2015

L’homo reactus, le progressiste et le conservateur


L’homo reactus, le progressiste et le conservateur

Confondus à tort et à dessein dans le langage médiatique, le réactionnaire et le conservateur ont pourtant de quoi nourrir une querelle d’importance. Leur rapport au temps et à l’Histoire les distingue en même temps qu’il structure leur comportement politique et esthétique.

Rien n’est moins évident que de définir le réactionnaire, et nombreux sont ceux qui continuent d’entretenir le flou. Si Joseph de Maistre et Louis de Bonald sont parfois présentés comme les réactionnaires archétypaux, ils ne répondent pourtant pas à cette définition communément admise, qui est aussi la nôtre, selon laquelle le réactionnaire souhaite un retour en arrière. Ces penseurs dont la téléologie était avant tout chrétienne, ont laissé la place à un vague héritier que nous appellerons homo reactus. Réactionnaire contemporain manifestement plus influencé par la pensée moderne, idéaliste et républicaine héritée des Lumières, que par la tradition eschatologique catholique, à l’image de messieurs Onfray et Zemmour. Ceux-là n’en ont guère après la Révolution française, mais bien plus après la très bourgeoise et parodique révolte de mai 68. Et pendant que l’homo reactus s’écharpe avec son pendant progressiste, le conservateur s’impose, avec une vision nouvelle de l’Histoire, comme une alternative salutaire.

L’Homo reactus au pays du progrès

En réalité, la petite armée des réactionnaires médiatisés valide à son insu les postulats de ses adversaires. La modernité, dans laquelle la Révolution française nous a jetés en donnant corps aux idées des Lumières, repose sur une téléologie moralisée, héritée de la pensée d’Hegel. La pensée moderne conçoit l’Histoire de façon linéaire : des âges sombres de la nuit des temps, l’humanité progresserait sans cesse vers la « fin de l’Histoire », soit vers le triomphe des Lumières libérales et rationalistes. Le temps qui passe serait synonyme de croissance irrépressible, inévitable et nécessaire du Dieu Progrès. Le sort de l’humanité serait la convergence de tous les êtres qui, unis dans le même Esprit – au sens hégélien du terme, et selon cette idée que la raison de l’homme est semblable à celle de Dieu – peuplent la Terre. Ainsi pour Hegel, l’absolu progrès est incarné par Napoléon Ier, porteur de la lumière révolutionnaire universaliste et républicaine, entrant majestueux dans Iéna en 1806 : là est la fin de l’Histoire, le progrès absolu qui gagnera le monde entier à force de conquêtes. À l’horizon se dessine l’avènement de l’État universel et homogène rêvé par le commentateur et continuateur d’Hegel Alexandre Kojève.

Joseph de Maistre réactionnaire ?

Si Joseph de Maistre est considéré comme un réactionnaire emblématique, il faut préciser qu’il est également un réactionnaire problématique. En effet, le Savoyard ne défend pas l’idée d’un retour en arrière, c’est-à-dire la restauration d’un « temps » politique antérieur à la Révolution française. Sa phrase célèbre formulée dans Les considérations sur la France – « le rétablissement de la Monarchie qu’on appelle contre-révolution, ne sera pas une révolution contraire, mais le contraire de la révolution » – résume bien la complexité de sa position. Maistre est plus antirévolutionnaire que contre-révolutionnaire. La perspective de Maistre étant providentialiste, il ne s’agit pas de se positionner pour ou contre la Révolution mais bien plutôt de comprendre sa nature et le dessein divin. Dieu utilise le mal incarné par la Révolution pour châtier le royaume de France compromis par la Réforme et les Lumières. Maistre exprimera d’ailleurs son scepticisme lorsque Louis XVIII accédera au trône. Pour lui, la Restauration entérine définitivement la Révolution.

Matthieu Giroux

Telle est l’idée qui continue d’alimenter la logique des progressistes de tout crin. La téléologie, d’imprégnation chrétienne, a paradoxalement gagné le camp de l’athéisme en contaminant, des Lumières jusqu’au marxisme, des philosophies anti-chrétiennes. Mais telle est aussi la conception que les réactionnaires contemporains valident, en s’affirmant en hommes du passé portant des idées du passé. Des idées révolues en somme, dépassées par la marche du prétendu progrès, confondue avec celle du temps, à laquelle ils assistent hagards et néanmoins contents de leur impuissance qui pare leurs propos d’un tragique dont ils goûtent l’amertume.

Le rapport dialectique qui oppose le progressiste à l’homo reactus ne joue résolument pas en faveur de ce dernier, à moins que sa quête ne soit qu’esthétique. Lui qui valide la téléologie dominante et se place du côté des destitués, des perdants, de l’obsolescence, ne peut rien attendre du présent. Son discours est comme inopérant, inapte à influencer le cours des choses. Tout juste pourra-t-il convaincre quelques-uns de ses auditeurs les moins rongés par la morale médiatique du caractère aussi dramatique qu’inévitable de la marche du temps. Mais n’a-t-il pas tort sur ce point ?

De Burke à Mohler : une philosophie alternative de l’Histoire

Si le triomphe de la philosophie linéaire déchristianisée de l’Histoire est à dater de la Révolution française et de la controverse qu’elle a suscité dans toute l’Europe, on ne peut pas faire l’impasse sur l’intuition d’Edmund Burke, contemporain de ce grand chambardement, qui structure la pensée conservatrice. Contre l’obsession révolutionnaire de la mise à mort de l’ordre ancien au profit d’un progrès compris comme une sorte de deus ex machina, Burke croit à l’évolution. Pierre Glaudes parle de « sédimentation » : le présent se nourrit du passé et l’Histoire apparaît donc comme un mouvement de réforme ou de restauration permanente. C’est l’exact inverse de l’idéologie révolutionnaire et néo-idéaliste qui consiste en une dialectique de la destruction et de la reconstruction, le présent se construisant contre le passé.

Plus radicaux, les auteurs de la Révolution conservatrice allemande prolongent l’intuition de Burke en rupture totale avec cette conception résolument moderne de l’Histoire. Armin Mohler, disciple d’Ernst Jünger et historien de la Révolution conservatrice, nous invite à considérer l’Histoire non pas de façon linéaire, ni même purement cyclique, mais sphérique, à la suite de Friedrich Nietzsche. Si l’idée hégélienne que nous avons définie autant que la conception cyclique de l’histoire sont frappées d’un certain fatalisme, concevoir le temps comme une sphère revient à considérer que toutes les bifurcations sont toujours possibles. Il n’y a plus de sens inévitable, de début ni de fin, de progrès ou de déclin contre lesquels toute tentative humaine serait vaine ! Le cycle n’a pas non plus totalement disparu, mais c’est une infinité de cycles différents que la sphère représente.

Il y a donc une place pour l’inattendu, autant dire pour la volonté, chère aux nietzschéens. Ainsi Robert Steuckers, disciple d’Armin Mohler, écrit : « Cela signifie que l’histoire n’est ni la simple répétition des mêmes linéaments à intervalles réguliers ni une voie linéaire conduisant au bonheur, à la fin de l’histoire, au Paradis sur la Terre, à la félicité, mais est une sphère qui peut évoluer (ou être poussée) dans n’importe quelle direction selon l’impulsion qu’elle reçoit de fortes personnalités charismatiques. » L‘hypothèse de la résignation s’abolit totalement dans cette philosophie de l’Histoire, et il revient aux hommes de bonne volonté de donner forme au lendemain. Car la Révolution conservatrice allemande ne s’en remet guère à Dieu, à la Providence, ni à une vague idée de l’évolution de la société. Mais elle croit à l’incarnation et aux figures, au héros et aux chefs charismatiques.  

D’un côté, l‘enthousiasme béat et autodestructeur des progressistes dont « les conceptions linéaires dévalorisent le passé, ne respectent aucune des formes forgées dans le passé, et visent un télos, qui sera nécessairement meilleur et indépassable » (Steuckers). De l’autre, la passivité mortifère des réactionnaires qui peut conduire au nihilisme. Par contraste, on comprend que le conservatisme est un art de l’action et de l’appréhension du réel, et non pas seulement de la réflexion philosophique. Le conservatisme est une attitude qui convient à la réalité du temps présent et à la nécessité du choix, et non pas une posture contemplative.

L’attitude conservatrice ou l’agir dans l’Histoire

Le conservateur n’est pas figé dans le passé (ou dans le futur, dans la fuite en avant incarnée par le progressisme), mais bien ancré dans le présent. Non pas qu’il se contente bêtement d’approuver toute nouveauté, au contraire, son attitude consiste à préférer le familier à l’inconnu, la réalité du présent au futur incertain. Mais lorsque l’inévitable se produit, le conservateur refuse la résignation. Ainsi Michaël Oakeshott, dans Du Conservatisme, tente de décrire l’attitude conservatrice : « En outre, être conservateur ne signifie pas simplement être hostile au changement (comportement qui peut être idiosyncrasique) ; c’est également une manière de s’accommoder aux changements, activité imposée à tous. »

L’exemple de la technique dans les années 1930, après le traumatisme causé par la Première Guerre mondiale, est frappant. Le réactionnaire s’insurge, vocifère contre cette technique aliénatrice et destructrice, prométhéenne et dégénérée… À croire qu’il envisagerait qu’on puisse la dés-inventer ! Face à cette réaction sans doute légitime mais néanmoins absurde, le conservateur avise : Ernst Jünger qui, mieux que quiconque, a vu la technique destructrice en action, fait naître quelques années plus tard l’idée d’une technique dite mobilisatrice. De même que Carl Schmitt s’appropriera l’idée de démocratie. Au régime parlementaire bourgeois, il oppose sa vision d’un lien fort entre la race et les chefs qu’elle se choisit. Du socialisme au bolchévisme, des sciences à la technique, la Révolution conservatrice allemande reprend toutes les innovations de son époque à son compte. 

Le conservateur ne rejette pas par principe toute nouveauté. Il ne pourrait d’ailleurs la rejeter qu’intellectuellement, mais en aucun cas effectivement. Il l’admet, et se l’approprie. Il ne considère pas d’abord le changement comme foncièrement bon ou, à l’inverse, comme profondément mauvais, mais il entend le subordonner à des valeurs qu’il croit éternelles. Là est l’objet de sa démarche : conserver l’ordre élémentaire des choses dans l’Histoire en soumettant les réalités de son époque à quelque chose qui les transcende. Le conservateur ne s’oppose pas au temps qui passe, il s’oppose à la dégénérescence, au péril et à l’incertitude. Il n’entend pas conserver le temps passé, les idées du passé, les réalités du passé, mais simplement ce qui constitue le centre de gravité de cette sphère qu’est l’Histoire. C’est l’idée qu’un certain nombre de choses ne doit pas disparaître, à cause de la négligence, du mépris et du détachement et surtout pas de la destruction volontaire. Les progressistes l’ont dans le dos, les réactionnaires en pleine face, mais tous deux sont dans le vent. Paisible, le conservateur rit des agités des deux camps : lui, bâtit l’avenir les deux pieds dans le présent.

dimanche, 08 novembre 2015

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Oswald Spengler and the Soul of Russia


Oswald Spengler and the Soul of Russia

By Kerry Bolton
Ex: http://katehon.com

It would be easy to regard Oswald Spengler, author of the epochal Decline of The West in the aftermath of World War I, as a Russophobe.

In so doing the role of Russia in the unfolding of history from this era onward could be easily dismissed, opposed or ridiculed by proponents of Spengler, while in Russia his insights into culture-morphology would be understandably unwelcome as being from an Slavophobic German nationalist. However, while Spengler, like many others of the time in the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution, regarded – partially - Russia as the Asianised leader of a ‘coloured revolution’ against the white world, he also considered other possibilities. This paper examines Spengler’s views on Russia as a distinct culture that had not yet fulfilled her destiny, while Western civilisation is about to take a final bow on the world historical stage. His views on Russia as an outsider are considered in relation to the depiction of the Russian soul by seminal Russians such as Gogol.

Russia’s ‘Soul’

Spengler regarded Russians as formed by the vastness of the land-plain, as innately antagonistic to the Machine, as rooted in the soil, irrepressibly peasant, religious, and ‘primitive’. Without a wider understanding of Spengler’s philosophy it appears that he was – like Hitler – a Slavophobe. However, when Spengler wrote of these Russian characteristics he was referencing the Russians as a still youthful people in contrats to the senile West. Hence the ‘primitive’ Russian is not synonymous with ‘primitivity’ as popularly understood at that time in regard to ‘primitive’ tribal peoples. Nor was it to be confounded with the Hitlerite perception of the ‘primitive Slav’ incapable of building his own State.

To Spengler, the ‘primitive peasant’ is the well-spring from which a race draws its healthiest elements during its epochs of cultural vigour.

Agriculture is the foundation of a High Culture, enabling stable communities to diversify labour into specialisation from which Civilisation proceeds.

However, according to Spengler, each people has its own soul, a German conception derived from the German Idealism of Herder, Fichte et al. A High culture reflects that soul, whether in its mathematics, music, architecture; both in the arts and the physical sciences. The Russian soul is not the same as the Western Faustian, as Spengler called it, the ‘ Magian’ of the Arabian civilisation, or the Classical of the Hellenes and Romans. The Western Culture that was imposed on Russia by Peter the Great, what Spengler called Petrinism, is a veneer.

The basis of the Russian soul is not infinite space – as in the West’s Faustian (Spengler, 1971, I, 183) imperative, but is ‘the plain without limit’ (Spengler, 1971, I, 201). The Russian soul expresses its own type of infinity, albeit not that of the Western which becomes even enslaved by its own technics at the end of its life-cycle. (Spengler, 1971, II, 502). (Although it could be argued that Sovietism enslaved man to machine, a Spenglerian would cite this as an example of Petrinism). However, Civilisations cannot do anything but follow their life’s course, and one cannot see Spengler’s descriptions as moral judgements but as observations. The finale for Western Civilisation according to Spengler cannot be to create further great forms of art and music, which belong to the youthful or ‘ spring’ epoch of a civilisation, but to dominate the world under a technocratic-military dispensation, before declining into oblivion that all prior world civilisations. It is after this Western decline that Spengler alluded to the next word civilisation being that of Russia. At that stage Spengler could only hint at the possibilities.

Hence, according to Spengler, Russian Orthodox architecture does not represent the infinity towards space that is symbolised by the Western high culture’s Gothic Cathedral spire, nor the enclosed space of the Mosque of the Magian Culture, (Spengler, 1971, I, 183-216) but the impression of sitting upon a horizon. Spengler considered that this Russian architecture is ‘not yet a style, only the promise of a style that will awaken when the real Russian religion awakens’ (Spengler, 1971, I, p. 201. Spengler was writing of the Russian culture as an outsider, and by his own reckoning must have realised the limitations of that. It is therefore useful to compare his thoughts on Russia with those of Russians of note.

Nikolai Berdyaev in The Russian Idea affirms what Spengler describes:

There is that in the Russian soul which corresponds to the immensity, the vagueness, the infinitude of the Russian land, spiritual geography corresponds with physical. In the Russian soul there is a sort of immensity, a vagueness, a predilection for the infinite, such as is suggested by the great plain of Russia. (Berdyaev, 1).

‘Prussian Socialism’, ‘Russian Socialism’

Of the Russian soul, the ego/vanity of the Western culture-man is missing; the persona seeks impersonal growth in service, ‘in the brother-world of the plain’. Orthodox Christianity condemns the ‘I’ as ‘sin’ (Spengler, 1971, I, 309). Spengler wrote of ‘Prussian Socialism’, based on the Prussian ethos of duty to the state, as the foundation of a new Western ethos under the return to Faith and Authority during the final epoch of Western civilisation. He contrasted this with the ‘socialism’ of Karl Marx, which he regarded as a product of English economics, (Spengler, 1919) as distinct from the German economics of Friedrich List for example, described as the ‘ national system of political economy’, where nation is the raison d’etre of the economy and not class or individual.

The Russian concept of ‘we’ rather than ‘I’, and of impersonal service to the expanse of one’s land implies another form socialism. It is perhaps in this sense that Stalinism proceeded along lines different and often antithetical to the Bolshevism envisaged by Trotsky et al. (Trotsky, 1936), and established an enduring legacy on Russia.

A recent comment by an American visitor to Russia, Barbara J. Brothers, as part of a scientific delegation, states something akin to Spengler’s observation:

The Russians have a sense of connectedness to themselves and to other human beings that is just not a part of American reality. It isn’t that competitiveness does not exist; it is just that there always seems to be more consideration and respect for others in any given situation.

Of the Russian concept of property and of capitalism, Berdyaev wrote:

The social theme occupied a predominant place in Russian nineteenth century thought. It might even be said that Russian thought in that century was to a remarkable extent coloured by socialistic ideas. If the word socialism is not taken in its doctrinaire sense, one might say that socialism is deeply rooted in the Russian nature. There is already an expression of this truth in the fact that the Russian people did not recognize the Roman conception of property. It has been said of Muscovite Russia that it was innocent of the sin of ownership in land, the one and only landed proprietor being the Tsar: there was no freedom, but there was a greater sense of what was right. This is of interest in the light that it throws upon the rise of communism. The Slavophils also repudiated the Western bourgeois interpretation of private property equally with the socialists of a revolutionary way of thinking. Almost all of them thought that the Russian people was called upon to give actual effect to social troth and righteousness and to the brotherhood of man. One and all they hoped that Russia would escape the wrongness and evil of capitalism, that it would be able to pass over to a better social order while avoiding the capitalist stage of economic development. And they all considered the backwardness of Russia as conferring upon her a great advantage. It was the wisdom of the Russians to be socialists during the period of serfdom and autocracy. Of all peoples in the world the Russians have the community spirit; in the highest degree the Russian way of life and Russian manners, are of that kind. Russian hospitality is an indication of this sense of community. (Berdyaev, 97-98).

Here again, we see with Berdyaev, as with Spengler, that there is a ‘Russian Socialism’ based on what Spengler referred to as the Russian ‘we’ in contrast to the Late Western ‘I’, and of the sense of brotherhood dramatised by Gogol in Taras Bulba, shaped not by factories and money-thinking, but by the kinship that arises from a people formed from the vastness of the plains, and forged through the adversity of centuries of Muslim and Mongol invasions.

The Russian Soul - Русская душа

The connections between family, nation, birth, unity and motherland are reflected in the Russian language.

род [rod]: family, kind, sort, genus
родина [ródina]: homeland, motherland
родители [rodíteli]: parents
родить [rodít']: to give birth
роднить [rodnít']: to unite, bring together
родовой [rodovói]: ancestral, tribal
родство [rodstvó]: kinship

Russian National Literature starting from the 1840s began to consciously express the Russian soul. Firstly Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol’s Taras Bulba, which along with the poetry of Pushkin, founded a Russian literary tradition; that is to say, truly Russian, and distinct from the previous literature based on German, French and English. John Cournos states of this in his introduction to Taras Bulba:

The spoken word, born of the people, gave soul and wing to literature; only by coming to earth, the native earth, was it enabled to soar. Coming up from Little Russia, the Ukraine, with Cossack blood in his veins, Gogol injected his own healthy virus into an effete body, blew his own virile spirit, the spirit of his race, into its nostrils, and gave the Russian novel its direction to this very day.

Taras Bulba is a tale on the formation of the Cossack folk. In this folk-formation the outer enemy plays a crucial role. The Russian has been formed largely as the result of battling over centuries with Tartars, Muslims and Mongols. Cournos writes of the Gogol myths in reference to the shaping of the Russian character through adversity and landscape:

This same Prince Guedimin freed Kieff from the Tatar yoke. This city had been laid waste by the golden hordes of Ghengis Khan and hidden for a very long time from the Slavonic chronicler as behind an impenetrable curtain. A shrewd man, Guedimin appointed a Slavonic prince to rule over the city and permitted the inhabitants to practise their own faith, Greek Christianity. Prior to the Mongol invasion, which brought conflagration and ruin, and subjected Russia to a two-century bondage, cutting her off from Europe, a state of chaos existed and the separate tribes fought with one another constantly and for the most petty reasons. Mutual depredations were possible owing to the absence of mountain ranges; there were no natural barriers against sudden attack. The openness of the steppe made the people war-like. But this very openness made it possible later for Guedimin’s pagan hosts, fresh from the fir forests of what is now White Russia, to make a clean sweep of the whole country between Lithuania and Poland, and thus give the scattered princedoms a much-needed cohesion. In this way Ukrainia was formed. (Cournos, ‘Introduction’, ibid).

Their society and nationality were defined by religiosity, as was the West’s by Gothic Christianity during its ‘Spring’ epoch. The newcomer to a Setch or permanent village was greeted by the Chief as a Christian and as a warrior: ‘Welcome! Do you believe in Christ?’ —‘I do’, replied the new-comer. ‘And do you believe in the Holy Trinity?’— ‘I do’.—‘And do you go to church?’—‘I do.’ ‘Now cross yourself’. (Gogol, III).

Gogol depicts the scorn in which trade is held, and when commerce has entered among Russians, rather than being confined to non-Russians associated with trade, it is regarded as a symptom of decadence:

I know that baseness has now made its way into our land. Men care only to have their ricks of grain and hay, and their droves of horses, and that their mead may be safe in their cellars; they adopt, the devil only knows what Mussulman customs. They speak scornfully with their tongues. They care not to speak their real thoughts with their own countrymen. They sell their own things to their own comrades, like soulless creatures in the market-place. The favour of a foreign king, and not even a king, but the poor favour of a Polish magnate, who beats them on the mouth with his yellow shoe, is dearer to them than all brotherhood. But the very meanest of these vile men, whoever he may be, given over though he be to vileness and slavishness, even he, brothers, has some grains of Russian feeling; and they will assert themselves some day. And then the wretched man will beat his breast with his hands; and will tear his hair, cursing his vile life loudly, and ready to expiate his disgraceful deeds with torture. Let them know what brotherhood means on Russian soil! (Spengler, 1971, II, 113).

Here we might see a Russian socialism that is, so far form being the dialectical materialism offered by Marx, the mystic we-feeling forged by the vastness of the plains and the imperative for brotherhood above economics, imposed by that landscape. Russia’s feeling of world-mission has its own form of messianism whether expressed through Christian Orthodoxy or the non-Marxian form of ‘world revolution’ under Stalin, or both in combination, as suggested by the later rapport between Stalinism and the Church from 1943 with the creation of the Council for Russian Orthodox Church Affairs (Chumachenko, 2002). In both senses, and even in the embryonic forms taking place under Putin, Russia is conscious of a world-mission, expressed today as Russia’s role in forging a multipolar world, with Russia as being pivotal in resisting unipolarism.


Commerce is the concern of foreigners, and the intrusions bring with them the corruption of the Russian soul and culture in general: in speech, social interaction, servility, undermining Russian ‘brotherhood’, the Russian ‘we’ feeling that Spengler described. (Spengler 1971, I, 309). However, Gogol also states that this materialistic decay will eventually be purged even from the soul of the most craven Russian.

And all the Setch prayed in one church, and were willing to defend it to their last drop of blood, although they would not hearken to aught about fasting or abstinence. Jews, Armenians, and Tatars, inspired by strong avarice, took the liberty of living and trading in the suburbs; for the Zaporozhtzi never cared for bargaining, and paid whatever money their hand chanced to grasp in their pocket. Moreover, the lot of these gain-loving traders was pitiable in the extreme. They resembled people settled at the foot of Vesuvius; for when the Zaporozhtzi lacked money, these bold adventurers broke down their booths and took everything gratis. (Gogol, III).

The description of these people shows that they would not stoop to haggling; they decided what a merchant should receive. Money-talk is repugnant to them.

The Cossack brotherhood is portrayed by Gogol as the formative process in the building up of the Russian people. This process is, significantly, not one of biology but of spirit, even transcending the family bond. Spengler treated the matter of race as that of soul rather than of zoology. (Spengler, 1971, II, 113-155). To Spengler landscape was crucial in determining what becomes ‘race’, and the duration of families grouped in a particular landscape – including nomads who have a defined range of wandering – form ‘a character of duration’, which was Spengler’s definition of ‘race’. (Spengler, Vol. II, 113). Gogol describes this ‘ race’ forming process among the Russians. So far from being an aggressive race nationalism it is an expanding mystic brotherhood under God:

The father loves his children, the mother loves her children, the children love their father and mother; but this is not like that, brothers. The wild beast also loves its young. But a man can be related only by similarity of mind and not of blood. There have been brotherhoods in other lands, but never any such brotherhoods as on our Russian soil. It has happened to many of you to be in foreign lands. … No, brothers, to love as the Russian soul loves, is to love not with the mind or anything else, but with all that God has given, all that is within you. Ah! (Golgol, IX).

The Russian soul is born in suffering. The Russian accepts the fate of life in service to God and to his Motherland. Russia and Faith are inseparable. When the elderly warrior Bovdug is mortally struck by a Turkish bullet his final words are exhortations on the nobility of suffering, after which his spirit soars to join his ancestors:

‘I sorrow not to part from the world. God grant every man such an end! May the Russian land be forever glorious!’ And Bovdug’s spirit flew above, to tell the old men who had gone on long before that men still knew how to fight on Russian soil, and better still, that they knew how to die for it and the holy faith. (Gogol, IX).

The depth and duration of this cult of the martyrs attached to Holy Mother Russia was revived under Stalin during the Great Patriotic War. This is today as vigorous as ever, as indicated by the celebration of Victory Day on 7 May 2015, and the absence of Western representatives indicating the diverging course Russia is again taking from the West.

The mystique of death and suffering for the Motherland is described in the death of Tarus Bulba when he is captured and executed, his final words being ones of resurrection:

‘Wait, the time will come when ye shall learn what the orthodox Russian faith is! Already the people scent it far and near. A czar shall arise from Russian soil, and there shall not be a power in the world which shall not submit to him!’ But fire had already risen from the fagots; it lapped his feet, and the flame spread to the tree.... But can any fire, flames, or power be found on earth which are capable of overpowering Russian strength? (Gogol, XII).

The characteristics of the Russian soul that run through Tarus Bulba are those of faith, fate, struggle, suffering, strength, brotherhood and resurrection. Tarus Bulba established the Russian national literature that articulated the Russian soul.


A significant element of Spengler’s culture morphology is ‘Historic Pseudomorphosis’. Spengler drew an analogy from geology, when crystals of a mineral are embedded in a rock-stratum: where ‘clefts and cracks occur, water filters in, and the crystals are gradually washed out so that in due course only their hollow mould remains’. (Spengler, II, 89).

Then comes volcanic outbursts which explode the mountain; molten masses pour in, stiffen and crystallize out in their turn. But these are not free to do so in their own special forms. They must fill out the spaces that they find available. Thus there arise distorted forms, crystals whose inner structure contradicts their external shape, stones of one kind presenting the appearance of stones of another kind. The mineralogists call this phenomenon Pseudomorphosis. (Ibid.).

Spengler explained:

By the term ‘historical pseudomorphosis’ I propose to designate those cases in which an older alien Culture lies so massively over the land that a young Culture, born in this land, cannot get its breath and fails not only to achieve pure and specific expression-forms, but even to develop its own fully self-consciousness. All that wells up from the depths of the young soul is cast in the old moulds, young feelings stiffen in senile works, and instead of rearing itself up in its own creative power, it can only hate the distant power with a hate that grows to be monstrous. (Ibid.).

Russia is the example of ‘Historic Pseudomorphosis’ given by Spengler as being ‘presented to our eyes to-day’. A dichotomy has existed for centuries, starting with Peter the Great, of attempts to impose a Western veneer over Russia. This is called Petrinism. The resistance of those attempts is what Spengler called ‘Old Russia’. Spengler, 1971, II, 192). Spengler described this dichotomy:

…This Muscovite period of the great Boyar families and Patriarchs, in which a constant element is the resistance of an Old Russia party to the friends of Western Culture, is followed, from the founding of Petersburg in 1703, by the pseudomorphosis which forced the primitive Russian soul into an alien mould, first of full Baroque, then of the Enlightenment, and then of the nineteenth century. (Ibid., II, p. 192).

Spengler’s view is again in accord with what is spoken of Russia by Russians. Nikolai Berdyaev wrote in terms similar to Spengler’s:

The inconsistency and complexity of the Russian soul may be due to the fact that in Russia two streams of world history East and West jostle and influence one another. The Russian people is not purely European and it is not purely Asiatic. Russia is a complete section of the world a colossal East-West. It unites two worlds, and within the Russian soul two principles are always engaged in strife - the Eastern and the Western. (Berdyaev, 1).

With the orientation of Russian policy towards the West, ‘Old Russia’ was ‘forced into a false and artificial history’. (Spengler, II, 193). Spengler wrote that Russia had become dominated by Western culture from its ‘Late’ epoch:

Late-period arts and sciences, enlightenment, social ethics, the materialism of world-cities, were introduced, although in this pre-cultural time religion was the only language in which man understood himself and the world. In the townless land with its primitive peasantry, cities of alien type fixed themselves like ulcers – false, unnatural, unconvincing. ‘Petersburg’, says Dostoyevski, ‘it is the most abstract and artificial city in the world’.
After this everything that arose around it was felt by the true Russdom as lies and poison. A truly apocalyptic hatred was directed on Europe, and ‘Europe’ was all that was not Russia… ‘The first condition of emancipation for the Russian soul’, wrote Aksakov [1] in 1863 to Dostoyevski, ‘is that it should hate Petersburg with all this might and all its soul’. Moscow is holy, Petersburg Satanic. A widespread popular legend presents Peter the Great as Antichrist.
(Spengler, 1971, II, 193).

Berdyaev also discusses the introduction of Enlightenment doctrines from France into Russia:

The Western culture of Russia in the eighteenth century was a superficial aristocratic borrowing and imitation. Independent thought had not yet awakened. At first it was French influences which prevailed among us and a superficial philosophy of enlightenment was assimilated. The Russian aristocrats of the eighteenth century absorbed Western culture in the form of a miserable rehash of Voltaire.
(Berdyaev, 16).

domes-ancient-russian-church-11780967.jpgThe hatred of the ‘West’ and of ‘Europe’ is the hatred for a Civilisation that had already reached an advanced state of decay into materialism and sought to impose its primacy by cultural subversion rather than by combat, with its City-based and money-based outlook, ‘poisoning the unborn culture in the womb of the land’. (Spengler, 1971, II, 194). Russia was still a land where there were no bourgeoisie and no true class system but only lord and peasant, a view confirmed by Berdyaev, writing:

The various lines of social demarcation did not exist in Russia; there were no pronounced classes. Russia was never an aristocratic country in the Western sense, and equally there was no bourgeoisie. (Berdyaev, 1).

The cities that emerged threw up an intelligentsia, copying the intelligentsia of Late Westerndom, ‘bent on discovering problems and conflicts, and below, an uprooted peasantry, with all the metaphysical gloom, anxiety, and misery of their own Dostoyevski, perpetually homesick for the open land and bitterly hating the stony grey world into which the Antichrist had tempted them. Moscow had no proper soul’. (Spengler, 1971, II, 194).

The spirit of the upper classes was Western, and the lower had brought in with them the soul of the countryside. Between the two worlds there was no reciprocal comprehension, no communication, no charity. To understand the two spokesmen and victims of the pseudomorphosis, it is enough that Dostoyevski is the peasant, and Tolstoi the man of Western society. The one could never in his soul get away from the land; the other, in spite of his desperate efforts, could never get near it. (Ibid.).

Berdyaev likewise states of the Petrinism of the upper class:

Peter secularized the Russian Tsardoni and brought it into touch with Western absolutism of the more enlightened kind. The Tsardom of Moscow had not given actual effect to the messianic idea of Moscow as the Third Rome, but the efforts of Peter created a gulf between a police absolutism and the sacred Tsardom. A breach took place between the upper governing classes of Russian society and the masses of the people among whom the old religious beliefs and hopes were still preserved. The Western influences which led on to the remarkable Russian culture of the nineteenth century found no welcome among the bulk of the people. The power of the nobility increased and it became entirely alien from the people. The very manner of life of the landowning nobility was a thing incomprehensible to the people. It was precisely in the Petrine epoch during the reign of Katherine II that the Russian people finally fell under the sway of the system of serfdom. The whole Petrine period of Russian history was a struggle between East and West within the Russian soul. (Berdyaev, 15).

Russian Messianism

Berdyaev states that while Petrinism introduced an epoch of cultural dynamism, it also placed a heavy burden upon Russia, and a disunity of spirit. (Ibid.). However, Russia has her own religious sense of Mission, which is as universal as the Vatican’s. Spengler quotes Dostoyevski as writing in 1878: ‘all men must become Russian, first and foremost Russian. If general humanity is the Russian ideal, then everyone must first of all become a Russian’. (Spengler, 1963, 63n). The Russian Messianic idea found a forceful expression in Dostoyevski’s The Possessed, where, in a conversation with Stavrogin, Shatov states:

Reduce God to the attribute of nationality?...On the contrary, I elevate the nation to God...The people is the body of God. Every nation is a nation only so long as it has its own particular God, excluding all other gods on earth without any possible reconciliation, so long as it believes that by its own God it will conquer and drive all other gods off the face of the earth. At least that’s what all great nations have believed since the beginning of time, all those remarkable in any way, those standing in the vanguard of humanity...The Jews lived solely in expectation of the true God, and they left this true God to the world...A nation which loses faith is no longer a nation. But there is only one truth; consequently, only one nation can posses the true God...The sole ‘God bearing’ nation is the Russian nation... (Dostoevsky, 1992, Part II: I: 7, 265-266).

Spengler saw Russia as outside of Europe, and even as ‘Asian’. He even saw a Western rebirth vis-à-vis opposition to Russia, which he regarded as leading the ‘coloured world’ against the white, under the mantle of Bolshevism. Yet there were also other destinies that Spengler saw over the horizon, which had been predicted by Dostoyevski.

Once Russia had overthrown its alien intrusions, it could look with another perspective upon the world, and reconsider Europe not with hatred and vengeance but in kinship. Spengler wrote that while Tolstoi, the Petrinist, whose doctrine was the precursor of Bolshevism, was ‘the former Russia’, Dostoyevski was ‘the coming Russia’. Dostoyevski as the representative of the ‘coming Russia’ ‘does not know’ the hatred of Russia for the West. Dostoyevski and the old Russia are transcendent. ‘His passionate power of living is comprehensive enough to embrace all things Western as well’. Spengler quotes Dostoyevski: ‘I have two fatherlands, Russia and Europe’. Dostoyevski as the harbinger of a Russian high culture ‘has passed beyond both Petrinism and revolution, and from his future he looks back over them as from afar. His soul is apocalyptic, yearning, desperate, but of this future he is certain’. [65] (Spengler, 1971, II, 194). Spengler cites Dostoyevski’s The Brothers Karamazov, where Ivan Karamazov (Dostoyevski, 1880, 34: II: V: 3) says to his mother:

I want to travel in Europe… I know well enough that I shall be going only to a churchyard, but I know too that that churchyard is dear, very dear to me. Beloved dead lie buried there, every stone over them tell of a life so ardently lived, so passionately a belief in its own achievements, its own truth, its own battle, its own knowledge, that I know – even now I know – I shall fall down and kiss these stones and weep over them’. (Spengler, 1971, II, 195).

To the ‘Slavophil’, of which Dostoyevski was one, Europe is precious. The Slavophil appreciates the richness of European high culture while realising that Europe is in a state of decay. Berdyaev discussed what he regarded as an inconsistency in Dostoyevski and the Slavophils towards Europe, yet one that is comprehensible when we consider Spengler’s crucial differentiation between Culture and Civilisation:

Dostoyevsky calls himself a Slavophil. He thought, as did also a large number of thinkers on the theme of Russia and Europe, that he knew decay was setting in, but that a great past exists in her, and that she has made contributions of great value to the history of mankind. (Berdyaev, 70).

It is notable that while this differentiation between Kultur and Zivilisation is ascribed to a particularly German philosophical tradition, Berdyaev comments that it was present among the Russians ‘long before Spengler’, although deriving from German sources:

It is to be noted that long before Spengler, the Russians drew the distinction between ‘culture’ and ‘civilization’, that they attacked ‘civilization’ even when they remained supporters of ‘culture’. This distinction in actual fact, although expressed in a different phraseology, was to be found among the Slavophils. (Ibid.).

Tolstoi, who sought to overcome the problems of Civilisation by a ‘return-to-Nature’ in the manner of the Western Enlightenment philosopher J J Rousseau, on the other hand, is the product of the Late West, ‘enlightened and socially minded’, and sees only a problem, ‘whereas Dostoyevski ‘does not even know what a problem is’. (Spengler, 1971, II, 195). Spengler states that the problematic nature of life is a question that arises in Late Civilisations, and is a symptom of an epoch where life itself has become questionable. It is a symptom of the Late West transplanted as a weed onto the soil of Russia, represented by Tolstoi who, stands midway between Peter and Bolshevism, and neither he nor they managed to get within sight of Russian earth…. Their kind of opposition is not apocalyptic but intellectual. Tolstoi’s hatred of property is an economist’s, his hatred of society a social reformer’s, his hatred of the State a political theorist’s. Hence his immense effect upon the West – he belongs, in one respect as in another, to the band of Marx, Ibsen, and Zola. (Ibid.).

Dostoyevski, on the contrary, was indifferent to the Late West, looking beyond the physical, beyond questions of social reform and economics, and to the metaphysical: ‘Dostoyevski, like every primitive Russian, is fundamentally unaware’ of the physical world and ‘lives in a second, metaphysical world beyond’. The living reality is a religious one, which Spengler compares most closely with ‘primitive Christianity’. Dostoyevski is a ‘saint’, Tolstoi, ‘only a revolutionary’, the representative of Petrinism, as the forerunner of Bolshevism, ‘the last dishonouring of the metaphysical by the social’, and a new form of pseudomorphosis. The Bolshevists and other such revolutionaries were ‘the lowest stratum of … Petrine society’. (Ibid., II, 196). Imbued with ideas from the Late West, the Marxists sought to replace one Petrine ruling class with another. Neither represented the soul of Russia. Spengler states: ‘The real Russian is the disciple of Dostoyevski, even though he might not have read Dostoyevski, or anyone else, nay, perhaps because he cannot read, he is himself Dostoyevski in substance’. The intelligentsia hates, the peasant does not. (Ibid.). He would eventually overthrow Bolshevism and any other form of Petrinism. Here we see Spengler unequivocally stating that the post-Western civilisation will be Russian.

For what this townless people yearns for is its own life-form, its own religion, its own history. Tolstoi’s Christianity was a misunderstanding. He spoke of Christ and he meant Marx. But to Dostoyevski’s Christianity, the next thousand years will belong. (Ibid.).

To the true Russia, as Dostoyevski stated it, ‘not a single nation has ever been founded on principles of science or reason’. Dostoyevski continues, with the character Shatov explaining:

[N]ot a single nation has ever been founded on principles of science or reason. There has never been an example of it, except for a brief moment, through folly. Socialism is from its very nature bound to be atheism, seeing that it has from the very first proclaimed that it is an atheistic organisation of society, and that it intends to establish itself exclusively on the elements of science and reason. Science and reason have, from the beginning of time, played a secondary and subordinate part in the life of nations; so it will be till the end of time. Nations are built up and moved by another force which sways and dominates them, the origin of which is unknown and inexplicable: that force is the force of an insatiable desire to go on to the end, though at the same time it denies that end. It is the force of the persistent assertion of one's own existence, and a denial of death. It’s the spirit of life, as the Scriptures call it, ‘the river of living water’, the drying up of which is threatened in the Apocalypse. It’s the æsthetic principle, as the philosophers call it, the ethical principle with which they identify it, ‘the seeking for God’, as I call it more simply. The object of every national movement, in every people and at every period of its existence is only the seeking for its god, who must be its own god, and the faith in Him as the only true one. God is the synthetic personality of the whole people, taken from its beginning to its end. It has never happened that all, or even many, peoples have had one common god, but each has always had its own. It’s a sign of the decay of nations when they begin to have gods in common. When gods begin to be common to several nations the gods are dying and the faith in them, together with the nations themselves. The stronger a people the more individual their God. There never has been a nation without a religion, that is, without an idea of good and evil. Every people has its own conception of good and evil, and its own good and evil. When the same conceptions of good and evil become prevalent in several nations, then these nations are dying, and then the very distinction between good and evil is beginning to disappear. Reason has never had the power to define good and evil, or even to distinguish between good and evil, even approximately; on the contrary, it has always mixed them up in a disgraceful and pitiful way; science has even given the solution by the fist. This is particularly characteristic of the half-truths of science, the most terrible scourge of humanity, unknown till this century, and worse than plague, famine, or war. (Dostoyevski, 1872, II: I: VII).

Here we have the expression of the Russian soul, its repudiation of Petrinism, and in a manner similar to Spengler’s, the identification of faith, not darwinian zoology or economics, as the premise of culture-nation-race-formation, and the primacy of rationalistic doctrines as a symptom of decay.

‘Conflict Between Money & Blood’

Spengler states that at the Late – ‘Winter’ - epoch of a Civilisation where money-thinking dominates, a point is reached where there is a reaction: a ‘Second Religiousness’ which returns a decaying Civilisation to its spiritual foundations. There proceeds a revolt against oligarchy and a return to authority, or what Spengler called ‘Cæsarism’, and from there the fulfilment of a destiny before being eclipsed by a new high culture.

The Second Religiousness is the necessary counterpart of Cæsarism, which is the final political constitution of a Late Civilisation… In both phenomena the creative young strength of the Early Culture is lacking. But both have their greatness nevertheless. That of the Second Religiousness consists of a deep piety that fills the waking-consciousness… (Spengler, 1971, II, 310).

Spengler states that the ‘profoundly mystical inner life feels “thinking in money” as a sin’. The money-thinking imposed on Russia as Communism was ‘Western’ insofar as Marxism reflects the economic thinking of Western civilisation in its Late epoch, (Ibid., II, 402):

[A]n upper, alien and civilised world intruded from the West (the Bolshevism of the first years, totally Western and un-Russian, is the lees of this importation), and a townless barter-life that goes on deep below, uncalculating and exchanging only for immediate needs. We have to think of the catchwords of the surface as a voice, in which the Russian, simple and busied wholly with his soul bears resignedly the will of God. Marxism amongst Russians is based on an inward misunderstanding. They bore with the higher economic life of Petrinism, but they neither created it nor recognised it. The Russian does not fight Capital, but he does not comprehend it. Anyone who understands Dostoyevski will sense in these people a young humanity for which as yet no money exists, but only goods in relation to a life whose centre of gravity does not lie on the economical side. (Ibid., II, 495n)

dome.jpgSpengler states above that the Russians do not ‘fight’ capital. (Ibid., 495). Yet their young soul brings them into conflict with money, as both oligarchy from inside and plutocracy from outside contend with the Russian soul for supremacy. It was something observed by both Gogol and Dostoyevski. The anti-capitalism and ‘world revolution’ of Stalinism took on features that were drawn more from Russian messianism than from Marxism, reflected in the struggle between Trotsky and Stalin. The revival of the Czarist and Orthodox icons, martyrs and heroes and of Russian folk-culture in conjunction with a campaign against ‘ rootless cosmopolitanism’, reflected the emergence of primal Russian soul amidst Petrine Marxism. (Brandenberger, 2002). Today the conflict between two world-views can be seen in the conflicts between Putin and certain ‘oligarchs’ and the uneasiness Putin causes among the West.

The conflict that arises is metaphysical, but oligarchy and plutocracy can only understand the physical. Hence, ‘money-getting by means of money is an impiety, and (from the viewpoint of the coming Russian religion) a sin’. (Ibid.). ‘Money-getting by means of money’ manifests in speculation and usury. It is the basis upon which the economics of the Late West is founded, and from which it is now tottering. That this was not the case in the Gothic era of the West’s ‘high culture’ is indicated by the Church’s strident condemnation of usury as ‘ sin’.

Spengler predicted that in answer to the money-ethos a ‘third kind of Christianity’, based on the ‘John Gospel’, would arise, ‘looking towards Jerusalem with premonitions of coming crusades’. (Ibid.). The Russian also eschews the machine, to which Faustian man is enslaved, and if today he adopts Western technics, he does so ‘with fear and hatred of wheels, cables, and rails’, and will ‘blot the whole thing from his memory and his environment, and create about himself a wholly new world, in which nothing of this Devil’s technique is left’. (Ibid., II, 504).

Has time proved Spengler wrong in his observation that the Russian soul is repelled by the materialism, rationalism, technics and scientism of the Late West, given that the USSR went full throttle to industrialise? Spengler also said that Russia would adapt Western technics for her own use, as a weapon. Anecdotally, in our time, Barbara Brothers, a psycho-therapist, while part of a scientific delegation to Russia in 1993, observed that even among Russian scientists the focus is on the metaphysical:

The Russians seem not to make the divorce between ‘hard’ science and heart and soul that we do in the United States. Elena is probably a classic example. In her position as a part of the Academy of National Economy, a division of the Academy of Science, she works in facts and statistics all day long; when you ask her how (how in the world!) she thinks they will make it, she gives you a metaphysical answer. The scientist part of her gave a presentation that showed us how it was absolutely impossible for the economy to begin to work. Yet, she says, ‘I am not pessimistic’.

Again, Spengler’s observations of the Russian soul are confirmed by this anecdote: the true Russian – even the scientist and mathematician - does not comprehend everything as a ‘problem’ in the Late Western sense. His decisions are not made by Western rationalism, but by metaphysics and instinct. It is an interesting aside to recall that under the USSR, supposedly predicated on dialectical materialism, the metaphysical and the psychic were subjects of serious investigation to an extent that would be scoffed at by Western scientists.
(Kernbach, 2013).

By the time Spengler had published The Hour of Decision in 1934 he was stating that Russia had overthrown Petrinism and the trappings of the late West, and while he called the new orientation of Russia ‘Asian’, he said that it was ‘a new Idea, and an idea with a future too’. (Spengler, 1963, 60). To clarify, Russia looks towards the ‘East’, but while the Westerner assumes that ‘Asia’ and East are synonymous with Mongol, the etymology of the word ‘Asia’ comes from Greek Aσία, ca. 440 BC, referring to all regions east of Greece. (Ibid., 61). As an ethnic, historical, cultural or religious designation it means as little as as the World War I propaganda reference to Germans as ‘Huns’. During his time Spengler saw in Russia that,

Race, language, popular customs, religion, in their present form… all or any of them can and will be fundamentally transformed. What we see today then is simply the new kind of life which a vast land has conceived and will presently bring forth. It is not definable in words, nor is its bearer aware of it. Those who attempt to define, establish, lay down a program, are confusing life with a phrase, as does the ruling Bolshevism, which is not sufficiently conscious of its own West-European, Rationalistic and cosmopolitan origin. (Ibid.).

Of Russia in 1934 Spengler already saw that ‘of genuine Marxism there is very little except in names and programs’. He doubted that the Communist programme is ‘really still taken seriously’. He saw the possibility of the vestiges of Petrine Bolshevism being overthrown, to be replaced by a ‘nationalistic’ Eastern type which would reach ‘gigantic proportions unchecked’. (Spengler, 1963, 63).Spengler also referred to Russia as the country ‘least troubled by Bolshevism’, (Ibid.,182) and the ‘Marxian face [was] only worn for the benefit of the outside world’. (Ibid., 212). A decade after Spengler’s death the direction of Russia under Stalin had pursued clearer definitions, and Petrine Bolshevism had been transformed in the way Spengler foresaw. (Brandenberger, 2002).


As in Spengler’s time, and centuries before, there continues to exist two tendencies in Russia : the Old Russian and the Petrine. Neither one nor the other spirit is presently dominant, although under Putin Old Russia struggles for resurgence. Spengler in a published lecture to the Rheinish-Westphalian Business Convention in 1922 referred to the ‘ancient, instinctive, unclear, unconscious, and subliminal drive that is present in every Russian, no matter how thoroughly westernised his conscious life may be – a mystical yearning for the South, for Constantinople and Jerusalem, a genuine crusading spirit similar to the spirit our Gothic forebears had in their blood but which we can hardly appreciated today’. (Spengler, 1922).

Bolshevism destroyed one form of Petrinism with another form, clearing the way ‘for a new culture that will some day arise between “Europe” and East Asia. It is more a beginning than an end’. The peasantry ‘will some day become conscious of its own will, which points in a wholly different direction’. ‘The peasantry is the true Russian people of the future. It will not allow itself to be perverted or suffocated’. (Ibid.).

The ‘Great Patriotic War’ gave Stalin the opportunity to return Russia to its roots. Russia’s Orthodox foundations were returned on the basis of a myth, an archetypically Russian mysticism. The myth goes that in 1941:

The Virgin appeared to Metropolitan Ilya of the Antiochian Church, who prayed wholeheartedly for Russia. She instructed him to tell the Russians that they should carry the Kazan Icon in a religious procession around the besieged city of Leningrad (St Petersburg). Then, the Virgin said, they should serve a molieben [2] before the icon in Moscow. The Virgin said that the icon should stay with the Russian troops in Stalingrad, and later move with them to the Russian border. Leningrad didn’t surrender. Miraculously, Moscow was also saved. During the Battle of Stalingrad, the icon was with the Russian army on the right bank of the Volga, and the Nazi troops couldn’t cross the river. The Battle of Stalingrad began with a molieben before the Kazan Icon. Only when it was finished, did the troops receive the order to attack. The Kazan Icon was at the most important sectors of the front, and in the places where the troops were preparing for an offensive. It was like in the old times, when in response to earnest prayers, the Virgin instilled fear in enemies and drove them away. Even atheists told stories of the Virgin’s help to the Russian troops. During the assault on Königsberg in 1945, the Soviet troops were in a critical situation. Suddenly, the soldiers saw their commander arrive with priests and an icon. Many made jokes, ‘Just wait, that’ll help us!’ The commander silenced the jokers. He ordered everybody to line up and to take off their caps. When the priests finished the molieben, they moved to the frontline carrying the icon. The amazed soldiers watched them going straight forward, under intense Nazi fire. Suddenly, the Nazis stopped shooting. Then, the Russian troops received orders to attack on the ground and from the sea. Nazis died in the thousands. Nazi prisoners told the Russians that they saw the Virgin in the sky before the Russians began to attack, the whole of the Nazi army saw Her, and their weapons wouldn’t fire. (Voices from Russia).

The message to Metropolitan Ilya from The Theotokos [3] for Russia was that:

‘The cathedrals, monasteries, theological seminaries and academies have to be opened in the whole country. The priests have to be sent back from the front and released from incarceration. They must begin serving again…. When the war will be over, Metropolitan Elijah has to come to Russia and witness how she was saved’. The metropolitan contacted both Russian church representatives and Soviet government officials. Stalin then promised to do everything God indicated. (Russia before the Second Coming).

During ‘The Great Patriotic War’ 20,000 churches were opened. In 1942 the Soviet Government allowed Easter celebrations. On 4 September 1943 Stalin invited the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church to the Kremlin to discuss the need for reviving religious life in the USSR and the prompt election of a Patriarch.

This is the type of Myth that is nation-forming. It exists as a constant possibility within Russia. Spengler stated in his lecture to the German businessmen in 1922 that,

There can be no doubt: a new Russian people is in the process of becoming. Shaken and threatened to the very soul by a frightful destiny, forced to an inner distance, it will in time become firm and come to bloom. It is passionately religious in a way that we Western Europeans have not been, indeed could not have been, for centuries. As soon as this religious drive is directed towards a goal, it possesses an immense expansive potential. Unlike us, such a people does not count the victims who die for an idea, for it is a young, vigorous, and fertile people. (Spengler, 1922).

The arch-Conservative anti-Marxist, Spengler, in keeping with the German tradition of realpolitik, considered the possibility of a Russo-German alliance in his 1922 speech, the Treaty of Rapallo being a reflection of that tradition. ‘A new type of leader’ would be awakened in adversity, to ‘new crusades and legendary conquests’. The rest of the world, filled with religious yearning but falling on infertile ground, is ‘torn and tired enough to allow it suddenly to take on a new character under the proper circumstances’. Spengler suggested that ‘perhaps Bolshevism itself will change in this way under new leaders’. ‘But the silent, deeper Russia,’ would turn its attention towards the Near and East Asia, as a people of ‘great inland expanses’. (Ibid.). Berdyaev, discussing the Slavophil outlook, wrote:

Russian reflections upon the subject of the philosophy of history led to the consciousness that the path of Russia was a special one. Russia is the great East-West; it is a whole immense world and in its people vast powers are confined. The Russian people are a people of the future; they will decide questions which the West has not yet the strength to decide, which it does not even pose in their full depth. (Berdyaev, 70).

There are no certainties. While Spengler postulated the organic cycles of a High Culture going through the life-phases of birth, youthful vigour, maturity, old age and death, it should be kept in mind that a life-cycle can be disrupted, aborted, murdered or struck by disease, at any time, and end without fulfilling itself. Each has its analogy in politics, and there are plenty of Russophobes eager to stunt Russia’s destiny with political, economic and cultural contagion. The Soviet bloc fell through inner and outer contagion.

What Spengler foresaw for the possibilities of Russia, yet to fulfil its historic mission, messianic and of world-scope, might now be unfolding if Russia eschews pressures from within and without. The invigoration of Orthodoxy is part of this process, as is the leadership style of Putin, as distinct from a Yeltsin for example. Whatever Russia is called outwardly, whether, monarchical, Bolshevik or democratic, there is an inner – eternal – Russia that endures and awaits its time on the world historical stage. We see it now with the re-emergence of Eurasianism, for example; not of the ‘East’ nor the ‘West’, but of Russia.


1. Ivan Sergyeyevich Aksakov (1823-1886) a Pan-Slavic leader, established the ‘Slavophil’ group at Moscow to restore Russia to its pre-Petrine culture.
2. Orthodox service for the sick.
3. Mary.


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Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Possessed, Oxford University Press, 1992.
Kernback, S. ‘Unconventional research in USSR and Russia: short overview, 2013, http://arxiv.org/pdf/1312.1148.pdf
Russia before the Second Coming, Svyato-Troitskaya Sergiyeva Lavra Monastery, p. 239; Archbishop Alypy, ‘My thoughts about the Declaration of 1927’, 2 February 2005, http://www.stjamesok.org/ArbpAlypyBIO.htm
Spengler, Oswald. Prussian and Socialism, 1919.
Spengler, Oswald ‘The Two Faces of Russia and Germany’s Eastern Problems’, Politische Schriften, Munich, 14 February, 1922.
Spengler, Oswald. The Hour of Decision, Alfred A Knopf, New York, 1963.
Spengler, Oswald. The Decline of The West, George Allen & Unwin, London, 1971.
Trotsky, Leon. The Revolution Betrayed: what is the Soviet Union and where is it going?, 1936.
Voices from Russia, 15 January 2008, http://02varvara.wordpress.com/2008/01/15/the-wonderworking-icon-of-kazan-of-the-most-holy-mother-of-god/

samedi, 07 novembre 2015

Jornadas de Actualidad de Carl Schmitt a 30 años de su muerte


Jornadas de Actualidad de Carl Schmitt a 30 años de su muerte


Actualidad de Carl Schmitt a 30 años de su muerte.

18, 19 y 20 de noviembre de 2015, Santiago del Estero 1029, CABA.

Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, UBA.

Para consultar el programa, hacé click aquí: 

Jornadas Carl Schmitt – Programa

jeudi, 29 octobre 2015

Vico, der Vorläufer Spenglers


Vico, der Vorläufer Spenglers

von Carlos Wefers Verástegui

Ex: http://www.blauenarzisse.de

Der Geschichtstheoretiker und Kulturphilosoph Giambattista Vico (16681744) ist, wenn überhaupt, nur als „Vorläufer Spenglers“ bekannt.

Zu Unrecht, denn der Neapolitaner Vico ist Spengler in Sachen Eingebungskraft, Selbständigkeit und Reichhaltigkeit des Denkens überlegen. Er verdient es, als Bildungsmacht neben den ganzen Deutschen Idealismus gestellt zu werden, aber auch Wilhelm Dilthey, Friedrich Nietzsche – vor allem der geniale Nietzsche von „Lüge und Wahrheit im außermoralischen Sinne“ – und Ferdinand Tönnies sind Vico ebenbürtig. Vicos leidenschaftliche, aber dennoch den Tatsachen auf den Grund gehende Beschäftigung mit der Geschichte lassen ihn vorteilhafter als Spengler erscheinen. Anders als die herkömmlichen Geschichtsphilosophen neigt Vico nicht zu Ideologie und politischer Auswertung der Vergangenheit.

Bedeutung Vicos für den Konservatismus

Dass Vico immer noch so wenig bekannt ist, liegt vor allem daran, dass er im Gegensatz zu Spengler keinen durch Zeitumstände bedingten Erfolg hatte. Sein Hauptwerk, die „Neue Wissenschaft“ (Scienza Nuova), war seiner Zeit derart voraus, dass es über ein Jahrhundert lang einsam dastand und auch später meist unverstanden blieb.

Erst die Arbeiten des italienischen Philosophen Benedetto Croce sowie die Forschungen Deutscher, wie Richard Peters, aber auch Karl Löwith, haben die Viquianische Methode der historischen Einsicht in ihrem Wert wiedererkannt. Auch konservative Gelehrte, wie Werner Sombart und Carl Schmitt, haben Vico durchaus die Wertschätzung zuteil kommen lassen, die er verdient. Der ehemalige Spann-​Schüler Eric Voegelin hat in ausdrücklicher Anlehnung an Vico seinem Hauptwerk den Titel „Die neue Wissenschaft der Politik“ gegeben.

Gemäß ihrem Schöpfer ist die neue Wissenschaft eine teologia civile e ragionata della provvidenza divina, frei übersetzt: eine „auf Vernunftbelege gegründete politische Theologie der göttlichen Vorsehung“. Hinter dem barocken Ausdruck verbirgt sich eine Philosophie des Geistes, ähnlich imposant wie die Hegelsche. Dazu gesellen sich noch eine empirische Geschichte oder, wie Croce präzisiert, „eine Gruppe von verschiedenen Geschichten“, sowie eine Gesellschaftswissenschaft. Obwohl Vico den Begriff nicht gebraucht, ist sein Werk als eine umfassende Kulturphilosophie zu bezeichnen, die sich bereits im Übergang zu einer konservativen Soziologie befindet.


Ideale ewige Geschichte

Nach Vico bezeichnet seine Wissenschaft eine „ideale ewige Geschichte“. Dieser idealistische Begriff geht auf zwei Gegenstände Viquianischer Eingebung zurück: durch die Erfassung des Heroenzeitalter Homers ist er im Mythos verankert, die römische Geschichte hat ihm als Vorlage für alles Weitere gedient – sie stand geradezu Modell für Vicos geschichtliche Zyklenlehre der corsi und recorsi. Vicos Geschichtsbild gemäß dieser „idealen ewigen Geschichte“ ist aufs innigste verwand mit romantischen Naturgeschichtsvorstellungen, wie denen Heinrich Leos oder Wilhelm Roschers, aber auch Othmar Spanns universalistische Geschichtstheorie gehört hier her.

Das Geschaffene ist das Wahre

Wie leicht es ist, Vico mißzuverstehen, beleuchtet Spanns Fehlurteil über Vico als eines „naturalistischen Geschichtsphilosophen“. Der Ernst von Vicos System ist, wie bei Spann, „objektiver Idealismus“. Auch führte Vico konsequent die fundamentale Unterscheidung zwischen Natur und Kultur, zwischen physischer Welt und Welt des Geistes als erkenntnistheoretischer Grundlage einer von den Naturwissenschaften geschiedenen und, im Gegensatz zu diesen, wahren Wissenschaft – der vom menschlichen Geist nämlich – ein.

Dadurch, dass Vico seinen Gottesglauben gedanklich ausführte, kam er zu der Feststellung: In Gott sind Einsicht, Erkennen und Schaffen eins. Nur Gott, als dem Schöpfer, gebührt vollkommene Einsicht in sein Werk, nur er besitzt wahres Wissen über alles. Der Mensch aber findet sich in einer natürlichen Welt zurecht, die er nicht geschaffen hat, und über die er deshalb nur „Gewissheit“, niemals aber „wahres Wissen“ erlangen kann. Nur was der Mensch selbst schafft, vermag er auch vollkommen zu erkennen, wahres Wissen erlangt er nur über seine eigenen Erzeugnisse.

Vico stützt sich in seinen Untersuchungen auf die Fähigkeit des menschlichen Geistes, Erkenntnis über sich selbst zu erlangen, auf die Einheit des Menschengeschlechtes sowie die (relative) Unveränderlichkeit der Menschennatur. Relativ unveränderlich ist die Menschennatur deshalb, weil Vico sich der Geschichtlichkeit des Menschen sowie seiner individuellen Abhängigkeit vom geschichtlichen Schicksal der „Völker und Nationen“ sicher ist.

Gegen Naturrecht, Rationalismus und Atheismus

Diese dogmatische Erkenntnisvoraussetzung nimmt bei Vico die Gestalt einer Kritik des Rationalismus sowie der utilitaristischen Naturrechtslehren, vor allem von Hobbes und Spinozas, an. Am Ende dieser Kritik steht bei Vico eine entschieden fromme Philosophie der Autorität, die für sich beansprucht, die gesamte Überlieferung, den Mythos, die Phantasie und überhaupt die Intuition wieder in ihr angestammtes Recht eingesetzt zu haben. Überhaupt ist die Frömmigkeit bei Vico erster und letzter Begriff.

Erst der Fromme besitzt den Schlüssel zum wahren, nämlich einfühlsamen Verständnis der gesellschaftlich-​geschichtlichen Welt. Gegenüber dem Frommen und seiner wahren Einsicht nehmen sich die Naturrechtler und Rationalisten toll und hochmütig aus; die Wahrheit bleibt ihnen auf immer verschlossen, und sie merken es nicht einmal. Derselbe tolle Hochmut macht für Vico auch die Atheisten so hassenswert. Über hundert Jahre später übernimmt der spanische Reaktionär Juan Donoso Cortés dieses Viquianischen Argument in seinem Kampf gegen die politischen Nachfahren der Rationalisten und Naturrechtler, die Liberalen und Sozialisten.

Die Rolle der „Vorsehung“

Vico_La_scienza_nuova.gifAls strenger Theist ist Vico der Ansicht, dass die Geschichte, die ihm immer eine Geschichte der „Völker und Nationen“, niemals von Individuen ist, zwar von Menschen gemacht ist, dass aber hinter den Menschen und selbst durch die Menschen hindurch unentwegt die göttliche Vorsehung wirkt. Die Selbsterkenntnisfähigkeit des menschlichen Geistes ist ein Beweis für dieses Wirken der Vorsehung, ja, sie nähert den Menschen selbst in gewisser Weise an Gott an.

Dieses Vergnügen in der Gewissheit, in der Erkenntnis der menschlichen Dinge über sich selbst als Menschen herausgewachsen zu sein, macht Vico zu einem würdigen Nachfahren und Geistesverwandten Machiavellis, der für sich – und für intelligente Leser ebenfalls – stillschweigend beanspruchte, die politischen Dinge sowohl von der Ebene als auch zugleich von der Anhöhe aus zu betrachten. Was aber bei Machiavelli verhohlener Stolz und eine kleine Eitelkeit gegenüber den Fürsten ist, ist bei Vico freudige Demut ob der errungenen wahren Einsicht im Angesicht Gottes.

Gott besitzt die vollkommene Einsicht, nur er besitzt die ganze Wahrheit, und sich ein wenig zu ihm emporgerungen zu haben, ist keine Kleinigkeit für den menschlichen Geist. Darauf ist Vico stolz. Die Menschen spielen sich nämlich dauernd selbst Streiche, sie irren über die wahren Beweggründe ihres Handelns. Sie meinen, etwas zu wollen oder zu tun, erreichen aber etwas ganz anderes, was ihnen nicht aufgeht – es ist die Vorsehung, die die Selbstsucht, die Triebe, den Ehrgeiz, die Laster, die Leidenschaften, die Irrtümer und überhaupt alles Streben der Menschen dazu benutzt, das Allgemeinwohl hinter dem Rücken der Akteure und über ihre Köpfe hinweg zustande zu bringen.

Machiavellischer Realismus und geschichtliche Dialektik

Vicos „Vorsehung“ hat zwar auf den ersten Blick etwas von Adam Smiths „unsichtbarer Hand“, die gerade da die allgemeine Wohlfahrt befördert, wo jeder seinem eigenen Vorteil nachgeht. Ihre genaue Entsprechung ist jedoch Hegels List der Vernunft: dadurch, dass die Menschen sich in ihren wesentlichen Überzeugungen, Glaubensartikeln, Ansichten und Zwecksetzungen täuschen bzw. sich grundsätzlich irren, machen sie sich letzen Endes selbst, nämlich freiwillig und ohne dass sie irgendetwas davon ahnten, zu Werkzeugen der Vorsehung.

Diese eigentümliche dialektische Spannung zwischen Existenz, Bewusstsein und Handeln des Individuums und dessen eigentlicher, ungeahnter Bewandtnis innerhalb von Gottes Vorsehung, sagt trotz ihrer, für heutiges Empfinden mythologischen Einkleidung, tatsächlich etwas über die Struktur der menschlichen Wirklichkeit aus. Sie tut es auf die gleiche Weise, wie es Machiavelli mit dem Hinweis getan hat, dass der Fürst sich auch darauf verstehen müsse, nach Notwendigkeit böse zu handeln. Nur ist bei Vico das Aktivistische von Machiavellis individualistischer Handlungstheorie eben zum überindividuellen Prozess der Vorsehung ausgeweitet, der so zur geschichtlichen Dialektik wird. Die Vorsehung ist gerade deshalb, weil sie göttlichem Ratschluss, Gottes Vernunft und Autorität in einem, entsprungen ist, gut und gerecht; in der Notwendigkeit des geschichtlichen Verlaufs rechtfertigt, d.h. reinigt, heilt und korrigiert sie diesen.

Sympathie für barbarische Heroen

vico1zs1fqL._UY250_.jpgAls tief einem in der Tradition verwurzelten Katholiken fehlte Vico jeder Begriff von „Fortschritt“. Trotzdem beinhaltet seine „Neue Wissenschaft“ eine intensive Auseinandersetzung mit dem Aufstieg und Verfall der Völker und Nationen. Nach Vico liegt der Anfang der Völker in einem dunklen Heroenzeitalter. Dies ist gekennzeichnet durch barbarische Gefühlsausbrüche und körperliche Sinnlichkeit. Doch gerade dieses unmenschliche Zeitalter der rohen Gewalt und Barbarei ist ganz im Sinn der Vorsehung, und zwar zum Besten der Menschen: sie sind der Urkeim eines wahrhaft geselligen Zustandes, der erst ein menschenwürdiges Zusammenleben möglich macht. Obwohl Vico nicht mit groben Bezeichnungen für seine barbarischen Helden spart, behandelt er diese Vorzeit mit Liebe und Verständnis, ja sogar mit Sympathie für die „Riesen und Polypheme“, wie er die Barbaren nennt. Ihr Zeitalter ist das einer unschuldigen Jugend, reichlich ausgestattet mit Phantasie und ursprünglicher Schaffenskraft.

Sind es auch Barbaren, so sind sie doch edelmütig und aufrichtig bei aller Gewalttätigkeit. Indem sie ihr zyklopisches Heroenrecht gegenüber anderen Barbaren und, vor allem, den nichtheroischen Schwachen durchsetzten, wurden sie zu Stiftern der Zivilisation. Die Schwachen machten sie sich unterwürfig, nahmen sie in ihre Obhut und gewährten ihnen so ein erträgliches Dasein.

Den weiteren Fortschritt der Kultur zeichnet Vico, hauptsächlich anhand der römischen Geschichte, als eine Folge von Kämpfen, Klassenkämpfen und Bürgerkriegen, zwischen Adligen und Niedriggeborenen, einheimischen Patriziat und fremdstämmigen Plebejern. Nach jedem dieser Kämpfe kommt es zu einem Ausgleich, der immer mehr diese „Gemeinen“, die für Vico die eigentliche Menschheit ausmachen, begünstigt. Dadurch, dass die Plebejer in der Geschichte gegenüber den sich immer mehr weibischen Adligen an Boden gewinnen, wird die mildeste und den Schwachen gemäße Zeit eingeläutet: das „menschliche Zeitalter“. In diesem sichert ein rechtlicher Zustand den Schwachen das Dasein, die „Gesellschaft“ – im Gegensatz zur Gemeinschaft. Auch die Regierungsformen ändern sich während dieses Prozesses: die Aristokratenrepublik, bestehend aus Heroennachkommen, weicht dem demokratischen „Volksstaat“, welcher am Ende in einen Cäsarismus bei bloß „sozialer“ Demokratie ausläuft.

Demokratie bloß eine Durchgangsphase

Die gesellschaftliche Entwicklung geht dabei vom Notwendigen zum Nützlichen. Darauf folgen nacheinander das Bequeme, das Gefällige und, schließlich, der völkerverderbende Luxus. Die „humanen Zeiten“ sind nicht dazu bestimmt, eine den Leuten zuträgliche demokratische Staatsform zu stabilisieren. Nach Vico wissen die „Menschen“ mit ihrer Sicherheit und ihrem Wohlsein nichts Besseres anzufangen, als sich immer mehr in ihrem Eigennutz und ihrer Genussucht gehen zu lassen.

Auch ihren hochentwickelten Verstand benutzen sie nur zu Falschheiten – zur Gemeinheit und Niedertracht. Entgegen den Behauptungen eines Forschers zeigt Vico überhaupt kein besonderes Interesse an der „Demokratie“, sondern sieht diese nur in ihrer geschichtlichen Notwendigkeit und Bestimmung in Egoismus und Unrecht umzuschlagen. Auf sie folgt wieder der ungesellige Zustand, es wird unerträglich für alle. Wegen dieser unerträglichen Ungerechtigkeit des Daseins legt nun die Vorsehung bei der idealen ewigen Geschichte als einem obersten Weltgericht „Berufung“ – ricorso – ein.

Drei Möglichkeiten sind es nun, die sich dabei auftun: 1. Der Retter kommt, gleich Oktavian-​Kaiser Augustus, aus den eigenen Reihen. Es ist die cäsarische Lösung. 2. Es kommt ein fremder Eroberer, der über die erwiesenermaßen sich selbst zu regierenden Unfähigen herrscht – zu ihrem eigenen Besten. 3. Es ist zu spät, die zivilisatorisch überfeinerte Gemeinheit und die Barbarei des Verstandes gehen so lange weiter, bis die Völker sich total heruntergebracht haben. Hier greift nun die Vorsehung rettend ein und gewährt der Menschheit nach all dem Schmerz und Unrecht eine zweite Chance – ein neues Mittelalter bricht an. Nur dieser völlige Rückfall in eine ganz ursprüngliche und gewalttätige Barbarei, wie die, die das Mittelalter ermöglichte, ist in der Lage, die zivilisierte Menschheit zu läutern und von sich selbst, als einem leidigen Übel, zu kurieren.

vendredi, 23 octobre 2015




Manuel Fernández Espinosa

Ex: http://movimientoraigambre.blogspot.com

hugofischer.jpgCuando estos días prepárabamos el excursus a la "Elucidación de la tradición", dedicado en dos entregas (I parte y II parte) a considerar la noción de "tradición" en Ernst Jünger, nos asaltó un tema que hace tiempo acariciábamos la idea de tratar: el de la figura de uno de los maestros que más influencia ejerció sobre el pensamiento de Ernst Jünger y que, en la bibliografía española sobre Jünger, apenas ha sido tratado. Me refiero a Ernst Hugo Fischer.
Jünger se refiere a él con profusión, pero de una forma dispersa. En los diarios alude a él casi siempre bajo el pseudónimo de "Magister", aunque también lo cita por su nombre de pila y apellidos. En las novelas "Sobre los acantilados de mármol" y "Heliópolis" se refiere a él con el sobrenombre de "Nigromontanus", en "Visita a Godenholm" germaniza Jünger el "Nigromontanus" pudiéndosele identificar con el personaje de "Schwarzenberg" (Montenegro, que diríamos en castellano). Hay en torno a Hugo Fischer un halo de misterio que el mismo Jünger contribuye a crear y planea en toda la obra jüngeriana en la figura del maestro (aunque no todos los personajes puedan identificarse con éste de carne y hueso) que inicia en los secretos de una sabiduría capaz de superar el nihilismo.
Ernst Hugo Fischer nació en Halle an der Saale el 17 de octubre de 1897. La Primera Guerra Mundial lo dejó mutilado y, licenciado por invalidez, se emplea a partir del 1918 al estudio concienzudo y multidisciplinar en la Universidad de Leipzig, donde años más tarde lo conocería Jünger. Los intereses "científicos" de Fischer son múltiples: estudia Historia, Filosofía, Sociología, Psicología y se convierte en un reputado orientalista, doctorándose el año 1921 con la tesis titulada "Das Prinzip der bei Gegensätzlichkeit Jakob Böhme" (El principio de la oposición en Jakob Böhme). Resulta curioso que Ernst Jünger que era unos años mayor que Fischer (Jünger nació en 1895 y Fischer en 1897) le llame hasta el final de sus días "Maestro", pero tendríamos que tener en cuenta que Jünger llegó a la Universidad cuando Fischer le llevaba en ella unos años de ventaja. Cuando Jünger llegó a Leipzig, Fischer era ya uno de los polígrafos más importantes de Europa, pero eso sí: siempre en la sombra, con una discreción que raya el secreto, estudiando y viajando sin cesar y ejerciendo su magisterio a la manera de un maestro oculto de esos que nos hablan las tradiciones orientales como el taoísmo.
En 1921 viajó a India, en 1923 estuvo en España. Desde 1925 a 1938 ejerció la docencia en la Facultad de Filosofía de la Universidad de Leipzig, asociándosele con Arnold Gehlen. Su nacionalismo alemán fue una constante en él, militando en los círculos nacional-revolucionarios, trabando relación incluso con el nacional-bolchevique Ernst Niekisch, amigo de Jünger. Emigró de Alemania en 1938,  pues los nazis lo encontraron sospechoso por sus análisis filosóficos del marxismo, expresados en "Karl Marx und sein Verhältnis zum Staat" (Karl Marx y su informe al Estado) y "Lenin: el Maquiavelo del Este", por lo que terminó estableciéndose en Noruega, donde fue Director del Instituto de Investigación de la Sociología y la Enseñanza en Oslo. Más tarde se trasladó a Inglaterra. Siguió viajando a la India, incluso fue profesor en la Universidad de Benarés y regresó a Alemania en 1956, ocupando la cátedra de Filosofía de la Civilización en la Universidad de Múnich. Siguió estudiando, escribiendo y publicando, aunque sin éxitos rotundos que pusieran su figura filosófica en primera línea mundial. Su último libro lo dio a la estampa en 1971, bajo el título "Vernunft und Zivilisation" (Razón y Civilización) Falleció el 11 de mayo de 1975 en Ohlstadt (Baviera).
Su pensamiento fue evolucionando, pero siempre se mantuvo hipercrítico contra la modernidad y anticapitalista, siendo uno de los cerebros de la Revolución Conservadora alemana y tanteando todas las formas posibles de combatir lo que consideraba el mal absoluto: la modernidad y el capitalismo, para establecer un orden de nuevo cuño. Uno de los que más ha contribuido a darlo a conocer fue, como dijimos arriba, Ernst Jünger. Más que un exhaustivo seguimiento y localización de las abundantes citas que Jünger dedicó a Fischer a lo largo de toda su obra, merece la pena destacar el marcado carácter metafísico (podríamos decir que hasta místico) que imprimió a la visión del mundo jüngeriana. En "Heliópolis" el protagonista revela que una de las enseñanzas que recibió de su maestro "Nigromontano" era "que la naturaleza interior del hombre debe hacerse visible en su superficie como la flor que nace del germen". La idea se repite al final de la novela: "Creemos que su intención [la de Nigromontano/Fischer] es saturar la superficie con profundidad, de modo que las cosas sean al mismo tiempo simbólicas y reales".
En "Sobre los acantilados de mármol" se habla de un misterioso artilugio que Nigromontanus había dado a los hermanos que protagonizan la novela: "Para consolarnos, sin embargo, poseíamos el espejo de Nigromontanus, cuya contemplación (...) siempre nos serenaba". Dicho espejo tenía las supuestas propiedades de "concentrar los rayos solares sobre un punto en el que inmediatamente se producía un gran fuego. Las cosas que, tocadas por aquel ardor, se incendiaban, entraban en la eternidad de una manera que, según Nigromontanus, no podía comparse ni a la más fina destilación. Nigromontanus había aprendido aquel arte en los conventos del lejano Oriente, donde los tesoros de los difuntos son destruidos por las llamas, a fin de que puedan entrar en la eternidad en compañía de éstos".

Habida cuenta de que "Sobre los acantilados de mármol" es una novela que bien mereciera calificarse como "realismo mágico", sin regatearle su condición de "distopía", haríamos bien en pensar que más que un artefacto, el "espejo de Nigromontanus" sería algo así como una posible técnica de meditación inspirada en los saberes ocultos del extremo oriente (me pregunto, no sin advertir que me aventuro a equivocarme: ¿sería un mandala?.) A tenor de ello merece la pena recordar las enigmáticas palabras que Jünger escribe en "El corazón aventurero. Figuras y caprichos": "Entre los arcanos que me reveló Nigromontanus figura la certeza de que entre nosotros hay una tropa selecta que desde hace mucho tiempo se ha retirado de las bibliotecas y del polvo de las arenas, para consagrarse a su trabajo en el más recóndito cenobio y en el más oscuro Tíbet. Él hablaba de hombres sentados solitariamente en estancias nocturnas, imperturbables como rocas, en cuyas cavidades centellea la corriente que afuera hacer girar toda rueda de molino y que mantiene en movimiento el ejército de las máquinas; pero la energía de estos hombres permanece extraña a todo fin y se recoge en sus corazones, que, como matriz caliente y vibrante de toda fuerza y poder, se sustrae para siempre a cualquier luz externa".
Como quiera que sea la relación entre Ernst Jünger y este filósofo desconocido fue muy estrecha, incluso Jünger alude a viajes que hicieron juntos, pasando por el Golfo de Vizcaya en el barco "Iris" por ejemplo. Sabemos, por los diarios de Jünger, que todavía en 1968 el filósofo Fischer visitaba Mallorca, pero nos gustaría saber los lugares que recorrió en su viaje a España en 1923 o en otras de sus visitas. Estamos convencidos de que en Hugo Fischer, ese desconocido para la filosofía y la cultura española, estamos ante un maestro oculto cuya labor científica no ha sido todavía, por las razones que sean, lo suficientemente divulgada.
Jünger, Ernst, "Visita a Godenholm".
Jünger, Ernst, "Heliópolis".
Jünger, Ernst, Diarios: Radiaciones I y II, Pasados los Setenta I, II, III, IV, V.
Jünger, Ernst, "Sobre los acantilados de mármol".
Jünger, Ernst, "El corazón aventurero".
Enlaces de interés:
Gajek, Bernhard, "Magister-Nigromontan-Schwarzenberg: Ernst Jünger und Hugo Fischer". Revue de littérature comparée. 1997

vendredi, 16 octobre 2015

Ernst Jünger aan het westelijk front


Hans Verboven, Joris Verbeurgt

Een oorlog kan ook mooi zijn

Ernst Jünger aan het westelijk front

Publicatie datum


€ 24.95

In de maanden juli en oktober 1917 vocht de Duitse officier Ernst Jünger (1895-1998) mee in de Derde Slag om Ieper. Aan de hand van de originele dagboeken, brieven, militaire documenten, nieuw fotomateriaal en unieke kaarten reconstrueert Een oorlog kan ook mooi zijnde belevenissen van deze met de hoogste Pruisische ordes gedecoreerde oorlogsheld.

Daarnaast schetsen Hans Verboven en Joris Verbeurgt een beeld van Jüngers controversiële oorlogsfilosofie en ze beschrijven het bewogen leven van een van de meest omstreden Duitse schrijvers van de twintigste eeuw. Jüngers literaire oorlogsdagboeken, bekend geworden onder de titel In Stahlgewittern, brachten hem roem en aanzien. Ze bezorgden cultuuraristocraat Jünger ook de naam van onderkoelde en zakelijke ‘estheticus van de gruwel’. De ervaringen van deze overtuigde militarist brengen de Eerste Wereldoorlog heel dichtbij.

Hans Verboven

(1978) promoveerde op het werk van Ernst Jünger in Heidelberg. Hij vertaalde werk van hem en is in ons taalgebied de grootste kenner van het werk van de Duitse schrijver. Hij is professor aan de faculteit TEW van de Universiteit Antwerpen.

Joris Verbeurgt

(1975) is militair historicus. Als beroepsofficier studeerde hij aan de NATO School in Duitsland, aan JFK Special Warfare Center and School in Fort Bragg en aan het Defensiecollege van de Koninklijke Militaire School. Hij diende in het Midden-Oosten en in Afrika.

  • Paperback met flappen, full colour
  • Afmetingen: 15 x 23 cm
  • Pagina's: 264
  • NUR: 680 Geschiedenis / 689 Oorlog en vrede
  • Boekverzorging: Stijn Dams
  • Cover: © Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach
  • Foto auteur: Koen Broos
  • Categorieën: Geschiedenis

mercredi, 14 octobre 2015

Robert Steuckers: Eurasianismul și Revoluția Conservatoare


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Robert Steuckers: Eurasianismul și Revoluția Conservatoare

Ex: http://www.estica.eu

Troy Southgate: Când şi de ce v-aţi decis să vă implicaţi în politică?

Robert Steuckers: Niciodată n-am fost implicat în politică şi nici membru al vreunui partid politic. Sunt un cetăţean interesat de teme politice, dar nu în modul obtuz şi trivial, iar cât priveşte posibilitatea participării în alegeri pentru un consiliu local sau pentru a deveni membru al Parlamentului, nici nu intră în discuţie.

Pentru mine “politica” înseamnă menţinerea unor continuităţi sau, dacă preferaţi, a unor tradiţii. Însă este vorba despre acele tradiţii care sunt înrădăcinate în istoria reală a comunităţilor umane particulare. Am început să citesc cărţi istorice şi politice la vârsta de 14 ani şi asta a dus la o respingere a ideologiilor universal acceptate şi a non-valorilor.

De la vârsta de 15 ani, cu ajutorul unui profesor de istorie, un anume domn Kennof, am realizat că oamenii ar trebui să cunoască principalele trenduri istorice şi să utilizeze constant atlasele istorice (am început să le colectez încă de atunci) pentru a înţelege într-o clipită principalele forţe care animă scena politică într-un anumit moment. Hărţile sunt foarte importante pentru politică la nivel înalt (diplomaţia, spre exemplu).

Principala idee pe care am descoperit-o la această tânără vârstă a fost că toate ideologiile, gândurile sau schemele care doresc să scape de trecut, să taie legăturile oamenilor cu propria continuitate istorică, sunt fundamental greşite. Drept consecinţă, toate acţiunile politice ar trebui să ţintească spre prezervarea şi întărirea continuităţilor istorice şi politice chiar dacă acţiunile futuristice (pro-active) sunt adesea necesare pentru a salva comunitatea de la repetiţia sterilă de obiceiuri și cutume perimate.

Discursurile majorităţii ideologiilor, incluzând expresii variate ale aşa numitei extreme dreapta, sunt în ochii mei artificiale în Occident, aşa cum comunismul a fost o abstracţie în faţa întregii istorii ruseşti în Est sau o abstracţie distructivă la adresa pattern-urilor istorice autentice ale popoarelor est-europene căzute sub dominaţia Sovietică după 1945. Ruptura continuităţilor sau repetiţia “formelor” moarte ale trecutului a condus la confuzia politico-ideologică pe care o cunoaştem în prezent, unde conservatorii nu mai sunt conservatori, socialiştii nu mai sunt socialişti ș.a.m.d.

Ideile politice fundamentale sunt mai bine slujite în opinia mea de către “Ordine” decât de către partidele politice. Ordinele asigură o educaţie continuă a afiliaților şi întăresc noţiunea de datorie. Ele  se opun ambiţiilor mărunte ale simplilor politicieni. Astfel de Ordine sunt Ordinele Cavalereşti din Evul Mediu sau ale Renaşterii europene, noţiunea de fatwa în lumea islamică persană precum şi experimente ulterioare, inclusiv în secolul al XX-lea (Legiunea Arhanghelului Mihail în România, Verdinaso în Flandra etc.).

Troy Southgate: Vă rog explicaţi ce vreţi să spuneţi prin termenul “Revoluţia Conservatoare” şi, dacă este posibil, oferiţi-ne o schiţă a principalilor săi ideologi.

Robert Steuckers: Când expresia “Revoluţia Conservatoare” este utilizată în Europa, este folosită în sensul dat de către Armin Mohler în faimoasa lui carte Die Konservative Revolution in Deutschland, 1918-1932. Mohler a enumerat o lista lungă de autori care au respins pseudo-valorile anului 1789 (respinse de Edmund Burke drept simple “schiţe”), a accentuat rolul germanic-ului în evoluţia gândirii europene şi a fost influenţat de Nietzsche. Mohler a evitat, spre exemplu, “conservatorii” puri religioşi, fie aceştia catolici sau protestanţi.

Pentru Mohler principala trăsătură a “Revoluţiei Conservatoare” este o viziune non-lineară a istoriei. Însă acesta nu preia pur şi simplu viziunea ciclică a tradiţionalismului. După Nietzsche, Mohler a crezut într-o concepţie sferică a istoriei. Ce înseamnă asta? Înseamnă că istoria nu este nici o simplă repetiţie a aceloraşi pattern-uri la intervale regulate, nici un traseu linear ce conduce către fericire – către sfârşitul istoriei, către un Paradis pe Pământ, către mulțumire etc. – ci o sferă care poate merge (sau poate fi împinsă) în orice direcţie corespunzător impulsurilor pe care le primeşte de la personalităţi puternice şi carismatice. Astfel de personalităţi carismatice îndoaie cursul istoriei către căi particulare, căi care nu au fost anterior prevăzute de către nicio providenţă.

Mohler, în acest sens, nu crede niciodată în reţete sau doctrine politice universale ci numai în tendinţe particulare şi personale. Precum Jünger, acesta doreşte să lupte împotriva a tot ce este “general” şi să susţină tot ce este “particular”. În plus, Mohler şi-a exprimat propria viziune a particularităţilor dinamice utilizând terminologia oarecum ciudată a “nominalismului”. Pentru el, “nominalismul” a fost într-adevăr cuvântul care a exprimat cel mai bine voinţa personalităţilor puternice de a desena pentru ei înşişi şi pentru propriii adepţi un drum original şi nemaivăzut prin jungla existenţei.

Principalele figuri ale mişcării au fost Spengler, Moeller van den Bruck şi Ernst Jünger (precum şi fratele acestuia Friedrich-Georg). Putem adăuga acestui triumvirat pe Ludwig Klages şi Ernst Niekisch. Carl Schmitt, ca şi avocat catolic şi constituţionalist, reprezintă un alt aspect important al aşa-numitei “Revoluţii Conservatoare”.

Spengler rămâne autorul unei fresce strălucitoare a lumii civilizate care l-a inspirat pe filosoful britanic Arnold Toynbee. Spengler a vorbit despre Europa ca civilizaţie faustiană, cel mai bine exprimată de catedralele gotice, de interacţiunea luminii şi culorilor în lucrările pe sticlă, de cerul furtunos cu nori albi şi gri în majoritatea picturilor germane, engleze şi olandeze. Această civilizaţie este o aspiraţie a sufletului uman către lumină şi către auto-angajare.

O altă idee importantă a lui Spengler este aceea a “pseudo-morfozei”: o civilizaţie nu dispare niciodată complet după decadenţă sau cucerire violentă. Elementele acesteia trec în noua civilizaţie care îi ia locul şi o ghidează în direcţia originară.

Moeller van den Bruck a fost primul traducător german al lui Dostoievski. Acesta a fost profund influenţat de jurnalul lui Dostoievski, conţinând câteva judecăţi severe la adresa Vestului. În contextul Germaniei de după 1918, Moeller van den Bruck a susţinut, bazându-se pe argumentele lui Dostoievski, o alianţă germano-ruso împotriva Vestului.

Cum a putut respectabilul gentleman german, cu o imensă cultură a artei, să pledeze în favoarea unei alianţe cu bolşevicii? Argumentele sale au fost după cum urmează: în întreaga tradiţie diplomatică a secolului XIX, Rusia a fost considerată un scut de reacţie împotriva tuturor repercusiunilor Revoluţiei Franceze, a gândirii şi mentalității revoluționare. Dostoievski, fost revoluţionar rus care a admis mai târziu că opţiunile sale revoluționare au fost greşite şi simple schiţe, a considerat mai mult sau mai puţin că misiunea Rusiei în lume era să elimine din Europa ideile de la 1789.

Pentru Moeller van den Bruck, Revoluţia din Octombrie a anului 1917 în Rusia a fost doar o schimbare a mantiei ideologice, Rusia rămânând, în ciuda discursului bolşevic, antidotul la adresa gândirii liberale a Vestului. Deci Germania înfrântă ar fi trebuit să se alăture acestei fortăreţe de anti-revoluționarism pentru a se opune Vestului, care în ochii lui Moeller van den Bruck este încarnarea liberalismului. Liberalismul, afirmă Moeller van den Bruck, este întotdeauna boala terminală a unui popor. După câteva decenii de liberalism, un popor intră, inevitabil, într-o fază terminală de decadenţă.

Calea urmată de Ernst Jünger este destul de cunoscută tuturor. Acesta a început ca un tânăr şi înflăcărat soldat în Primul Război Mondial, părăsind tranşeele fără nicio armă, doar cu o grenadă sub braţ, purtată cu eleganță, precum bastonul unui tipic ofiţer britanic. Pentru Ernst Jünger, Primul Război Mondial a fost sfârşitul lumii burgheze a secolului XIX şi a “Belle Epoque,” unde toată lumea trebuia să fie “aşa cum ar trebui să fie”, adică să se comporte conform normelor prestabilite de falși profesori sau preoţi, la fel cum toţi astăzi trebuie să ne conformăm comportamental autoproclamatei reguli a “corectitudinii politice”.

Sub “furtunile de oţel” soldatul îşi poate declara lipsa de însemnătate, fragila lui fiinţă biologică, însă această stare nu poate conduce, în ochii săi, către un pesimism inept, către frică şi disperare. Experimentând cel mai crud destin în tranşee şi sub tirul miilor de focuri de artilerie, zguduind pământul, reducând totul la “elementar”, infanteristul a cunoscut cel mai bine dintre toți oamenii crudul destin uman. Toată artificialitatea vieţii civilizaţiei urbane se dovedea a fi falsă în ochii acestora.

După Primul Război Mondial, Ernst Jünger şi fratele său Friedrich-Georg au devenit cei mai buni jurnalişti şi scriitori naţional-revoluţionari.

Ernst a devenit un soi de observator pe alocuri cinic, detașat, ironic şi seren al umanităţii şi faptelor vieţii. În timpul unui raid de bombardament asupra unei suburbii pariziene, unde fabricile produceau materiale de război pentru armata germană în timpul celui de-al Doilea Război Mondial, Ernst Jünger a fost terifiat de traseul direct şi nenatural în aer al fortăreţelor americane zburătoare. Liniaritatea direcţiei avioanelor în aer deasupra Parisului exprimă negarea tuturor curbelor şi sinuozităţilor vieţii organice. Războiul modern implică distrugerea acelor spirale şi serpentine organice. Ernst Jünger şi-a început cariera de scriitor fiind un apologet al războiului. După ce a observat liniile impecabile trasate de bombardierele B-17 americane, a devenit complet dezgustat de lipsa de cavalerism a modul pur tehnic de conducere a unui război.

După al Doilea Război Mondial, fratele său, Friedrich-Georg, a scris prima lucrare teoretică ce a dus la dezvoltarea noii gândiri germane critice şi ecologice, Die Perfektion der Technik (Perfecțiunea tehnicii). Principala idee a acestei cărţi, din punctul meu de vedere, este critica “conectivităţii”. Lumea modernă este un proces ce încearcă să conecteze comunităţile umane şi indivizii la suprastructuri. Acest proces de conectare distruge principiul libertăţii. Eşti un muncitor încătuşat şi sărac dacă eşti “conectat” la o structură mare, chiar dacă câştigi 3000 lire sterline sau mai mult într-o lună. Eşti un om liber dacă eşti complet deconectat de la uriaşele turnuri de metal. Într-un anume fel, Friedrich-Georg a dezvoltat teoria pe care Kerouac a experimentat-o în mod ateoretic alegând să renunţe la viaţa modernă şi să călătorească, devenind un cântăreţ vagabond.

Ludwig Klages a fost un alt filosof al vieţii organice împotriva gândirii abstracte. Pentru el, principala dihotomie a fost între Viaţă şi Spirit (Leben und Geist). Viaţa este distrusă de spiritul abstract. Klages s-a născut în Nordul Germaniei, dar s-a mutat ca şi student la München, unde şi-a petrecut timpul liber în localuri din Schwabing, cartierul unde artiştii şi poeţii se întâlneau (şi încă se întâlnesc și astăzi). A devenit prieten cu poetul Stefan Georg şi student al uneia dintre cele mai originale figuri din Schwabing, filosoful Alfred Schuler, care se credea o reîncarnare a unui colonist roman antic în Rhineland-ul German.

Schuler avea un simț autentic al teatrului. Se deghiza în toga unui împărat roman, îl admira pe Nero şi organiza piese ce reaminteau publicului lumea antică greacă sau romană. Însă dincolo de fantezia vie, Schuler a dobândit o importanţă cardinală în filosofie accentuând spre exemplu ideea de “Entlichtung”, adică dispariţia graduală a Luminii din timpurile cetăților antice ale Greciei și Italiei romane. Nu există progres în istorie: dimpotrivă, Lumina dispare, precum şi libertatea cetăţeanului de a-şi modela propriul destin.

Hannah Arendt şi Walter Benjamin, în partea stângă sau conservator-liberală, au fost inspiraţi de această idee şi au adaptat-o pentru audienţe diferite. Lumea modernă este lumea întunericului complet, cu speranţe mici de regăsire a perioadei de “iluminare”, asta dacă personalităţi carismatice precum Nero, dedicat artei şi stilului de viaţă dionisian, nu ar fixa o nouă eră a splendorii, care nu ar rezista decât pe binecuvântata perioadă a unei primăveri.

Klages a dezvoltat ideile lui Schuler, care niciodată n-a scris o carte de sine stătătoare, după ce acesta a murit în 1923 datorită unei operaţii prost pregătită. Klages, înainte de Primul Război Mondial, a pronunţat un discurs faimos pe dealurile Horer Meisnerr din centrul Germaniei, în faţa unei adunări a mișcărilor de tineret (Wandervogel). Acest discurs a purtat titlul de “Om şi Pământ” şi poate fi considerat primul manifest organic privind ecologia, cu un background filosofic clar şi inteligibil, dar şi solid.

Carl Schmitt şi-a începutat cariera de profesor de drept în 1912 şi a trăit până la venerabila vârstă de 97 de ani. A scris ultimul eseu la 91 de ani. Nu pot enumera toate punctele importante din opera lui în cadrul acestui interviu. Vom rezuma afirmând că Schmitt a dezvoltat două idei principale, şi anume ideea deciziei în viaţa politică şi ideea de “Mare Spaţiu.”

Arta politicilor modelatoare sau a politicii bune rezidă în decizii, nu în discuţie. Liderul trebuie să decidă pentru a putea conduce, a proteja şi a dezvolta comunitatea politică de care răspunde. Decizia nu înseamnă dictatură aşa cum mulţi liberali afirmă în prezent în era “corectitudinii politice”. Dimpotrivă: personalizarea puterii este mai democratică în sensul că regele, împăratul sau liderul carismatic este întotdeauna un muritor. Sistemul pe care îl impune nu este etern, din moment ce el, conducătorul, este pieritor ca orice fiinţă umană. Un sistem nomocratic, dimpotrivă, tinde spre existenţa eternă, chiar dacă evenimentele curente şi inovaţiile contrazic normele sau principiile.

Al doilea mare subiect în lucrările lui Schmitt este ideea de Mare Spaţiu European (Grossraum). Intervenţia puterilor “din-afara-spaţiului” ar trebui să fie prevenită în cadrul acestui Mare Spaţiu. Schmitt a dorit să aplice Europei acelaşi principiu care l-a animat pe preşedintele american Monroe. America pentru americani. Ok, a spus Schmitt, dar lăsați-ne să aplicăm și “Europa pentru europeni”. Schmitt poate fi comparat cu “continentaliștii” nord-americani care au criticat intervenţia lui Roosevelt în Europa şi Asia. America Latină de asemenea şi-a dezvoltat idei continentale similare, la fel şi imperialiştii japonezi. Schmitt a conferit acestei idei de “Mare Spaţiu” un puternic fundament juridic.

Ernst Niekisch este o figură fascinantă în sensul că şi-a început cariera ca şi lider comunist al “Consiliului Republicii Bavareze” în 1918-1919, care a fost strivită de Grupurile pentru Libertate ale lui von Epp, von Lettow-Vorbeck etc. Desigur, Niekisch a fost dezamăgit de absenţa unei viziuni istorice în trioul bolşevic din München-ul revoluționar (Lewin, Leviné, Axelrod).

Niekisch a dezvoltat o viziune eurasiatică, bazată pe o alianţă între Uniunea Sovietică, Germania, India şi China. Figura ideală care ar fi trebuit să reprezinte motorul uman al acestei alianţe este cea a ţăranului, adversarul burgheziei Vestului. O anume paralelă cu Mao Zedong este evidentă aici. În jurnalele editate de Niekisch, descoperim toate tentativele germane de a susţine mişcări anti-britanice sau anti-franceze în imperiile coloniale sau în Europa (Irlanda împotriva Angliei, Flandra împotriva Belgiei francofone, naţionalişti indieni împotriva Angliei etc.).

Sper că am explicat principalele trenduri ale aşa-zisei revoluţii conservatoare în Germania între 1918 şi 1933. Fie ca cei care cunosc această mişcare multistratificată de idei să ierte introducerea schematică.

RC-V-06717049.gifTroy Southgate: Aveţi un “unghi spiritual”?

Robert Steuckers: Răspunzând acestei întrebări risc să devin prea succint. În grupul de prieteni care au schimbat idei politice şi culturale la sfârşitul anilor 70, ne-am concentrat desigur asupra lucrării lui Evola, Revoltă împotriva lumii moderne. Unii dintre noi au respins total înclinaţiile spirituale, pentru că duceau către speculaţii sterile: ei preferau să citească Popper, Lorenz etc. Am acceptat multe din criticile lor şi îmi displac încă speculaţiile evoliene, invocând o lume spirituală a Tradiţiilor dincolo de orice realitate. Lumea reală este considerată o simplă trivialitate. Însă acesta este desigur un cult al Tradiţiilor în principal susţinut de tineri care “se simt inconfortabili în propria piele”, plastic vorbind. Visul de a trăi viaţa precum fiinţele din poveşti este o formă de refuz al acceptării realităţii.

În capitolul 7 al Revoltei împotriva lumii moderne, Evola, dimpotrivă, a accentuat importanța lui “numena”, forţele ce acţionează în interiorul lucrurilor, fenomenelor naturale sau puterilor. Mitologia romană iniţială a pus accentul mai mult pe numena decât pe divinităţile personalizate. Această subliniere este a mea. Dincolo de oameni şi de divinităţile religiilor uzuale (fie ele păgâne sau creştine), există forţe active şi omul ar trebui să fie în concordanţă cu acestea pentru a reuşi în acţiunile pământeşti.

Orientarea mea religioasă/spirituală este mai degrabă mistică decât dogmatică, în sensul că tradiţia mistică a Flandrei şi Rhineland (Ruusbroec, Meister Eckhart), dar şi tradiţia mistică a lui Ibn Arabî în zona musulmană sau Sohrawardî din lumea persană, admiră şi venerează întreaga splendoare a Vieţii şi a Lumii. În aceste tradiţii, nu există o dihotomie clară între dumnezeiesc, sacru şi divin, pe de o parte, şi lumesc, profan şi simplu, pe de altă parte. Tradiţia mistică înseamnă omni-compenetrarea şi sinergia tuturor forţelor existente în lume.

Troy Southgate: Vă rog explicaţi cititorilor noştri de ce conferiţi o astfel de importanță conceptelor precum geopolitică şi Eurasianism.

Robert Steuckers: Geopolitica este un amestec de istorie şi geografie. Cu alte cuvinte, un amestec al timpului şi spaţiului. Geopolitica este un set de discipline (nu o singură disciplină) ce conduce către o bună guvernare a timpului şi spaţiului. Geopolitica este un mix al istoriei şi geografiei. Nicio putere serioasă nu poate rezista fără continuitate, fie ea instituţională sau istorică. Nicio putere serioasă nu poate supravieţui fără dominaţia şi supunerea spaţiului şi pământului.

Toate imperiile tradiţionale au organizat la început teritoriul construind drumuri (Roma) sau stăpânind marile râuri (Egipt, Mesopotamia, China), apoi au reușit să acceadă la o istorie îndelungată, în sensul continuităţii, prin emergenţa ştiinţelor practice (astronomie, meteorologie, geografie, matematici), sub protecţia armatelor bine structurate cu coduri ale onoarei, în mod exemplar în Persia, locul de naștere al cavalerismului.

Imperiul Roman, primul imperiu pe pământ european, s-a concentrat asupra Mării Mediterane. Sfântul Imperiu Roman al Naţiunii Germane nu a putut găsi un nucleu mai potrivit şi mai coordonat decât Mediterana. Căile navigabile ale Europei Centrale duc către Marea Nordului, Marea Baltică sau Marea Neagră, dar fără nicio legătură între ele. Aceasta este adevărata tragedie a istoriei germane şi europene. Ţara a fost ruptă între forţe centrifugale. Împăratul Frederick II Hohenstaufen a încercat să restaureze tărâmul mediteranean, cu Sicilia drept piesă geografică centrală.

Încercarea acestuia a fost un tragic eșec. Doar acum emergenţa unei noi forme imperiale (chiar şi sub ideologie modernă) este posibilă în Europa: după deschiderea canalului dintre sistemul Rin-Main şi sistemul Dunării. Există acum o singură cale navigabilă între Marea Nordului, incluzând sistemul Tamisei din Anglia, şi Marea Neagră, permițând forţelor economice şi culturale ale Europei Centrale să atingă toate ţărmurile Marii Negre şi ţările caucaziene.

Cei care au o bună memorie istorică, care nu sunt orbiţi de schemele ideologice uzuale ale modernismului, îşi vor aminti de rolul ţărmurilor Mării Negre în istoria spirituală a Europei: în Crimeea, multe tradiţii străvechi, fie ele păgâne sau bizantine, au fost păstrate în grote de către călugări. Influenţa Persiei, în special valorile cavaleriei celei mai vechi din lume (zoroastriene), ar fi putut influenţa dezvoltarea unor forţe spirituale similare în Centrul şi Vestul Europei. Fără aceste influenţe, Europa este mutilată spiritual.

În consecinţă, zona mediteraneană, Rinul (de asemenea cuplat la Rhone) şi Dunărea, râurile ruseşti, Marea Neagră şi Caucazul ar trebui să constituie o singură zonă de civilizaţie, apărată de forţe militare unificate, bazate pe spiritualitatea moştenită din Persia Antică. Asta înseamnă, în opinia mea, Eurasia. Poziţia mea este un pic diferită de cea a lui Dughin însă cele două nu sunt incompatibile.

Când otomanii au deţinut controlul complet asupra peninsulei balcanice în secolul XV, drumurile terestre au fost tăiate pentru toţi Europenii. În plus, cu ajutorul hoinarilor maritimi din Nordul Africii adunaţi de turcul Babarossa stabilit în Alger, Mediterana a fost închisă pentru expensiunea comercială paşnică europeană spre India şi China. Lumea musulmană a funcţionat ca un zăvor pentru a opri Europa şi Moscova, nucleul viitorului Imperiu Rus.

Europenii şi ruşii şi-au unit eforturile pentru a distruge zăvorul otoman. Portughezii, spaniolii, englezii şi olandezii au explorat rutele maritime şi au ocolit Africa şi Asia, distrugând prima oară regatul marocan, care extrăgea aur din minele subtropicale din Africa de Vest, având pretenţia de a-şi construi o armată cu care să cucerească Peninsula Iberică încă odată. Debarcând în Vestul Africii, portughezii au obţinut aur mult mai uşor pentru sine iar regatul marocan a fost redus la o simplă superputere reziduală. Portughezii au navigat de-a lungul continentului african şi au intrat în Oceanul Indian, eludând zăvorul otoman definitiv şi dând pentru prima dată o dimensiune eurasiană reală istoriei europene.

În acelaşi timp, Rusia a respins atacurile tătarilor, a cucerit oraşul Kazan şi a distrus legăturile tătare cu lumea musulmană. Acesta a fost punctul de pornire al unei perspective geopolitice eurasiatice a Rusiei continentale.

Scopul strategiei globale americane, dezvoltat de un om precum Zbigniew Brzezinski, este să recreeze artificial acest zăvor musulam prin susţinerea militarismului turcesc şi panturanismul. Din această perspectivă, americanii susţin tacit şi încă în secret revendicările Marocului asupra Insulelor Canare şi se folosesc de Pakistan pentru a preveni orice legătură terestră între India şi Rusia. De aici şi dubla necesitate actuală a Rusiei și Europei de a-şi reaminti contra-strategia elaborată de TOŢI Europenii în secolul XV şi XVI.

Istoria europeană întotdeauna a fost concepută ca o sumă de viziuni naţionaliste mărunte. Este timpul să reconsiderăm istoria europeană punând accentul pe alianţele comune şi pe convergenţe. Acţiunile maritime portugheze şi cele terestre ruseşti sunt astfel de convergențe şi reprezintă natural Eurasia. Bătălia de la Lepanto, unde flotele veneţiene, genoveze şi spaniole şi-au unit forţele în efortul comun de a stăpâni Estul mediteranean sub comanda lui Don Juan de Austria, este de asemenea un model istoric asupra căruia trebuie să medităm şi de care să ne amintim.

Însă cea mai importantă alianţă eurasiatică a fost fără îndoială Sfânta Alianţă condusă de Eugen de Savoya la sfârşitul secolului XVII, care i-a forţat pe otomani să retrocedeze 400.000 km pătraţi de pământ în Balcani şi Sudul Rusiei. Această victorie a permis țarilor ruşi ai secolului XVIII, în special Ecaterinei a II-a, să câştige din nou bătălii decisive.

Eurasianismul meu (şi desigur întreaga mea gândire geopolitică) este un răspuns clar la strategia lui Brzezinski şi este adânc înrădăcinată în istoria europeană. Sub nicio formă nu trebuie comparată cu naivităţile unor pseudo naţional-revoluționari drogaţi sau cu schemele estetice ale aşa-numiţilor filosofi ai noii drepte. În plus, o ultimă remarcă privind geopolitica şi eurasianismul: principalele mele surse de inspiraţie sunt englezeşti. Mă refer la atlasele istorice ale lui Colin McEvedy, cărţile lui Peter Hopkirk privind serviciul secret în Caucaz, în Asia Centrală, de-a lungul Drumului Mătăsii şi în Tibet, reflecţiile lui Sir Arnold Toynbee în cele 12 volume ale A Study of History.

Troy Southgate: Care este viziunea dumneavoastră asupra Statului? Este într-adevăr esenţial să avem un sistem sau o infrastructură ca instrumente de organizare socio-politică, sau credeţi că o formă descentralizată de tribalism şi identitate etnică reprezintă o soluţie mai bună?

Robert Steuckers: Întrebarea dumneavoastră necesită o carte întreagă pentru a i se răspunde corespunzător și complet. În primul rând, aş spune că este imposibil să ai o viziunea asupra Statului, pentru că sunt multe forme statale pe glob. Fac desigur distincția între un stat, care reprezintă un veritabil şi eficient instrument de promovare a voinţei poporului şi de asemenea protecție pentru propriii cetăţeni împotriva tuturor relelor, fie acestea instrumentate de inamici externi, interni sau naturali (calamităţi, inundaţii, foamete etc.).

Statul ar trebui de asemenea proiectat pentru o singură populaţie trăind pe un teritoriu propriu. Sunt critic, desigur, cu privire la toate acele state create artificial precum cele impuse drept aşa-numite modele universale. Astfel de state sunt simple mașini create pentru exploatarea sau distrugerea unei populaţii pentru o anumită oligarhie sau stăpâni externi. O organizare a popoarelor conform criteriilor etnice ar putea reprezenta o soluţie ideală, însă, din păcate, aşa cum ne demonstrează evenimentele din Balcani, declinul şi fluxul de populaţii în istoria Europei, Africii sau Asiei a răspândit adesea grupurile etnice dincolo de graniţele naturale sau le-au reținut în teritorii anterior controlate de alţii. În astfel de situaţii nu pot fi constituite state omogene. Acesta este izvorul multor tragedii, în special în Europa Centrală şi de Est. Prin urmare, singura perspectivă posibilă astăzi este concepția în termeni de Civilizaţii, aşa cum arată Samuel Huntington în faimoasele sale articole şi carte, The Clash of Civilizations, prima oară scrisă în 1993.

Troy Southgate: În 1986, aţi afirmat că “ a Treia Cale există în Europa la nivel teoretic. Ceea ce îi lipseşte este militanţii.” [“Europa: O Nouă Perspectivă” în The Scorpion, Issue #9, p.6] Situaţia se prezintă aceeaşi sau lucrurile s-au schimbat?

Robert Steuckers: Într-adevăr, situaţia este neschimbată. Sau chiar s-a degradat pentru că, avansând în vârstă, afirm că educaţia clasică este pe cale de dispariţie. Modul nostru de gândire este oarecum spenglerian, de vreme ce se referă la întreaga istorie a omenirii.

Guy Debord, liderul mișcării situaționiste franceze de la sfârşitul anilor `50 până în anii `80, a putut observa şi deplânge faptul că “societatea spectacolului” sau “societatea de scenă” are că principal scop distrugerea întregii gândiri şi a concepțiilor în termeni de istorie şi înlocuirea acestora cu scheme construite şi artificiale sau cu simple minciuni. Eradicarea perspectivelor istorice în minţile copiilor, studenţilor şi cetăţenilor, prin acțiunea dizolvantă a mass-mediei, este o mare manipulare, conducându-ne spre o lume orwelliană lipsită de memorie. Într-o astfel de situaţie, noi toţi riscăm izolarea. Nu există trupe noi de voluntari care să preia lupta.

Troy Southgate: În final, vorbiţi-ne despre implicarea dumneavoastră cu Synergies şi planurile dumneavoastră pe termen lung privind viitorul.

Robert Steuckers: “Synergies” a fost creat pentru a aduna oamenii, în special pe aceia care publică reviste, pentru a răspândi mai repede mesajele autorilor noştri. Însă cunoaşterea limbilor trece de asemenea printr-un eşec. Fiind poliglot, după cum bine ştiţi, am fost întotdeauna uimit de repetiţia aceloraşi argumente la nivelul naţional al fiecărui stat. Marc Lüdders de la Synergon-Germany este de aceeaşi părere cu mine. Este păcat că, spre exemplu, munca uriaşă depusă în Italia nu este cunoscută în Franţa sau Germania. Şi viceversa. Pe scurt: principala mea dorinţă este să văd un asemenea schimb de texte realizat într-o manieră rapidă în următorii 20 de ani.

Traducere: Ovidiu Preda

Sursa: https://neweuropeanconservative.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/interview-with-steuckers/

lundi, 12 octobre 2015

Carl Schmitt in China

Carl Schmitt in China

Schmitt by Muller Chinese trans

The ideas of Carl Schmitt (1888-1985), a man known as ‘the crown jurist of the Third Reich’, have enjoyed enormous currency among mainland Chinese scholars since the 2000s. The role of prominent academics such as Liu Xiaofeng 刘小枫, Gan Yang 甘阳 and Wang Shaoguang 王绍光 in promoting Schmitt’s ideas, and the fact that his theories on the state help legitimise one-party rule, have ensured that China’s ‘Schmittian’ discourse has been both fashionable and profitable (the usually heavy hand of the censors touches only ever so lightly on articles and books inspired by Schmitt).

Schmitt joined the German National Socialist, Nazi, party in 1933 when Adolf Hitler became Reichskanzler of the Third Reich and enthusiastically participated in the purge of Jews and Jewish influence from German public life. The anti-liberal and anti-Semitic Schmitt was a keen advocate of National Socialist rule and he sought to become the Third Reich’s official legal theorist. By late 1936, however, articles in the Schutzstaffel (SS) newspaper Das Schwarze Korps accused him of opportunism and Catholic recidivism. Despite the protection of Herman Göring, Schmitt’s more lofty ambitions were frustrated and thereafter he concentrated on teaching and writing.

Schmitt’s stark view of politics has attracted much criticism and debate in Euro-American scholarship. Thinkers on the left are ambivalent about his legacy, although despite the odeur of his Nazi past, he remains popular among theory-seeking academics. They see Schmitt’s ideas as deeply flawed while acknowledging his acuity and studying his writings for the insights they offer into the limitations of liberal politics, even as they impotently argue from the lofty sidelines of contemporary real-world governmentality.

In China, the reception of Schmitt’s ideas has been more straightforward; after all, even Adolf Hitler has enjoyed a measure of uncontested popularity in post-Mao China. Mainland scholars who seek to strengthen the one-party system have found in Schmitt’s writings useful arguments to bolster the role of the state, and that of the paramount leader (or Sino-demiurge), in maintaining national unity and order.

To date, Schmitt’s Chinese intellectual avatars have neglected a few key concepts in the meister’s oeuvre that could serve well the party-state’s ambitions under Big Daddy Xi Jinping. We think in particular of Schmitt’s views of Grossraum (‘Big Area’), or spheres of influence. Inspired by his understanding of the Monroe Doctrine propounded by the US in support of its uncontested hegemony in the ‘New World’, Schmitt’s Grossraum was to justify the German Reich’s European footprint and legalise its dominion. As China promotes its Community of Shared Destiny 命运共同体 in Asia and the Pacific (see our 2014 Yearbook on this theme), the concept of spheres of influence is enjoying a renewed purchase on the thinking of some international relations thinkers. See, for instance, the Australian scholar Michael Wesley’s unsettling analysis in Restless Continent: Wealth, Rivalry and Asia’s New Geopolitics (Black Ink, 2015).

During her time at the Australian Centre on China in the World in late 2013, the legal specialist Flora Sapio presented a seminar on the subject of Schmitt in China, and she kindly responded to our request to write a substantial essay on this important ‘statist’ trend in mainland intellectual culture for The China Story.

Flora Sapio is a visiting fellow at the Australian Centre on China in the World. Her research is focused on criminal justice and legal philosophy. She is the author of Sovereign Power and the Law in China (Brill, 2010); co-editor of The Politics of Law and Stability in China (Edward Elgar, 2014); and, Detention and its Reforms in China (forthcoming, Ashgate, 2016). — The Editors


We set up an ideal form [eidos],
which we take to be a goal [telos],
and we then act in such a way
as to make it become fact. [1]

The Schmittian intellectual likes to play Russian roulette but with an intriguing new twist: she believes that a single round has been placed in the revolver but she also knows this may not be the case. In fact, the only one who knows the truth is the Sovereign, a figure whose will the Schmittian cannot fathom. The Sovereign decides who plays the game and how many times. If the Schmittian turns downs this offer that can’t be refused, she would be declared an enemy and shot. Given how this intellectual predicament, masquerading as a position, commits one to always comply with the Diktat of the Sovereign, we must ask ourselves: why have several prominent Chinese intellectuals elected Herr Professor Carl Schmitt, Crown Jurist of the Third Reich, to be their intellectual patron saint?

Fulfilling a dream of wealth and power has been a feature of Chinese history and intellectual life since the late-nineteenth century. Chinese dreams, whether they be those dreamt up around the time of the 1919 May Fourth Movement, or the visions conjured up almost a century later by party-state-army leader Xi Jinping, involve a conviction that China is endowed with a distinctive national essence 国粹. The national essence is to China what the soul is to man. Just as (religious) man seeks to ascend to heaven by cultivating and purifying his soul, China can become wealthy and powerful if its national essence is enhanced and cleansed of polluting influences. The New Enlightenment Movement which emerged following the ideological thaw of the late 1970s saw traditionalism and feudalism being accused of holding China back. In the 1980s, Chinese intellectuals argued over how to revive the nation’s true nature, with many recommending an eclectic combination of Western values, theories and models in the process.[2] The Movement would witness a reversal of fortunes after the 1989 Beijing Massacre. Powerful nationalist sentiments followed in the 1990s, fuelled in part by the state and in part by a reaction to the inequalities of market reform, coupled with the public’s response to external events.

Telling Friend from Enemy 


Liu Xiaofeng

It is against this fast-changing backdrop that China’s Carl Schmitt fever must be situated. It would be wrong to see the ‘invisible hand’ of the State at work behind the fad.[3] The reception of Carl Schmitt by Chinese intellectuals, some of whom are key members of the New Left, was possible only because of the work undertaken by the influential scholar Liu Xiaofeng 刘小枫 (currently a professor at Renmin University in Beijing) to translate, comment on and promote Schmitt’s opera omnia. The holder of a theology doctorate from the University of Basel, Liu argued in his PhD thesis for Christianity to be separated from both its ‘Western’ and ecclesiastical dimensions, thereby allowing Christian thought to be treated purely as an object of academic research. Christian thought, so conceived, could thus be put in dialogue with other disciplines and contribute, among other things, to the modernisation of Chinese society. Liu related the development of Christianity to the development of nations and their identities, reflecting Max Weber’s argument in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, a book that was widely read in Chinese translation and highly influential in 1980s’ mainland intellectual circles.

Liu argued that in China Christianity took root in a unique way and was independent of missionary evangelisation. Liu’s sinicisation of Christian theology enabled the development of a Sino-Christian discourse in mainland intellectual circles focused on solving ‘Chinese problems’.[4] This was, and remains, a discourse that engages with such issues as economic development, social justice, social stability and most important of all, the political legitimacy of Communist Party rule.

Liu calls himself a ‘cultural Christian’, meaning a Christian without church affiliation: one who conducts research on theological arguments and concepts for the benefit of his nation. It is no surprise then that by understanding research in these terms, Liu soon developed a fervid interest in Carl Schmitt. To Carl Schmitt, the state has a theological origin — it must be conceived of as a divine-like entity if it is to hold back chaos and disorder so as to secure peace and prosperity. Schmitt’s thesis also implies that all modern political concepts originate in theology, which in turn makes theology amenable to being treated as a form of statecraft.[5] From the outset, Liu showed himself highly receptive to these Schmittian ideas. We must also note the ease with which the writings of Carl Schmitt succeeded in China. Unlike Chinese scholarship based on Western liberal-democratic models, which was and remains prone to censorship, Chinese aficionados of Schmitt’s ‘friend-enemy’ distinction and his critique of parliamentary democracy were unimpeded in their pursuits.

As a conservative Catholic, Schmitt understood politics (which he termed ‘the Political’, in an attempt to capture its essence) as based ultimately in the friend-enemy distinction. For Chinese intellectuals who had been brought up on Maoist rhetoric,[6] and were familiar with the adaptation of this dyad of friend-enemy 敌我 for post-Maoist political use,[7] Schmitt’s friend-enemy distinction had a powerful resonance. This was a distinction that could be used to name any pair of antagonists, as long as the attributes of the named antagonists could be demonstrated to be so thoroughly incommensurable as to make them want to destroy each other, in order for each to preserve its own identity.

The friend-enemy distinction was a central feature of Schmitt’s political and constitutional theory: it grounded his critique of parliamentary democracy as well as his ideas about ‘the state of exception’ and sovereignty. Liberal democracies, Schmitt held, were trapped in false political categories: they ignored the crucial distinction between friend and enemy and therefore exposed themselves to the risk of capture by the interests of wealthy individuals and factions, who would use the state for their own goals rather than for the greater good of the people. According to Schmitt, liberal polities pretended that the government and the people were subject to the demands of reliable legal norms but the pretence was shattered whenever an internal or external enemy threatened the nation and national security. Reliance on parliamentary debates and legal procedures, he argued, posed the risk of throwing a country into chaos because they hampered the adoption of an effective and immediate response.

Schmitt held that sovereignty resides not in the rule of law but in the person or the institution who, in a time of extreme crisis, has the authority to suspend the law in order to restore normality. The authority to declare a state of emergency or Ausnahmezustand thus has unquestioned legitimacy, regardless of whether it takes the form of an actual (written) constitution or an implicit (unwritten) one. Yet how can a sovereign power that exists above and outside the law enjoy any legitimacy? Wouldn’t such a power be self-referential and premised on sheer violence? According to Schmitt, the legitimacy of such a power can be defended if one delinks the concepts of liberalism and democracy. He held that the two were substantially distinct and set about redefining the latter.

Schmitt argued that a polity founded on the sways of popular opinion could hardly be legitimate. He appealed instead to ideas about equality and the will of the people.[8] For Schmitt, political equality meant a relationship of co-belonging between the ruler and the ruled. As long as both ruler and ruled were members of the same group, or ‘friends’ holding identical views about who the enemy was, a polity was democratic. Schmitt held that where the will of the people mirrored the sovereign’s decision, rule was, indeed, by the people. Such a popular will need not be formed or expressed in terms of universal suffrage: the demands made at a public rally were sufficient to convey a popular will at work.[9]

Schmitt’s eclectic definition of the popular will led him to conceive of democracy as a democratic dictatorship. This way of thinking was very attractive to intellectuals who favoured statist and nationalist solutions to political problems and issues of international relations.[10]

Schmitt by Liu Xiaofeng

Why Schmitt? 

The reasons for Chinese intellectuals’ fascination with Carl Schmitt are straightforward. The related concepts of ‘friend and enemy’, ‘state of exception’ and ‘decisionism’ are simple and usable. Policy advisors and policy-makers can easily apply these concepts in their analysis of situations. Schmitt’s vocabulary can also lend theoretical weight to the articulation of reform proposals, to serve as a source of inspiration or to furnish building blocks in the construction of pro-state arguments in political science and constitutionalism. Moreover, Schmitt’s friend-enemy distinction complements and provides justification for the many narratives of nationalism and cultural exceptionalism that have become influential in Chinese scholarship in recent years. These narratives are by no means unique to China but we must note that they are at odds with the universalist and internationalist aspects of Chinese Communism as state doctrine. The gist of the Chinese Schmittian argument is that the world is not politically homogeneous but a pluriverse where radically different political systems exist in mutual antagonism. China, accordingly, is not only entitled to but must find and defend its own path to power and prosperity.

The Chinese Schmittian argument justifies the party-state’s view that Western parliamentary democracy, thick versions of the rule of law, civil society, and the values and institutions of Western constitutionalism are all unsuitable for China. Schmitt’s argument allows those who hold this view to say that such ideas belong to an ‘alien’ liberal cosmopolitanism that is ultimately damaging for the Chinese way of life. In 2013, a state directive dubbed ‘Document 9’, outlined these ideas as posing a serious threat to China’s ‘ideological sphere.’[11]

Carl Schmitt’s views have now become influential in mainland Chinese scholarship and he is frequently quoted as a foreign authority in arguments mounted against ‘liberalism’ and Western or US-inspired models of economic and political development. But the fact that Schmitt’s philosophy premises politics on exclusion and even the physical elimination of the enemy (should such an elimination be deemed necessary to the achievement of an ideological goal), is something never raised in Chinese intellectual discourse. The friend-enemy distinction encourages a stark form of binary thinking. The category of friend, however substantively defined, can be conceived only by projecting its opposite. ‘Friend’ acquires meaning through knowing what ‘enemy’ means. The attributes used to define a ‘friend’ can, as Schmitt pointed out, be drawn from diverse sources. Religion, language, ethnicity, culture, social status, ideology, gender or indeed anything else can serve as the defining element of a given friend-enemy distinction.

The friend-enemy distinction is a public distinction: it refers to friendship and enmity between groups rather than between individuals. (Private admiration for a member of a hostile group is always possible). The markers of identity, however, are relatively fluid because a political community is formed via the common identification of a perceived threat.[13] In other words, it is through singling out ‘outsiders’ that the community becomes meaningful as an ‘in-group’. This Schmittian way of defining a ‘people’ elides the necessity of a legal framework. A ‘people’, as a political community in the Schmittian sense, is primarily concerned about whether a different political community (or individuals capable of being formed into a community) poses a threat to their way of life. For Schmitt, the friend-enemy distinction is a purely political distinction and to be treated as entirely separate from ethics.[14] Since the key concern is the survival of the ‘in-group’ as a ‘people’ and a political community, Schmitt’s argument implies that the elimination of a perceived enemy can be justified as a practical necessity.[15] Hence, those who call themselves Schmittian intellectuals should be aware that Schmitt’s argument is framed around necessity. So long as a there is a necessary cause to defend, any number of deaths can be justified.

Moreover, necessity is premised on antagonism. The friend-enemy distinction grounds every aspect of Schmitt’s thinking about politics and constitutionalism. But this is precisely why Schmittian concepts have inspired some of the most effective analyses of Chinese politics and constitutionalism. Schmitt’s view of sovereignty as requiring the ruler to have the freedom to intervene as necessary for the good of the whole country is of a piece with the ‘statist intellectual trend’ 国家主义思潮 in Chinese scholarship of which Wang Shan 王山 and Wang Xiaodong 王小东 were and remain key proponents.

This movement led to the development of an argument around the importance of ‘state capacity’. In an influential 2001 work, the political scientists Wang Shaoguang 王绍光 and Hu Angang 胡鞍钢 presented ‘state capacity’ as the key to good governance and policy. They argued against democratic decision-making processes by outlining their adverse consequences. According to them, such processes can involve lengthy discussions, leading to delays in policy implementation or even to political and institutional paralysis. They saw ‘the capacity on the part of the state to transform its preference into reality’ as crucial for protecting the nation’s well-being.[16] Since then, there have been many academic publications in mainland China that present ‘state capacity’ with its corollaries of social control and performance-based legitimacy as a viable alternative to parliamentary democracy.

Quotable and Useful Ideas


Wang Shaoguang

In a subsequent work provocatively titled Four Chapters on Democracy,[17] Wang Shaoguang pays implicit tribute to Carl Schmitt’s Four Chapters on the Concept Sovereignty. Like Schmitt, Wang rejects representative democracy on the pragmatic and utilitarian grounds that such a system is ultimately incapable of improving the welfare of the entire population. Echoing the Schmittian argument of parliamentarianism’s capture by interest groups, Wang argues that universal suffrage plays into the hands of those endowed with financial means, while reducing the have-nots to the role of passive spectators.

Wang also presents a Schmittian-inspired notion of ‘the people’ as the basis of a responsive democracy, arguing that countries with a strong assimilative capacity and steering capacity (that is, the people united under a strong leader) have a higher quality of democracy. Some of Wang’s vocabulary has come from democratic political theorist Robert Dahl, but it is Schmitt’s argument that underlies Wang’s explanations of responsive democracy and state effectiveness.[18]

The ‘state capacity’ argument advanced by Wang, Hu and others has enjoyed the attention of Western scholarship on contemporary China for a decade or more. It is frequently cited in academic publications about China’s economy, political economy and public administration.

In many of these published studies (in English and other European languages), ‘state capacity’ is treated as having afforded the Chinese government an effective means for accelerating China’s economic development. The evidence of China’s economic success, in turn, has also encouraged some academics to propose that an authoritarian government may be more efficient in delivering economic growth than a liberal-democratic one. It is baffling that among those who hold this view, some have also claimed to ‘support China’s transition to a more open society based on the rule of law and human rights’.[19] If by ‘more open’ they mean greater freedom of the liberal-democratic variety, then this goal is at odds with their argument that the Chinese Communist Party’s one-party system must be strengthened through a range of capacity-building initiatives.

Schmitt’s argument has also been very influential in mainland scholarship on constitutional theory. After Mao, the party-state needed — and to an extent still needs — a distinctively Chinese political ontology. This ontology — or way of conceptualizing and understanding the world — has to include a bipartite political system, in which an extensive party apparatus exists both inside and outside the law, wielding supreme power over the state. Furthermore, this party-state system has to be internally coherent: capable of self-perpetuation to enjoy legitimacy in the eyes of both the Chinese people and foreigners. Chinese legal academics such as Qiang Shigong 強世功, who view constitutionalism in these terms, began in the 2000s to defend their position by deploying the whole arsenal of Schmittian philosophy. The result was a trinity of concepts: ‘the state of exception’, ‘constituting and constituted power’ and ‘political representation by consensus’ (representing respectively the terms State, Movement and People as used by Schmitt in his 1933 work, Staat, Bewegung, Volk), which these academics hailed as the true essence of Chinese law.

When Schmitt is directly quoted, his influence is obvious. But there are scholars such as Cui Zhiyuan 崔之元 who have made tacit use of Schmitt in their theorising about governance and politics in China. Schmitt’s influence is evident in Cui’s understanding of China as a ‘mixed constitution’ involving ‘three political levels’.[20] Similarly, Chen Ruihong’s 陈瑞洪 notion of ‘virtuous unconstitutionality’;[21] Han Yuhai’s 韩毓海 doctrine of ‘constitutionalism in a proletarian state’;[22] Hu Angang’s 胡鞍钢 rebranding of the Politburo as a  ‘collective presidency’;[23] Qiang Shigong’s 强世功 model of ‘shared sovereignty under a party-state leader’,[24] are other prominent Schmittian-inspired arguments to have emerged in the last two decades. These theories belong to different areas of Chinese constitutional scholarship,[25] but they all recast the Schmittian sovereign in Chinese party-state garb. Specifically, each of these theories defends political representation by consensus, linking consensus to broad acceptance of the Diktat of the party-state. In one way or another, they also all present the ‘West’ and its political and legal institutions as unsuited for China.

To date, Western legal scholarship has properly examined neither these influential arguments nor their legal and political ramifications. But there are several scholars who have indicated the relevance of these arguments for China. For instance, Randall Pereenboom presents a useful account of the Chinese legal system as a pluriverse populated by different conceptions of the rule of law.[26] Michael Dowdle has argued, in sympathy with the New Left position, that liberal conceptions of constitutionalism are limited and that there is room for state power to be legitimated in other ways.[27] Larry Catà Backer has conceived the Party and the State as a unitary whole, a theoretical construct inspired by the reality of Chinese institutions, which allows for shuanggui 双规 detention on legal grounds.[28] These works can be read as putting the finger in the wound of some of our own contradictions. We may criticise the Chinese legal system from the purview of an idealised model of the Western legal system but at the same time we cannot avoid dealing with Chinese law as it is discussed and presented, and as it exists within the People’s Republic of China.

Several mainland intellectuals have pointed out that although Chinese Schmittians are fond of attacking the West, they don’t explain why they rely on a German political thinker to do so.[29] This criticism is useful, but it ignores how advocates of indigenous concepts and models, ‘Third Way’ proponents and Western-style liberals alike have yet to examine their uses of a logic that belongs more to Western metaphysics than to indigenous Chinese thought (Confucian or other forms of thinking derived from pre-Qin sources). This Western logic requires one to construct an ideal model of how a political system, a legal system, a society or truly any other entity should be, into which we then attempt to ‘fit’ reality, often without heeding the consequences of doing so.

At any rate, we can see that Schmittian concepts have become far more dominant than liberal ones in mainland legal scholarship. Political moderates such as He Baogang 何包钢[30] have sought to accommodate the arguments of both sides by proposing, for instance, that a constitutional court should have the power to decide on what constitutes a ‘state of exception’, on which the absolute authority of a Schmittian sovereignty is predicated. But such attempts at accommodation only reveal the weakness of the liberal position by comparison with the Schmittian one. Professor He reflects the quandary of those who seek to defend elements of a liberal democratic model (such as judicial independence) within an unaccommodating Schmittian friend-enemy paradigm.

Schmitt und Xi

Since Xi Jinping became China’s top leader in November 2012, the friend-enemy distinction so crucial to Carl Schmitt’s philosophy has found even wider applications in China, in both ‘Party theory’ and academic life. The selective revival of the Maoist rhetoric of struggle to launch a new mass line education campaign on 18 June 2013 is a good example of how the friend-enemy distinction has been adapted for present-day one-party rule.

To see the consequences of Schmittian reasoning, it is important that we consider the motivations behind Carl Schmitt’s privileging of the friend-enemy distinction and absolute sovereignty. Schmitt believed that he was theorising on behalf of the greater good. His philosophy can be rightly described as a political theology because it was inspired by the Biblical concept of kathechon [from the Greek τὸ κατέχον, ‘that what withholds’, or ὁ κατέχων, ‘the one who withholds’] — the power that restrains the advent of the Anti-Christ.[31] Schmitt transposed kathechon into a political register, defining it as the power that maintains the status quo.[32] This power can be exercised by an institution (such as the nation-state) or by the sovereign (whether as dictator or defender of the constitution). A logical consequence of Schmitt’s belief in the kathecon was the conflation of religious and political imagery. Forces which were against a given sovereignty were nothing less than evil enemies sowing the seeds of chaos and disorder. Accordingly, to protect one’s nation or sovereign was a sacred duty and the path to salvation.

We may fundamentally disagree with Chinese intellectuals who have opted to promote a Schmittian worldview. But if we are to defend intellectual pluralism, we must accept that people are free to choose their own point of view. In fact, the emergence of a Chinese Schmittian discourse in academic scholarship augments the current range of Schmittian-inspired arguments produced as much by scholars on the right as on the left in European and American settings.

We must also note that in China, as everywhere else, political differences of the left and right, or between the New Left and liberals, emerge out of and remain largely trapped in a common setting: what may be called a common political-theological paradigm, to use Schmitt’s vocabulary. Political differences are made meaningful in a common setting, out of which people receive and develop their mental schemes, their political vocabularies and the entire universe of concepts for thinking politics. The political-theological paradigm of one-party rule in the People’s Republic of China has ensured that Chinese intellectuals are bound to the mental schemes, vocabularies and concepts that this paradigm has allowed to be generated. What we must bear in mind is that Western ideas must also be accommodated into the paradigm.

Living in a country that has witnessed a rapid rise to economic wealth and global power over three decades, Schmittian intellectuals in today’s China have sought to marry a philosophy that emerged and developed in Germany from the 1920s to the 1940s with ideas about statehood that first became popular in China in the 1980s. This mix of Schmittian thinking and ‘statism’ has now become very influential in Chinese academic circles. But there doesn’t seem to be much concern about the destructive potential of Carl Schmitt’s philosophy.



* The author would like to thank the editors of The China Story, in particular Gloria Davies, for their intellectual and stylistic contributions to this study. Subheadings have been added by the editors.

[1] François Jullien, A Treatise on Efficacy: Between Western and Chinese Thinking, Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2004, p.1.

[2] On the New Enligthenment Movement, see Xu Jilin, ‘The Fate of an Enlightenment — Twenty Years in the Chinese Intellectual Sphere (1978–1998)’, Geremie R Barmé and Gloria Davies, trans, East Asian History, n.20 (2000): 169–186. More generally, and critically, see Zhang Xudong, ed., Whither China: Intellectual Politics in Contemporary China, Durham: Duke University Press, 2001, Part I.

[3] The study of European philosophy was not a priority of the Ninth Five Year Plan on Research in the Social Sciences and Philosophy 国家哲学社会科学研究九五规划重大课题, which covered the period from 1996 to 2000, and Liu Xiaofeng’s first publication on Carl Schmitt, a review of Renato Cristi’s book Carl Schmitt and Authoritarian Liberalism, dates to 1997. See Liu Xiaofeng 刘小枫, ‘Shimite gushide youpai jiangfa: quanwei ziyouzhyi?’ 施米特故事的右派讲法: 权威自由主义? , 28 September 2005, online at: http://www.aisixiang.com/data/8911.html. On the Ninth Five Year Plan, see Guojia Zhexue Shehui Kexue Yanjiu Jiuwu (1996–2000) Guihua Bangongshi 国家哲学社会科学研究九五 (1996–2000) 规划办公室, Guojia Zhexue Shehui Kexue Yanjiu Jiuwu (1996–2000) Guihua 国家哲学社会科学研究九五 (1996–2000) 规划, Beijing 北京: Xuexi chubanshe 学习出版社, 1997.

[4] Liu Xiaofeng 刘小枫, ‘Xiandai yujing zhongde hanyu jidu shenxue’ 现代语境中的汉语基督神学, 2 April 2010, online at: http://www.aisixiang.com/data/32790.html. On Sino-Christian theology, see also Yang Huiling and Daniel HN Yeung, eds, Sino-Christian Studies in China, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2006; Pan-chiu Lai and Jason Lam, eds, Sino-Christian Theology: A Theological Qua Cultural Movement in Contemporary China, Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2010; and, Alexander Chow, Theosis, Sino-Christian Theology and the Second Chinese Enlightenment: Heaven and Humanity in Unity, New York: Peter Lang, 2013. For a mainstream commentary on Chinese Schmittianism, see Mark Lilla, ‘Reading Strauss in Beijing’, The New Republic, 17 December 2010, online at: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/magazine/79747/reading-leo-strauss-in-beijing-china-marx

[5] Carl Schmitt, Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty, George Schwab, trans, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005 p.36.

[6] Mao Zedong, ‘On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People’, Selected Works of Chairman Mao Tsetung, Volume 5, edited by the Committee for Editing and Publishing the Works of Chairman Mao Tsetung, Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Beijing: Foreign Language Press, 1977, pp.348–421.

[7] For an exploration of its uses in the field of public security, see Michael Dutton, Policing Chinese Politics: A History, Durham: Duke University Press, 2005.

[8] Carl Schmitt, Dictatorship: From the origin of the modern concept of sovereignty to proletarian class struggle, Michael Hoelzl and Graham Ward, trans, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2014.

[9] Carl Schmitt, The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy, Ellen Kennedy, trans, Cambridge and London: MIT Press, 2000; and, Carl Schmitt, Constitutional Theory, Jeffrey Seitzer, trans, Durham: Duke University Press, 2008.

[10] On the statist and nationalist intellectual trend, see  Xu Jilin 许纪霖, ‘Jin shinianlai Zhongguo guojiazhuyi sichaozhi pipan’ 近十年来中国国家主义思潮之批判, 5 July 2011, online at: http://www.aisixiang.com/data/41945.html

[11] ‘Communiqué on the Current State of the Ideological Sphere. A Notice from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China’s General Office’, online at: http://www.chinafile.com/document-9-chinafile-translation.

[12] As, for instance, a relationship of agonism, where the Schmittian enemy becomes an adversary. In this context, see Chantal Mouffe, On the Political. London and New York: Routledge, 2005.

[13] Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political, George Schwab, trans, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007, p.38.

[14] Schmitt, The Concept of the Political, pp.25–27.

[15] Schmitt, The Concept of the Political, pp.46–48.

[16] By which Wang and Hu mean: ‘the ratio between the actual degree of intervention that the state is capable of realizing and the scope of intervention that the state hopes to achieve.’ See Wang Shaoguang and Hu Angang, The Chinese Economy in Crisis: State Capacity and Tax Reform, New York: ME Sharpe, 2001, p.190.

[17] Wang Shaoguang 王绍光, Minzhu sijiang 民主四讲, Beijing 北京: Sanlian shudian 三联书店, 2008.

[18] Wang Shaoguang, ‘The Problem of State Weakness’, Journal of Democracy 14.1 (2003): 36-42. By the same author, see ‘Democracy and State Effectiveness’, in Natalia Dinello and Vladimir Popov, eds,  Political Institutions and Development: failed expectations and renewal hopes, London: Edward Elgar, 2007, pp.140-167.

[19] ‘EU-China Human Rights Dialogue’, online at: http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/china/eu_china/political_relations/humain_rights_dialogue/index_en.htm

[20] Cui Zhiyuan 崔之元, ‘A Mixed Constitution and a Tri-level Analysis of Chinese Politics’ 混合宪法与对中国政治的三层分析, 25 March 2008, online at: http://www.aisixiang.com/data/18117.html

[21] Chen Ruihong 陈瑞洪, ‘A World Cup for Studies of Constitutional Law: a Dialogue between Political and Constitutional Scholars on Constitutional Power’ 宪法学的知识界碑 — 政治学者和宪法学者关于制宪权的对话, 5 October 2010, online at: http://www.aisixiang.com/data/36400.html; and, also Xianfa yu zhuquan  宪法与主权, Beijing 北京: Falü chubanshe 法律出版社, 2007.

[22] Han Yuhai 韩毓海, ‘The Constitution and the Proletarian State’ 宪政与无产阶级国家 online at: http://www.globalview.cn/ReadNews.asp?NewsID=34640.

[23] Hu Angang, China’s Collective Presidency, New York: Springer, 2014.

[24] Qiang Shigong 强世功, ‘The Unwritten Constitution in China’s Constitution’ 中国宪法中的不成文宪法, 19 June 2010, online at: http://www.aisixiang.com/data/related-34372.html.

[25] See also the special issue ‘The Basis for the Legitimacy of the Chinese Political System: Whence and Whither? Dialogues among Western and Chinese Scholars VII’, Modern China, vol.40, no.2 (March 2014).

[26] Randall Peerenboom, China’s Long March Towards the Rule of Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

[27] Michael Dowdle, ‘Constitutional Listening’, Chicago Kent Law Review, vol.88, issue 1, (2012-2013): 115–156.

[28] Larry Catá Backer and Keren Wang, ‘The Emerging Structures of Socialist Constitutionalism with Chinese Characteristics: Extra Judicial Detention (Laojiao and Shuanggui) and the Chinese Constitutional Order’, Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, vol.23, no.2 (2014): 251–341.

[29] Liu Yu 刘瑜, ‘Have you read your Schmitt today?’ 你今天施密特了吗?, Caijing, 30 August 2010, online at: http://blog.caijing.com.cn/expert_article-151338-10488.shtml option=com_content&view=article&id=189:2010-10-08-21-43-05&catid=29:works&Itemid=69&lang=en

[30] He Baogang 何包钢, ‘In Defence of Procedure: a liberal’s critique of Carl Schmitt’s theory of exception’ 保卫程序 一个自由主义者对卡尔施密特例外理论的批评, 26 December 2003,  online at: http://www.china-review.com/sao.asp?id=2559

[31] ‘Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in this time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who know letteth will tell, until he be taken out of the way’. See, The Bible: New Testament, 2 Thessalonians 2: 3-8.

[32] For a simple illustration, see Gopal Balakrishnan, The Enemy: An Intellectual Portrait of Carl Schmitt, London: Verso, 2002, Chapter 17. An overview of debates about the role of the katechon and a genealogy of the concept in Carl Schmitt’s political theology can be found in Julia Hell, ‘Katechon: Carl Schmitt’s Imperial Theology and the Ruins of the Future’, The Germanic Review, vol.84, issue 4, (2009): 283-325.


Charles Maurras & Action Franҫaise


Charles Maurras & Action Franҫaise

The following text is the transcript by V. S. of Jonathan Bowden’s last lecture, delivered at The London Forum on March 24, 2012. The original title was “Charles Maurras, Action Franҫaise, and the Cagoule,” but since he does not mention the Cagoule, I dropped it from the online version. I want to thank V. S. for transcribing a largely unlistenable audio track, and Michèle Renouf and Jez Turner for making the recording available. 

French Action was largely a newspaper, but it extended out into a political movement between the First and Second World Wars and to a certain extent the second decade of the 20th century just passed, so after the first of those two wars. What made Action Franҫaise so special was the theoretical and literary contribution of Charles Maurras.

Maurras was born in Provence. He was an intellectual who was drawn to a kind of revolutionary tradition in French life. France had always been characterized until the later 19th century by a significant quadrant of the population who rejected the logic of the French Revolution. The French Revolution, which lasted from 1789 until Napoleon’s essential conquest of military power in the French Republic in 1796 and his full dictatorship in 1799 thereafter to 1815, was a period of extraordinary and grotesque change the likes of which European civilization had not seen before. Considerable parts of France, like the Vendée and elsewhere, also fought against the revolutionary tyranny of that time. These were known as the Whites, or the counter-revolutionaries. This tradition of regretting the French Revolution was part of High Catholicism and part of the deep social conservatism of sections of the bourgeoisie that existed in France throughout the existence of the Third Republic.

The Third Republic was created after the collapse of France’s military honor in 1870 when the Prussians badly defeated France in the territorial war between two major European states. The emergence and unification of Prussia on the disemboweled and disinherited torso of modern France was something the French took very much to heart. Particularly in 1871, there was a communistic uprising in Paris known as the Commune which started in a particular period and which French troops put down in an extremely bloody and savage way with the sponsorship of German arms behind them in the rear.

Now, Maurras believed totally in what he called “integral nationalism” or nationalisme intégral. This is the idea that France came first in all things. Regarded as a “Germanophobe” for most of his life, Maurras escaped death after the Second World War during the period of purification when a large number of politicians, collaborators, Vichyites, revisionists, quasi-revisionists, independently minded Right-wing intellectuals, and many people who fought in the Middle East and were involved in some way or another with the Vichy regime were put to death or were hounded from the society. The trial that Maurras had at this particular time was truncated and was laughable in terms of French statute then or since.

The Resistance was very much enamored with the prospect of guillotining Maurras, seeing him as the spiritual father of Vichy. However, there was a degree to which this was an incorrect assessment, because de Gaulle had sat at Maurras’ feet during much of his early life. The interesting thing about Maurras is that he did not just influence the French radical Right, he influenced the entire French Right and he provided all of the families of the French Right, particularly those who looked to a more Orléanist monarchical replacement, those who looked to a Bourbon monarchical replacement (this is the Republic, of course), those who looked to a Napoleonic claim, and those that wanted a different type of Right-wing republic. All of these found in Maurras’ theories sustenance for the soul.

Maurras was released from prison into a hospital in the early 1950s and died soon after. He died in a degree of disgrace, and yet there’s also a degree to which that disgrace was not complete nor did it totally fill the sky. Maurras was removed from the Académie Française, the French Academy, which is the elixir of conservative and reactional and literalist and neo-classical standings in French intellectual life, yet he was reposed by somebody who was almost identical to him given the aged and conservative conspectus of the academy.

There is a degree to which Maurras identified four enemies of the French nation as he perceived them from early on in his political career and before the creation of the Action Française movement, which was an anti-democratic movement and which never took part in parliamentary elections. We shall come on to the view that politics was primary for Maurras, unlike spirituality and religion, in a moment.


Maurras believed that these four “anti-nations” within France were Protestants, Jews, Masons, and all foreigners living on French territory. He perceived all of France as essentially sacred and universal in expectancy and energy. He believed that the Third Republic was a rotten, bourgeois counterpace that needed to be ripped down and replaced by absolutist, legitimist, and monarchical tendencies. Unlike the post-war radical Right in France which has made peace with the Republic for reasons of electoral viability, such as the Front National for example which never even intimates that it would like to restore the monarchy if it was ever put anywhere near power, Maurras and his associates were obsessed with monarchical restoration. This gave their type of Rightism a deeply reactionary and deeply counter-revolutionary cast of thought, but it is important to realize that these things were significantly popular in large areas of French national life. Large areas of the unassimilated aristocracy, the upper middle class, most of the upper class, and even parts of the essentially middle bourgeoisie, retained a suspicion of the legacy of the French Revolution and wished to see the recomposition of France along monarchical lines. These policies even lasted well into the 20th century, even beyond the Second World War. Even into the 1960s a better part of 5% of the French nation rejected the logic of the French Revolution, which is a quite extraordinary number of people given the fact that the revolutionary inheritance had lasted so long and had been re-imposed upon the country after the revolutions, themselves abortive, in 1848.

Maurras believed that France needed a strong and social Catholicism in order to be viable. This is complicated given his own tendentious hold on religious belief. Maurras, though never an atheist, rejected the early, comforting Catholicism of his childhood youth and was an agnostic for most of his life. This did not prevent him from adopting a viewpoint which was fundamentalist in relation to Catholic rigor and in the belief of what would now be called traditionalist Catholicism since the Vatican II settlement of the early 1960s, which in Catholic terms began to liberalize the Church and adapted it to a modern, secular age inside of France and beyond its borders.

Maurras believed that spirituality was intensely important for a people and without it a people rotted and became as nothing. He therefore supported radical religion as a maximalizing social agenda whilst not believing in it himself. Indeed, he implicitly distrusted much of the Gospel message and found the Old Testament disastrous in its pharisaical illumination.

Maurras believed that Christianity was a useful tool that an elite would make use of in order to create a docile, happy, contented and organic society. This means that the papacy was deeply suspicious of Maurras despite the fact that politically he seemed to be a drummer boy for what they might have been perceived to want. This led to the prorogation of the Action Française movement by the Vatican at a particular time. I believe this occurred in the 1920s and was not rescinded until 1939 by which time Maurras had been elected to the Académie Française. The Vatican was concerned at the agnosticism from the top and the synthetic use of Catholicism as a masking agent and cloaking ideology for Right-wing politics inside France that it otherwise found quite a lot to support in. There were enormous numbers of clergy in the Action Française as a movement, and they were shocked and horrified by the removal of papal support which undercut support for the Action Française from key sectors of French life at a particular time.

Maurras believed in anti-Semitism as a core element of his ideology and beliefs. He believed that Jews should have no role in national life and no role whatsoever in the sort of France which he wished to see. Although they had not been responsible in any sort of way for much of the events of the French Revolution, he believed that their emancipation, as the emancipation had occurred in Germany, Britain, and elsewhere during the 19th century, had led to a collusion of interests which were detrimental to the sacred nature of France.

He was also strongly anti-Protestant and anti-Masonic and had a view of nationality which is regarded almost as simple-minded today. He basically thought that to command a status within the French nation you had to be French in word, in deed, and in prior cultural inheritance. It wasn’t any good to claim that you were French. You had to be French in terms of the self-limiting definitions of what it was to be national. This meant that there were radiating hierarchies within France as within other European societies inside modernity. This was the idea that some people were more French than others and this implicit elitism was always part and parcel of the nature of his movement.

It’s important to realize that there was an intellectual complexity about French Action which commands a considerable degree of respect, especially from a distance. French Action appealed to an enormous number of intellectuals across the spectrum even though it was sold by quasi-paramilitaries in the street. The youth wing and the radical wings of the Action Française movement were known as the Knights of the King, Camelots du Roi, and they sold these publications in the streets, often engaging in ferocious fights with Left-wing street gangs who attempted to crowd the same pitches, particularly in Montmartre in the center of Paris and the centers of other urban areas.

Maurras believed in action in the streets as a part of politics and disprivileged voting, which he thought was sterile, bourgeois, majoritarian, and anti-elitist. One wonders if there was ever a coherent structure to come to power in the Action Française movement and the only way in which this can be corralled with the historical evidence is to see the Action Française as a [inaudible] group for a particular type of restorationist, social conservatism, and Catholicism inside France.

If Maurras’ vision had been successful, you would have had a national France with an extremely strong and powerful monarchy and an extremely strong and powerful, even hermetic Catholic clergy at the heart of the nation. You would have had strong military and other institutions that ramify with other elements of this traditional French power as expressed in Bourbon restorationist and pre-revolutionary and post-revolutionary Romantic royalist France.

Maurras believed that to be happy people had to be content in the structures of their own livery and their own inheritance. The inheritance of the French nation was all-important, and this is why he collaborated with Third Republic politicians such as General Boulanger towards the end of the 19th century. He did this in order to undermine the nature of the liberal republic and lead to reforms and authoritarian constitutions within it which would have served his purpose. He supported a large range of bourgeois, radical, and liberal politicians at the time of the First World War, which he thought was a national surprise of glory and a chance for France to redeem herself on the battlefield against a traditional enemy, which he always perceived as Germany.

This is the area where Maurras is most disprivileged by contemporary nationalist thinkers across Europe and even beyond. His obsession with Germany and with Germany’s strength and his belief that France was belittled by any strength in Germany led him to support French arms in both the First World War 1914-1918 and the Second World War 1939-1945. Initially, he supported de Gaulle and de Gaulle’s use of tank warfare in the early stages of the Second World War. Of course, by the time de Gaulle became supreme commander of French forces, France would be decimated on the battlefield and there was nothing left to repair or even to defend. Guderian, who had read all of the theory which de Gaulle had based his own warfare predictions upon, had already trumped that particular card, and the Germans used British and French ideas about tank warfare to defeat both the British Expeditionary Force and the French army in France. Seizing with revolutionary energy the generational gap in the conduct of warfare, the Germans routed and humiliated the French, who had fought them to a standstill in the past in the Great War, in a matter of weeks, by maneuvering around the Maginot Line and by passing through the allegedly impassable Ardennes Forest to appear behind French lines with roving and energetic Panzer squadrons backed by Stuka bombers.


This catastrophe became a divine and a national surprise to Maurras. Maurras never actively collaborated although nearly all those in his circle would find themselves involved in the Vichy government at one time or another. Vichy began an institutionalization of a revolution from above and a national revolution within France largely permitted under German auspices, particularly in the early years before the radicalization and momentum building of what became the French Resistance under British artillery and the Gaullist movement in opposition and exile.

Maurras believed that the only true purpose of a Frenchman was to enhance the glory of France and all other was tackle and blither. He believed that during the German occupation it was best for French ideologues such as themselves to retreat to his family estate and live there in quietude even though many of his philosophical children collaborated openly with German arms both within and beyond Vichy. People like Laval and Déat with his neo-socialist movement and people like the founder of the French Popular Party, Doriot, the Parti Populaire Français (PPF) all collaborated in various degrees and were influenced by an attraction or repulsion to Maurras’ ideas in one form or another. He was truly the great old man of the French Right by this time.

After the war, the resistance sought to blame Maurras for much of the collaboration that had gone on, including the expulsion of some Jews from France, the international humiliation, as they perceived it, of French subjection to German arms, and the neo-colonial aspects within Europe of German policy in the French nation-state. It’s true to point out, however, that German military rule in France was surprisingly liberal and even benign in comparison to the full-on fury that could be exercised elsewhere in accordance with radical ideologies that had little to do with the calm, cultural intensity when Colonel Abetz met Robert Brasillach for coffee and croissants in a bar in Paris during the French occupation. There was intense collaboration between the young, former students of Maurras like Brasillach, who edited a fascist magazine called Je suis partout which means “I am everywhere,” and cultural Germans such as Abetz who were part and parcel of the German regime that had been installed over Vichy and to one side of it to allow Right-wing Frenchmen to run their own country albeit under German auspices. The relationship was probably somewhat similar to the relationship of American imperialism and its client states in the Third World such as Karzai’s regime in Afghanistan which controls Afghanistan though ultimately beholden to American power in that particular society.

Maurras wasn’t guillotined after the war because he significantly told at his trial, “Nobody hates the Germans more than me.” And this is what saved him from the guillotine, because the Resistance, although they were dying to guillotine him and would have given their eyes and teeth for it, because this gnarled, knotty Frenchman was irreducible on that point. So, they gave him life imprisonment instead which, as an old man, was effectively a death sentence in and of itself. When it was read out to him in the court, a steaming Maurras leapt from his seat and declared that, “It was the revenge of Dreyfus!” An otherwise obscure reference, which for those who are culturally knowledgeable about the entire extensive life of Maurras would have realized refers to the Dreyfus case at the end of the 19th century.

This is again an important disjunction between Maurras and much of the rest of the Right. Maurras was not concerned whether Dreyfus was guilty or not of passing secrets and engaging in espionage, of helping a foreign power, and so on. What he was concerned with is the dishonor done to the French judiciary if he was not found guilty and done to the French army and national state society if he was now to get away with this. This idea that an individual could be found guilty for connective and social-organic reasons irrespective of whether they were actually guilty of the offense one-to-one and in the customary nature of normal life is anathema to liberal ideas of the sovereignty of the individual that should be placed in a premium position in relation to all social actions.

Maurras was a fundamentalist anti-Dreyfusard and was part of a campaign spearheaded by elements of the revanchist Catholic Church and post-Boulanger elements in the French Republic to the extent that Dreyfus should be found guilty and executed if possible. For many like Maurras, the actual condemnation of Dreyfus which ensued and his being sent to Devil’s Island in the Caribbean was a minor punishment in comparison to the ingloriousness of the episode for France and what it told you about the conduct of the French national general staff at that time.

The Dreyfus case divided France between brother and brother, between father and children, between man and wife like no other case that had convulsed the nation in the course of its late 19th century/early 20th century development. It was truly one of those instances which define a generation. When Zola wrote J’accuse…! And accused the French police, army and courts of essentially fixing on an unfortunate man and blaming him for the sins of others and deporting him to Devil’s Island as a result of a false charge, he laid an explosive mound at the bottom of French national life which men like Maurras were determined to defuse.

Maurras believed that the English were always perfidious and were always against the divine France, although there were moments when he sought collaboration with English and British figures but always against the more dreaded bogey of Germany. It could be seen from a distance that Maurras’ nationalism has negative and anti-European features, although its simplicity and its purity about who belongs and who doesn’t belong is very clear and is easy to sustain. His views were not particularly racial beyond the fact that France was the leading light of world civilization and had to be treated as such. It was quite clear what he meant by who he was and who he was not, a Frenchman or a French woman, in the era in which he lived. You inherited genealogically what you were from the generations that had lived in the society prior to you and you were a Catholic and you were, to all intents and purposes, a reasonably pious one and you yearned for the return of the monarchy in France as against the secular republican institutions which replaced the monarchical structures of the Bourbon era after the Revolution and again after the Restoration which followed after the Revolution. You were not Protestant and you were not a Mason and you were not a Jew and you were not a foreigner and you were not of foreign mixture, namely of non-national French admixture. These things are quite clear and quite capacious in their reasonableness.


There’s a degree to which Maurras’ intense nationalism has fueled an enormous amount of the radical Right that exists in the south of Europe and the southeast of Europe and further in Central and Latin America where its ideas have been taken to heart by many Dominican, Costa Rican, Brazilian, and Argentinian nationalist writers and thinkers and academics. His thinking is also most crucial to the development of Catholic societies and, of course, he has little social interplay with the Anglo-Saxon world. Maurras seems to have little to say to Anglo-Saxony, though much to say to the integral nature of the nation which is always the defiant and unyielding France.

Where did Maurras get his opinions from? A strong bourgeois background and an affiliation with the French provinces led to an identification with the rural ideal of France as a place touched by the glory of God, even a deity that he didn’t subscribe to for much of his active life. Maurras believed that France had a new destiny amongst all of the nations on Earth not to bring people together, not to supervise people and not to be loyal to Swiss institutional ideas, as he dismissed the ideas of Rousseau, who was Swiss and strongly influenced by Calvinist and Protestant thinking which he blamed for the French Revolution.

Rousseau once declared in the first line of his social contract that in the prisons of the future men will have “Libertas,” “liberty,” stamped upon their chains. This uniquely Protestant idea whereby even the social organs of direction are there to free the individual from bondage. It’s a notable instant where in Louisiana, in the southern state of the United States, the steel batons that American police use for riot control have “liberty” inscribed upon the baton. This means that there’s the head of a rioter being broken by a riot policeman. You are being beaten over the head with freedom. You are being beaten into freedom! And this uniquely, sort of sado-masochistic and ultra-Protestant view whereby you are being punished in freedom, for freedom, by freedom is a uniquely American take upon the French Revolution. Indeed, handcuffs wielded by many American police forces have “freedom” written upon them. So, as you are handcuffed and beaten you are receiving both liberty and freedom. These are very important ideas which come from the French Revolution.

When you stand before a French court you have to prove your innocence. As everybody knows, the British idea, which transcends the Atlantic and is visible in the jurisprudence of the United States, is that you are innocent before the bar of the courts and you have various barristers there to defend your rights. In France, the opposite is true. In accordance with revolutionary jurisprudence, the state knows best. The state has divulged religiosity to itself. The state is the residual legatee of all ideas of liberty and dispassionate justice. You have to prove your innocence to the state, because if the state argues in a prior way for the possibility of your guilt you must be guilty of something or why else would the state dare to accuse you.

Maurras’ ideas come quite close to certain Anglo-Saxon ideas in his rejection of this idea of the martial, republican and even Protestant French republican state. This means that Maurras seeks help from German and English intellectual critics even as he is unmasking French intellectual culture for its support and tolerance of the French Revolution.

The French Revolution remains the most cardinal event in history as regards the modern history of France. The French Revolution characterized an enormous range of change in European society and in the lifestyle of European man. If you remember, the revolution had quite timid beginnings with the desire for bourgeois reformism and the integration of politicians like Mirabeau in 1789. It then morphed into a more legalistic liberal assembly with a legislative assembly in 1790-1791 which then became the much more revolutionary Convention in 1792-1794. This is the period associated with the Terror and the dominion of Maximilien Robespierre. Robespierre had his rival, Danton, who he sent successfully to the guillotine, but he only preceded him by a matter of a few months, was convulsed by the idea that he was imposing with revolutionary violence the implementation of justice upon France and that he’d been given the right to do so not by God but by a new-fangled Deist cult or religion called the Cult of the Supreme Being. This attempt is the height of the Revolution’s attempt to replace Catholicism with an atheistic cult, whereby reason was worshipped as a goddess and a naked virgin was placed in the [inaudible] with a liberty cap on the high altar in Notre Dame by French revolutionary Jacobins, deeply shocked the sensibility of Catholic France that it had never forgiven Paris for its revolutionary energies which were disliked by much of the rest of society.

For much of French history, Paris had always been the center of revolution even though the French revolutionary anthem, La Marseillaise, came from Marseille to Paris in order to save revolutionary Paris by adding fuel from the most revolutionary and violent part of the provinces who were then fighting against the Whites, or the counter-revolutionaries, as they came to be known.

Napoleon Bonaparte was an equivocal figure for Maurras. He liked the authoritarianism, he liked the glorification of France, but he also saw the extension of French imperialism under Bonaparte’s agency to be anti-French and to ultimately portend to national dishonor. This meant that there was if not a pacifist then a limit to national aggrandizement in Maurras scheme of things. If the nation was crucial to all social development, the nation had borders, and the nation had limits, and authoritarianism inevitably put constraints upon social action, which reminds people that Maurras remains a sort of radical or revolutionary conservative.

Regarded retrospectively as something of a French fascist, Maurras was never fascistic, although his conservativism contained strongly sublimated elements of fascism and quasi-fascism and certain beliefs in the corporate state and certain methodological axes which he would share with movements in Salazar’s Portugal, Mussolini’s Italy, and Franco’s Spain. All of these three regimes were endorsed by Maurras and by the Action Française. Hitler’s movement in Germany and its successful breakthrough there was in no sense endorsed. Indeed, he supported de Gaulle, and he supported mainstream Third Republican politicians who were anti-Hitler just as he supported Clemenceau in the First World War because he was anti-Kaiser.

The threat to France from Germany and the helplessness of France in the face of German military might were abiding themes for Maurras who saw the possibility of defeat on the battlefield as a moral and spiritual defeat for France, although like all quixotic and intuitive nationalists, Maurras believed that France could never be totally defeated. A political system had gone down under the Panzers, a political system had gone down under the Stuka bombers, but France itself was irrational and eternal and would always spring up again.


Initially, he supported the de Gaullist fight against the Germans. He immediately switched to Vichy and national liberation when he saw that much of what he wanted in policy terms could be instituted under German aegis. The fact that it was under German aegis caused him great psychic pain and wanton disregard. He therefore retreated to his own estates to cover the dichotomy of supporting Vichy at a distance without wishing to be seen to champion its German precursor.

Maurras lived in an era of tumultuous change and violent excess. None more so than the events of the 6th of February 1934. These events, unlike the Paris events of 1968 which have been emblazoned in world history and have counter-parts in Berkeley, California and the streets of Britain and the streets of West Germany as it then was and elsewhere throughout the Western world, have largely been forgotten and have been deliberately dropped down the memory hole, collectively and historically. Maurras, however, was deeply involved in the events of 1934 which were nothing more or less than an attempt to overthrow the French Third Republic by revolution from the Right-wing.

Riddled with scandal and approximating to extreme decay due to the economic lashings of depression from the United States and elsewhere who were beginning to humiliate the French exchequer, the radical Right decided to depose by going onto the streets the French Third Republic in early February 1934. This was awful rioting, and it was very serious and very destructive social rioting by about 100,000 demonstrators from all of the French combat action leagues that then existed in the country. These included the Action Française and the large veteran association from the First World War called Cross of Fire or Croix-de-Feu. It also involved large apolitical veterans’ organizations and smaller, more targeted Right-wing combat veterans’ leagues.

All of these movements marched on Paris and marched on the National Assembly and marched on the presidential buildings in an attempt to overthrow the Third Republic with violent revolutionary activism from the streets. It’s quite remarkable that these events have been excised from history to the degree that they have, particularly as they were to force catalytic change in French political life. Daladier’s regime, which was part of a Left front and Left coalition government collapsed and was replaced by the more general government of the Right.

One of the interesting examples of this period is the fact that, unlike today where the radical Right is shunted off to the side and all the areas of political thought including the moderate Right strive to have nothing to do with it whatsoever, in that era the radical Right infused the mainstream Right and even liberal, center Right elements of the Right were not immune to radical Right-wing ideas. This shows you that politics is about energy and about how you corral and contrast various forms of energy over time. There is no earthly reason why radical forms of opinion, as occurred in the 1960s the other way around on the Left, can’t influence more moderate, more statist, more staid, and more centric forms of opinion. It all depends upon the timing, the character of the men involved and the secondary forces which they can put into play. No one knew this better than Maurras who influenced these structured, highly controlled Right-wing mobs, which is what they essentially amounted to, in their assaults on French liberal bourgeois power at this time.

Sixteen died as a result of the rioting, and over 2,000 were injured, which is a large number of injuries to be sustained in endless fighting with French riot police and French police who turned out en masse to defend the Third Republic. Communists and socialists and trade unionists of the Left also mobilized large counter-demonstrations. Very much akin to events which occurred in Dublin in not too distant a period when there was a concertedly disconcerted attempt by the Civic Guard movement of Eoin O’Duffy to overthrow the post-IRA Fianna Fáil movement which then dominated the Irish Republic. It should be noticed that both societies had a penchant for political violence and for the rhetoric of extremism in the street and both were Roman Catholic societies unlike Britain, which existed of course halfway between these two polities.

The Right failed in both Ireland and France to replicate what had occurred in Portugal, Spain, and Italy, never mind Germany. However, the radical Right had an enormous transforming impact upon the entire Right wing which led a large element of the pre-collaborationist cabinet in the mid- to late-1930s to collaborate once the Vichy government was set up.

Vichy is always described as a regime by historians in an attempt to discredit it in relation to a proper government which is so described. Yet there is a degree to which the Vichy government had the support actively of at least a third of the French. De Gaulle, through a remarkable piece of political [inaudible] to make after the war, said that no one ever collaborated. This is after the purification, of course, which killed many thousands of those who were alleged to have done so. But the trick of saying that no one collaborated allowed the post-war generations to unite over the fact that there was a German occupation, no French collaboration except for a few purists and traitors and a Resistant movement activated from home and abroad. It was a clever and intellectual and ideological start to enable France to recover more quickly after the war and settle differences without being too hawkish or squeamish about it. But there is a degree to which it was a lie and a blatant untruth.

France bore quite a large price for its staunching of social peace after 1945. You have to remember that after 1945 there was no effective Right in France, because the whole of the Right had been allegedly discredited by collaboration. This meant that there was an enormous gap and only classic centrist, conservative movements fielded candidates against the center and Left in the immediate post-war elections.

De Gaulle, of course, was trying to capture the market for existing Right-wing opinion with his movement [inaudible]. De Gaulle had subliminally fascistic credentials for some of his policies and went back to yearnings for a hard man and a strong man to govern France with an iron hand. These go back to General Boulanger and back to the Bonapartism of the 19th century. De Gaulle’s movement with his endless personality cult and military drills and obsession with the cult of the leader certainly had strong fringe associations with the radical Right which he’d never the less repudiated and excoriated both in action and in print.

No internal warfare on the Right has been more striking than the one in France between the legacy of de Gaullist historical tradition and the legacy of collaboration. This again is to be seen in the Algerian War long after Maurras’ death in which the two wings of the French Right fight fanatically with each other. The government and the Civic Action Service movement and the Barbouzes fighting with the official French army against both the Algerian nationalists of the FNA and the ultra Right-wing Secret Army Organization or Organisation de l’armée secrete, which was formed by revolutionary members of the paratroopers and other French regiments firstly in Indo-China and then in Algeria to prevent the removal of Algeria from the French nation.

41e12-dpbWL.jpgFrance and Algeria, of course, were joined at the hip in accordance with the Napoleonic doctrine of Algérie française. In the end, the division had to occur, but at least a million French Algerians, who were totally French of course, pieds noirs, black feet, came back from North Africa to live in the south of France where they became the bedrock for the Front National vote in the deep south of the country in generations to come.

There is also a degree to which Maurras’ influence on the French Right is pervasive, and this is the influence of social Catholicism. At every large FN event there is a ferverous mass. For those not in the know, this is a traditionalist type of Catholicism that rejects Vatican II and settlements around it in the contemporary Catholic Church. It is essentially an old-fashioned, in Protestant terms, smells and bells mass whereby the priest turns hieratically to God and doesn’t look at the congregation and the congregation look at him, or look at his back, and he’s looking up because he’s looking up at that which is exalted and beyond him. This type of social Catholicism which exists in the FN on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, because if you don’t believe in it you don’t have to go along with it, it part and parcel of their appeal to all of those national constituencies which were not buried in 1945 and were not buried in 1789 and were not buried in 1815 but have continued to exist as a vital part of the French nation and of the French national whole.

Maurras’ belief in the integral France – organic, unified, militarized, Catholicized, and hierarchical – was never achieved during his lifetime, but his influence on the French Right-wing and on neo-Bourbon, legitimist, Orléanist, and Bonapartist tendencies of opinion was profound. His influence on French military thinking was also profound, although his influence on Catholicism became strained when Catholic humanists like Jacques Maritain, who had been close to the Action Française for a considerable period, moved away from it in the 1920s. The Papacy moved against Maurras and Action Française because of his doctrine of politics first. Maurras believed that if politics was put first all the other problems that beset France and lead to spiritual difficulties could be changed retrospectively.

However, there was a degree to which this put the cart before the horse. By making himself a declared agnostic and being relatively open about this fact, he played into the hands of certain radical Catholic traditionalists who didn’t like a mass movement that used Catholicism synthetically to cover over political differences of opinion inside France.

He was also guilty of the anti-legitimist claim put forward by many deeply conservative apolitical and asocial French Catholics. This was the view that they should have nothing to do with the bourgeois Third Republic and that they should remain French and Catholic forever irrespective of a wicked regime that could not be stopped from sinning in its own right. Maurras would have nothing to do with this and believed that politics first, second, and third was necessary for the redemption of France.

The idea of monarchical restoration and a return of the French monarchy was not a quaint political ideal as far as Maurras and his immediate supporters were concerned. They believed that only by repudiating the Republic, only by ripping out the accretions of what could be described as the French version of the Bolshevik regime, namely the latter day inheritance of the French republican, revolutionary tradition and all its structures, could the France that he wanted be brought about.

Although post-war forms of the radical Right-wing in France have had to make peace with republicanism in order to survive and contest democratic elections where they have had considerable support, more so than in most other Western European countries, there is a degree to which Maurras was quite technically direct in the issue of the French republican experiment and the mass terror that it induced between 1792 and 1794 which cast the shadow of a guillotine across French revolutionary rhetoric.

Most of the great Right-wing figures, such as Abel Bonnard, look back through Maurras to the great ultramontanist figure, Joseph de Maistre. Joseph de Maistre, who wrote in the late 18th century and earlier, is responsible for the doctrine of papal infallibility up to a point at least in terms of its theoretical mark when it was introduced quite late in the day in 1870 in recognition of extra-Catholic and intra-Catholic disputes.

Maurras was determined to see Catholicism revived within France and put at the heart of the French nation, and he did residually return to the Catholicism of his childhood near to his own deathbed. Whether this was just an insurance policy or was a genuine conversion to the faith with which he had always lingered is open for his biographers to contest.

Maurras was a peppery individual with a sort of reynardical moustache and trimmed beard. He was splenetic and outrageous in debate and commentary. He called for the assassination of many public figures from the editorial mouthpiece of his magazine for which he was given many suspended sentences. When a French politician argued that all of the Right-wing combat leagues should be disarmed in France because he saw the danger of the events of 1934, Maurras called for his assassination in print, which as the calling for an execution of a government minister he was jailed 8 months for his transgression.

Maurras was never afraid to speak his mind about any of the problems that beset France from the Dreyfus case through to the French armies in the First World War to the conduct of the Treaty of Versailles. He also wanted France to impose more rigorous and more judgmental and more harsh and caustic sanctions on Germany, long considered by most historians to be a disastrous maneuver. But there is nothing in relation to what it is to be French beyond which Charles Maurras would not go.

Maurras saw himself as the quiet leader of a counter-revolutionary force in French life that would lead to the institution of an integral nation and an integral nationality above sectional interests and above party interests, which he always despised. The interesting thing about his form of Frenchness is that everyone could have a role in it. All of the minorities which he effectively despised as foreigners, métèques, would actually always have a role within France. It’s just that role would be lesser proportional to who and what they are in relation to the role of the French. Ultimately, his vision was conservative. If you were more French than somebody else, you had more of a say and more of a role. If you were Catholic rather than Protestant or Jewish or something, you had more of a role in France. It is not to say the others would have no role, but they would have a severely restricted and reduced role in relation to those who would supervene over the goddess. The goddess was one of his private terms for France and for the French nation, which was always perceived as a feminine creation and identity by all of its proponents and detractors.

Charles Maurras is so French a figure that he is largely ignored in the Anglo-Saxon and Anglophone world because he’s seen to have little to teach to the rival Protestant, national, and imperial trajectories of these societies. This is arguably true. Maurras has to be seen and judged in French terms and in French terms alone.

Although he never succeeded in the most radical of his aims, part of the regime that existed under Vichy can be seen as the endorsement of many of his ideas although the resistance groups would pitch and the Allied invasion pulled back upon Vichy and led to the end of the collaboration. The irony of Maurras’ tradition and career is that the sort of France he wanted was brought about under the arms and vigilance of the nation he hated more than any other, namely the Germans. This is part of the irony of history, which would not be forgotten on somebody as literate and carefully minded as Charles Maurras.

One of the things that is most striking about Maurras is that the Action Française was read intellectually right across the spectrum. A young, homosexual Jewish author called Marcel Proust, who was later to write one of the most famous books in French literature called Remembrance of Things Past, used to literally run every Friday down to the Camelots du Roi paramilitaries who sold Action Française on the street in order to buy Action Française. When he was asked by a certain dumbfounded bohemian who had met his acquaintance why he did this, he said he did it because it was the most interesting paper in France. This is something which is key to an understanding of people like Maurras and the radical Right cultural tradition that they represented. They were admired by all sorts of people who didn’t share their opinions at all, and that was part of the elixir of their power and their cultural influence. This is why he was elected to the French Academy, the most august and antiquated of French cultural institutions.

508611258.jpgSo, I think it falls upon us, as largely non-French people, to look back upon this traditionalist philosopher of the French radical Right with a degree of quiet appraisal. Maurras was a figure who could be admired as somebody who fought for his own country to the last element of his own breath. He was also somebody who’s own cultural dynamics were complicated and ingenious. To give one cogent example, the Greek play Antigone deals with the prospect of the punishment of a woman by Creon because she wishes to honor the death sacrifice of her brother. This becomes a conflict between the state and those who would seek to supplant the state’s momentary laws by laws which are regarded as matriarchal or affirmative with the chthonian or the fundamental in human life. George Steiner once commented in a book looking at the different varieties of Antigone that most critics of the Left have always supported her against Creon and most socially Right-wing commentators like T. S. Eliot have always supported Creon against Antigone. And yet Maurras supported Antigone against Creon, because she wished to bury her brother for reasons which were ancestral and chthonian and came up from under the ground and were primeval and were blood-related and were therefore more important and more profound than the laws that men had put together with pieces of parchment and bits of writing on paper.

Charles Maurras: hero of France, national collaborator with excellence, we salute you over this time, we remember your contribution to the [inaudible] of a rival nationality!

Thank you very much!

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samedi, 10 octobre 2015

Mit welchen Aufträgen waren Friedrich Hielscher und Ernst Jünger nach 1933 unterwegs?


Mit welchen Aufträgen waren Friedrich Hielscher und Ernst Jünger nach 1933 unterwegs?

Rechtselitäre Schwarz-, Quer- und Geheimfröntler - Bereit gehalten für einen etwaigen Militärputsch?
Ex: http://studgenpol.blogspot.com

Hier auf dem Blog sind schon zwei Beiträge veröffentlicht worden zu dem Vordenker der heutigen christlichen Rechtskonservativen, bzw. der "Neuen Rechten" mit Namen Friedrich Hielscher (1902-1990), und zwar:

hielscher+I+L._SX308.jpgEin dritter Blogbeitrag zu diesem Vordenker aus dem Mai 2012 ist bislang nie veröffentlicht worden. Er soll hiermit veröffentlicht werden. Inzwischen ist auch eine neue Biographie über Friedrich Hielscher erschienen:
  • Lehner, Kurt M.: Friedrich Hielscher. Nationalrevolutionär, Widerständler, Heidenpriester. Schöningh Verlag, Paderborn 2015 (233 S.),
die vor knapp zwei Wochen auch in der rechtschristlichen Wochenzeitung "Junge Freiheit" besprochen worden ist:
  • Weißmann, Karlheinz: Eigentümlich eigenwillig. Der Nationalrevolutionär und Religionsphilosoph Friedrich Hielscher im biographischen Fokus. In: Junge Freiheit, 28. August 2015, S. 21
(Mit Dank an einen Hamburger Blogleser für die Zusendung dieser Buchbesprechung!) Karlheinz Weißmann lässt in dieser Buchbesprechung womöglich eine größere innere Distanzierung von diesem "Vordenker" erkennbar werden, als man das bislang von Autoren seines Schlages zu hören bekommen haben mag. (Aber das kann auch - nach beiderlei Richtungen hin - ein Irrtum sein. Man hält sich ja immer gerne alle Türen offen ...) Seine Rezension enthält jedenfalls mehrere Absätze, die als willkommene inhaltliche Ergänzung und Bestätigung der beiden genannten, hier schon erschienenen Blogbeiträge dienen können. Deshalb sollen diese Absätze angeführt werden. 1932, so schreibt Weißmann, habe Hielscher erkannt, 
dass das entscheidende Feld überhaupt nicht der Staat, sondern die Religion sei. In der Folge konzentrierte er sich auf die Schaffung eines Bundes, der in vielen Zügen Ähnlichkeit mit dem des verhassten Konkurrenten Stefan George hatte, aber in seinem Anspruch weit darüber hinaus ging.
Für diese Glaubensgemeinschaft erarbeitete Hielscher nun eine "Liturgie" (Hervorheb. nicht im Original):
So hat Hielscher zwar gegenüber Außenstehenden ein großes Geheimnis um seine Konzeption gemacht, konnte aber nicht verhindern, dass durch enttäuschte Anhänger bekannt wurde, in welchem Ausmaß er seine Verkündigung abänderte, von den germanischen Göttern zu den keltischen überging und schließlich bei einem Monotheismus landete, der sich auf irritierende Weise jüdischer Formeln bediente.
Grins. Irritierend kann das natürlich für Leser dieses Blogs keineswegs sein. Haben wir doch schon im oben genannten zweiten unserer Blogartikel anhand genauer Lektüre des Buches "Das Reich" dargelegt - was auch immer wieder in der Zeitschrift "Sezession" hindurchklingt (etwa in einem dort vor Jahren gebrachten Aufsatz des katholischen Philosophen Spaemann) -, dass der Bezug zum Judentum sowohl bei der Zeitschrift Sezession allgemein wie bei Friedrich Hielscher im Besonderen ein sehr "besonderer" immer schon war und gar nicht erst werden musste. Woraus sich fast zwanglos die Schlussfolgerung ergibt, dass dieser sehr besondere Bezug zum Judentum nur zuvor bei der Verehrung germanischer oder keltischer Götter verbrämt werden musste, um überhaupt in jenen religiös interessierten Kreisen, die sich vom (jüdischen) Christentum abgewandt hatten, Anklang finden zu können. Lauschen wir also dem gewiss keinesfalls besonders "irritierten" Karlheinz Weißmann weiter:
Dazu kam noch der dramatische Wechsel in Bezug auf die Lehre vom unfreien hin zum freien Willen, das Ganze weiter kombiniert mit einer Art rationalistischer Esoterik und schließlich noch bereichert um Vorstellungen der Freimaurerei.
Ach ja, und wenn man nun sagen würde, da wäre gar nichts durch Vorstellungen der Freimaurerei "bereichert" worden, sondern diese Vorstellungen bildeten immer schon den Kern jener Religiosität, auf die der gute Friedrich Hielscher hinaus wollte, der ja nach 1945 dann auch ganz offen Freimaurer geworden ist, so würde man sicherlich ganz und gar falsch liegen!! "Völkische" Freimaurerei jedenfalls, Orakelgesellschaften wie Thule-Orden, Bund der Guoten, Ariosophen und Vril-Gesellschaft. Die alle gar nichts anderes waren als Freimaurerei. Oder sagen wir besser, die Freimaurerei waren für - - - "Freimaurergegner". ;) (In der Geschichte des menschlichen Irrwahnes gibt es alles. - Alles.) Der, wie gesagt, keineswegs besonders irritierte Karlheinz Weißmann (der sich ja übrigens auch von einem Herrn Lucke in den letzten Monaten viel zu lange viel zu wenig "irritieren" ließ in der sicher klugen "Strategie", sich immer alle Türen offen zu lassen) schreibt weiter:
Niemand außer Hielscher wusste, welchen zahlenmäßigen Umfang die Gemeinschaft eigentlich hatte, und ein hierarchisches System von "Enkeln", "Söhnen", "Vätern" und "Großvätern" führte dazu, dass die jungen Frontoffiziere in Bezug auf die Bewertung des Kriegsverlaufs kein Wort mitzusprechen hatten, sondern sich stattdessen die Weisung ihres ungedienten Meisters und und Älteren ohne militärische Erfahrung demütig anhören mussten.
Weißmann meint, hier hätte Hielschers "Arkandisziplin absurde Formen" angenommen. Dreimal laut gelacht. Weißmann sollte kein Vorstellungsvermögen darüber besitzen, dass in Geheimgesellschaften eigentlich immer die Absurdität vorherrscht, dass "Ungediente" es besser wissen als das doofe Fußvolk, die "Frontschweine"? Wie lächerlich! Was man der Leserschaft der "Jungen Freiheit" alles so zu bieten wagt. Und wieder einmal besonders auffallend, wenn dann ein Jürgen Elsässer mit solchen Augenwischern sich so herrlich versteht ... Aber all das nur nebenbei.

Jedenfalls: Wie kommt uns das alles doch so bekannt - und keineswegs "absurd" - vor. Das allseits beliebte "Wissensgefälle" von Geheimdiensten und Geheimgesellschaften. Jeder soll nur das wissen, was er zur Erfüllung speziell seiner Aufgabe benötigt ... Und Herr Weißmann sollte sich in seinem Leben noch nie in Lebensbereichen bewegt haben, in denen Wissensgefälle vorherrscht? Wer's glaubt, wählt Lucke, möchte man mal hier ein wenig burschikos sagen. Am Ende von solchem Wissensgefälle haben wir jedenfalls dann immer solche Dinge wie: NSU und RAF, Terrorismus hier und Terrorismus dort, Regierungsumsturz hier und Regierungsumsturz dort, Krieg hier und Krieg dort, Flüchtlingswellen hier und Flüchtlingswellen dort, Gutmenschentum hier und Gutmenschentum dort, Dunkelmenschentum hier und Dunkelmenschentum dort. Und keiner war's gewesen. Keiner.

Das ist ja der springende Punkt. Sondern Bönhard, Tschäpe und Mundlos waren es. Oder Lee Harvey Oswald. Oder Siegfried Nonne. Oder das deutsche Volk. Oder Adolf Eichmann. Schuldige müssen natürlich - mitunter - genannt werden. Sonst wird die Unruhe zu groß. Sonst kämen ja auch noch Leute wie Werner Best - also Freunde Ernst Jüngers - vor Gericht. Na, das wollen wir ja dann doch verhindern!

Nachdem wir jedenfalls diese Absätze aus der Weißmann-Besprechung zitiert haben, können wir den Anlass nutzen, den genannten, bislang unveröffentlichten Blogbeitrag aus dem Jahr 2012 hier folgen zu lassen. Er beinhaltet eine Art Zusammenfassung von vielen disparaten, verteilten Bloginhalten aus früheren Jahren, sowie ihre gedankliche Weiterführung, indem auf das Wirken des elitären Salons Salinger ab dem Jahr 1927 hingewiesen wird.

Hielscher - Jünger -Schmitt - Die intellektuelle "Reservearmee" der Wallstreet, des Vatikans und asiatischer Geheimorden für den Fall eines erfolgreichen deutschen Militärputsches gegen Hitler und seinen Krieg?
Was die reale und faktische politische Bedeutung von Friedrich Hielscher und seines Kreises betrifft, muss man beachten, dass weite Kreise innerhalb Deutschlands und in den Führungsetagen der anderen Großmächte für das Jahr 1932 ziemlich sicher einen neuen Weltkrieg erwarteten. Bei kaum jemanden werden diese geradezu religiösen Erwartungen eines neuen Krieges, ja, sein Herbeisehnen so deutlich wie bei Friedrich Hielscher und der Bibel seines Freundeskreises, seiner "Kirche", nämlich in seinem Buch "Das Reich" aus dem Jahr 1931. 
Die Kreise, die mit dem Ausbruch dieses Krieges an die Macht zu kommen hofften und glaubten, waren eben jene "nationalrevolutionären" Kreise der "Neuen Nationalisten", die spätestens mit der Reichskanzlerschaft des Kurt von Schleicher und mit seinen Querfront-Konzepten ihre politischen Ideale hatten verwirklichen wollen.
Von der "Schwarzen Front" (1930) über die "Harzburger Front" (1931) und die "Querfront" (1932) zur "Geheimen Front" (1933/34)
Es waren dies - neben anderen - die Kreise rund um den "Deutschen Herrenklub" (dem unter anderem Franz von Papen angehörte) und mehr wohl noch rund um den "Tatkreis", der von Hans Zehrer geleitet wurde. Werner Best hinwiederum hat damals wohl eher dem Herrenklub nahe gestanden. Seine Freunde Friedrich Hielscher, Ernst Jünger und andere standen dem Tatkreis nahe. Man verteilte sich, um überall einsatzbereit zu sein, um überall die "Eisen im Feuer" zu haben. Es wird hier auch viele Überschneidungen gegeben haben. In beiden Kreisen glaubte man - wie Hitler und die Nationalsozialisten - mit einer neuen "Herrenschicht" "Das Reich" oder "Das Dritte Reich" oder "Das Dritte Reich und die Kommenden" (nämlich die östlichen Buddhisten) schaffen zu können.
Insbesondere glaubten die mehr intellektuellen Kreise um Salinger, Zehrer, Hielscher, Best (Alexander Rüstow, Carl Schmitt ...) die mehr als proletenhaft empfundene NSDAP am langen Arm von der Macht entfernt halten zu können, bzw. zugleich doch auch ihre Machtstellung ausnutzen zu können und sie nach und nach "einbinden" zu können für die eigenen elitären, totalitären, priesterdiktatorischen ("theokratischen"), ordensartigen Zwecke. (Die Organisation des Staates selbst "als Orden", als totalitäre "[Einheits-]Kirche" und Priesterhierarchie ist der hier vorherrschende faschistische Grundgedanke. Und dies ist auch der faschistische Grundgedanke des zeitgleichen Julius Evola in Italien.)
Als dann all diese Pläne für so viele so plötzlich und überraschend Ende Januar 1933 mit der Ernennung Adolf Hitlers zum Reichskanzler "zunächst" einmal fehlgeschlagen waren, machten sich viele weiterhin Hoffnungen auf eine "Geheime Front" (so der "Jungdeutsche Orden", der "Bund der Guten" unter Kurt Paehlke, die Strasser-Brüder und andere) (vgl. Franz Wegener / Weishaar und der Bund der Guten). Auch zu diesem Zweck schon war es gut, sich in Positionen im neuen Staat hinein zu schieben oder diese Positionen zu behalten und auszubauen.

Einige blieben auf der Strecke ...
Die länger vorbereiteten Morde des "Röhm-Putsches" vom 30. Juni 1934 scheinen genau gegen diese "Geheime Front" und damit zum Teil auch gegen die vormalige Schleicher-Strasser(-Röhm[?])'sche "Querfront"-Politik gerichtet gewesen zu sein, die die NSDAP also offenbar immer noch fürchtete und brutalst einzuschüchtern bestrebt gewesen ist. Auch die Querfront-Intellektuellen selbst wären im Falle ihrer Machtübernahme vor ähnlichen Maßnahmen nicht zurückgeschreckt (siehe die Hielscher-Bibel "Das Reich"). Weshalb diese Morde von dieser Seite auch nur "kalt" registriert, bzw. "kalt"-enthusiastisch gerechtfertigt wurden (Carl Schmitt), quasi als eines der vielen "notwendigen" "Stahlgewitter" des weitergehenden "Dreißigjährigen Krieges". Nur dass "Proleten" "Edle" mordeten, war für die nationalrevolutionären Herrenschicht-Kreise womöglich ein Problem. Nicht jedoch, dass sie überhaupt mordeten.
Nach dieser endgültigen Entmachtung der rechtselitären Nationalrevolutionäre und "Neuen Nationalisten" durch den "Röhm-Putsch" setzten Friedrich Hielscher, Ernst Jünger, Friedrich Wilhelm Heinz, Carl Schmitt und andere dann endgültig in der Weiterverfolgung ihrer Ziele auf die Unterwanderung von Partei und SS durch die eigenen Leute. Dabei waren sie nicht zimperlich. - Aber was wollten sie dabei? Was hatten sie mit der "Querfront"-Regierung unter von Schleicher denn gewollt?
Für Carl Schmitt endete die "Unterwanderung" schon im Oktober 1936. Werner Best wurde 1940 in Nebenpositionen abgedrängt, behielt aber nicht geringe Macht in Frankreich und Dänemark bis 1945. Friedrich Hielscher und zahlreiche Freunde hielten sich im Umfeld des "Ahnenerbes" und konnten sogar einen Schüddekkopf - und wohl zahlreiche andere - ins Reichssicherheitshauptamt schieben.
Aber eigentlich haben sie alle außen- und kriegspolitisch nichts anderes gewollt als die NSDAP, nur dass eben jetzt die "proletarischere" NSDAP - und nicht sie selbst (also die vorgeblich "Intelektuelleren", "Überlegeneren", "Abgehobeneren", "Konspirativeren"), am Ruder waren. Wenn sie also in der Folge das Dritte Reich unterwanderten und gerne auch - im Zusammenwirken mit den Geheimdiensten unter Canaris und Best - die Kriegsbemühungen zunächst (bis 1940) anfeuerten und dann (ab 1940) dosiert sabotierten, so nicht etwa deshalb, weil sie die Verwirklichung der als bürgerlich-spießerhaft empfundenen demokratischen, rechtsstaatlichen Prinzipien im Dritten Reich vermissten, beziehungsweise weil sie etwa - Spaß beiseite!: "bürgerlich-spießerhaft" - seine Mordmoral verurteilen würden. 
Nein, nein, keineswegs. Sondern schlicht weil sie insgesamt selbst nicht jene Macht in Besitz hatten, von der sie zumindest bis Ende 1932 fast sicher geglaubt hatten, dass diese ihnen zufallen würde und deshalb auch zukommen müsse. Schlicht deshalb, weil der oberste religiöse Führer Adolf Hitler hieß - und nicht Friedrich Hielscher (oder Kurt Paehlke). Dieses ganze Intrigenspiel wurde bis 1945 weitergespielt und nach 1945 dann als "Widerstand" verkauft. Einige blieben auf der Strecke (Gerhard von Tevenar 1943, Kurt Paehlke 1945, Albrecht Haushofer 1945, Wolfram von Sievers 1946 ...). Andere hievten sich nach 1945 in neue Machtpositionen: Friedrich Wilhelm Heinz als erster Geheimdienstchef Adenauers. Andere sollten noch lange nach 1945 von ihren Auftraggebern ans Messer geliefert werden (vermutlich): Rudolf Diehl etwa.
Umstürzlerische Tendenzen im "Salon Salinger" seit 1927?
Schon im "Salon Salinger", der etwa seit 1927 bestand, hatte die politische Polizei der Weimarer Republik gefährliche Umsturz-Tendenzen vermutet (a):
Der jüdischstämmige Hans Dieter Salinger, Beamter im Reichswirtschaftsministerium und Redakteur der „Industrie- und Handelszeitung“, versammelte hier einen bunt zusammengewürfelten Kreis um sich. Neben Hielscher sind hier Ernst von Salomon, Hans Zehrer, Albrecht Haushofer, Ernst Samhaber oder Franz Josef Furtwängler, die rechte Hand des Gewerkschaftsführers Leipart, zu nennen.
Der Bombenleger Ernst von Salomon wurde im Dezember 1927 nach nur "symbolischer" Haft aus dem Zuchthaus entlassen (1, S. 889):
Am Tage seiner Entlassung lernt er Friedrich Hielscher kennen, der ihn mit dem Wirtschaftsexperten Hans Dieter Salinger in Kontakt bringt. (...) Außerdem trifft er Hans Zehrer, Dr. Erwin Topf, Albrecht Haushofer, Ernst Samhaber und Franz Joseph Furtwängler. Alle zusammen bilden den "Salon Salinger".
Und darüber heißt es weiter (1, S. 893):
Es waren meistens Journalisten (Salinger, Zehrer, Topf) junge Wissenschaftler (Haushofer, Samhaber), Privatgelehrte vom Schlage Friedrich Hielschers und Gewerkschaftler wie Furtwängler. Die Tätigkeit dieses "Salons" war nichts anderes, als jeden Freitag bei Salinger zusammen zu kommen, um über die unterschiedlichsten Dinge zu debattieren. (...) Es war dieser "Salon" eben nicht ein Verschwörernest, wie die "politische" Polizei der Republik annahm, wo konkreter umstürzlerische Pläne geschmiedet wurden und mit Dynamit konkretisiert wurden.

Aber eben doch ...:

 ... Alles zusammengenommen eine politisch hochbrisante Gruppierung, die zu allem imstande schien.
Verneinende Bejahung nennt man das. Oder wie? Jedenfalls: Auch der Schriftsteller Alfred Bronnen, der trotz all seiner Bemühungen die proletarierhaften Nationalsozialisten nicht von seiner "arischen" Herkunft überzeugen konnte, tummelte sich in diesem Kreis (2, S. 423):
Das Phänomen Bronnen indes hatte eine große Anzahl von Freunden in Bogumils (= F. Hielschers) Wohnung gelockt. Hans Dieter Salinger, der mittlerweile auch den wirtschaftspolitischen Teil des "Vormarsch" betreute, saß seiner Gewohnheit gemäß mit untergeschlagenen Beinen auf dem Sofa, Hans Zehrer (...), Otto Strasser war in Begleitung von Herbert Blank (...) erschienen, (...) Samhaber war da, Friedrich Georg Jünger, der Bruder von Ernst, und natürlich eine Anzahl von Jünger-Jüngern, die zu Füßen des Meisters kauerten.
Man kann auch sagen, diese Kreise blieben auch nach 1934 "in Bereitstellung" für den Fall, dass - z.B. - ein eher unerwarteter aber dennoch nicht unmöglicher Militärputsch "nationalkonservative Intellektuelle" gebrauchen sollte. So weit kann man sicherlich gehen, wenn man ihre "Widerstands"-Tätigkeit definieren wollte. Ob ein Militärputsch gegen Hitler etwa im Jahr 1938 oder später - der ja immer vor allem der Kriegsvermeidung oder Kriegsbeendigung hätte dienen sollen (also der schlimmstmögliche Fall für das Weltbild eines Friedrich Hielscher und damit sicherlich auch eines Jünger) - mit solchen "nationalrevolutionären Intellektuellen" nicht auf geradestem Wege von "dem Regen in die Traufe" geführt worden wäre, steht deshalb noch lange dahin.

Bereitstellung für einen - unerwarteteren - Militärputsch
Vielleicht wurden diese Kreise auch nur deshalb als "Widerstand" in "kritischer Distanz" zum Regime gehalten, um im Falle eines Militärputsches unter anderem Gewand völlig identisch auf der Linie weitermachen zu können, auf der man bis dahin jeweils schon mit Hitler und Konsorten marschiert war. Oberstes Leitziel musste ja bleiben, dass der Dreißigjährige Krieg Hielschers und Churchills den "Untergang des Abendlandes" zu vollenden hätte. - "So oder so".
Nach 1945 konnten sich Jünger, Schmitt und Hielscher in der beruhigenden Sonne wärmen, dass es ja "zum Glück" insgesamt doch noch ohne ihr direktes Eingreifen so weit gekommen war, wie es sowieso hätte kommen sollen und müssen. Zumindest gemäß den ideologischen, gesellschaftlichen Selbstmordprogrammen, die sie in ihren Köpfen herumwälzten.

So konnten die Hielscher, Jünger, Best, Schmitt und Konsorten ihren Lebensabend verbringen, sei es beleidigt (Schmitt), "großsegnieurhaft" (Jünger), die SS-Vergangenheitsbewältigung dirigierend (Best), kleinkariert an "Kirche" bastelnd (Hielscher). Auf jeden Fall waren es langwieirig sich hinziehende Lebensabende, die noch heute ganze Heere von Schreiberlingen in der Aufarbeitung dieser Lebensabende auf Trab hält. Von der großen Bühne des Weltgeschehens waren sie abgetreten, sie wurden kaum noch gebraucht und gaben zu diesem dementsprechend mehr oder weniger nur noch ihre griesgrämlichen, nichtssagenden und verhüllenden Kommentare ab.
  1. Am Zehnhoff, H.W.: Der Fall Ernst von Salomon. Aktionen und Standortbestimmung eines preussischen Anarchisten in der Weimarer Republik. In: Revue belge de philologie et d'histoire, Année 1977, Volume 55, Numéro, 55-3, pp. 871-896
  2. Aspetsberger, Friedbert: Arnolt Bronnen. Biographie. Böhlau, Wien u. a. 1995 (Google Bücher)

vendredi, 09 octobre 2015

Ernst Jünger, Katholik


Ernst Jünger, Katholik

von Alexander Pschera

Ex: https://erstezone.wordpress.com

Ernst Jünger konvertierte kurz vor seinem Tod zur katholischen Kirche. Die Bücher seines Spätwerks weisen den Weg dahin. Sie lassen sich als eine Theologia in Nuce lesen. Allen voran der Essay Die Schere.

Als Ernst Jünger am 26. September 1996 zum katholischen Glauben konvertierte, zeigten sich viele Zeitgenossen überrascht – und zwar, weil man gerade von Jünger annahm, er habe die traditionelle Religion mit einer „neuen Theologie“ überwunden. Diese neue Theologie trat auf als ein mythologisches Denken großen Maßstabs. Jüngers mythischem Denken traute man zu, die Verwerfungen und Umbrüche der Moderne wenn nicht begrifflich, so doch zumindest bildhaft klären und an die ewigen Kräfte der Erde rückbinden zu können. Jünger galt als homo mythologicus, weniger als homo religiosus. Die Konversion schreckte daher auf. Sie erschien als Rückschritt, als eine Aufgabe desjenigen Postens, den Jünger nie verließ, als Abflachung eines plastischen Bilderuniversums. Warum dieser Regressus ad Romam?

Liselotte Jünger bekannte, ihr Mann habe den Wunsch geäußert, so beerdigt zu werden „wie alle hier“ – mit „hier“ ist die Dorfgemeinschaft des oberschwäbischen Wilflingen gemeint, in dem Jünger die zweite Hälfte seines Lebens verbrachte. Kaum einer der Exegeten gab sich mit solch einer Erklärung zufrieden. So wurde das Werk Jüngers auf katholische Spuren hin abgeklopft mit dem Ziel, die Konversion als den letzten Schritt eines Prozesses darzustellen. Bei dieser Suche nach religiösen Motiven wurde man fündig. Zwar enthalten die Bücher, die auf die Erfahrung des ersten Weltkriegs zurückgehen, allen voran die Stahlgewitter, höchstens para-religiöse Momente. Aber im zweiten Weltkrieg, so bezeugen es Jüngers Tagebücher Strahlungen, vollzieht sich eine Wendung hin zum Christentum. Diese Tagebücher belegen eine zweimalige Bibellektüre, eine Zuwendung zu den Kirchenvätern und zu Léon Bloy, den Jünger durch Carl Schmitt kennenlernte. Jüngers Schrift Der Friede, die in der Endphase des zweiten Weltkriegs im Kreis des Widerstands zirkulierte, beruft sich auf den 73. Psalm – der auch bei der Konversionsfeier eine Rolle spielte – und konstatiert, daß die „humanitäre“ Wandlung, die nach dem Krieg erforderlich ist, von einer „theologischen“ zu begleiten sei. Und auch im Alterswerk, vor allem in der Serie der Tagebücher Siebzig verweht, stößt man immer wieder auf Notate, die eine christliche Haltung bezeugen: Das Gebet „gibt dem Menschen, vor allem in unseren nördlichen Breiten, die einzige Pforte zur Wahrheit, zur letzten und rücksichtslosen Ehrlichkeit“ (Siebzig verweht II). Auch positiv besetzte Figuren wie der naturgelehrte und zum Martyrium bereite Pater Lampros vom Kloster Maria Lunaris aus dem Roman Die Marmorklippen (1939) wurden zitiert, um Jüngers Respekt vor der katholischen Welt zu unterstreichen – und sie wurden einer blassen Figur wie dem Superintendenten Quarisch aus dem Roman Die Zwille (1973) gegenüberstellt, um zu zeigen, wie weit sich Jünger von der entmythologisierten protestantischen Kirche seiner Zeit entfernt hatte. Kurz: Jüngers Konversion zum Katholizismus erschien vor dem Hintergrund seines vielschichtigen Lebensprogramms als logischer Schritt hin zu einer umfassenden, universellen Religion, ja es erschien als roter Faden, als sinnstiftende Einheit in der Vielfalt dieses Lebens.


Richtig ist, daß Jünger in den Jahren des zweiten Weltkrieges, die er in Paris und an der Ostfront erlebte, angesichts der Kriegsgräuel tatsächlich eine christliche Wende vollzog. Doch schon bald zeigte er auch ein reges Interesse an der Gnosis. In den fünfziger Jahren heißt es in einem Brief an seinen Sekretär Armin Mohler, daß der Autor sich „von theologischen Neigungen freihalten [müsse]. Sie sind Belege, Fundstellen für ihn“ (2.4.1959). In der Tat sammelt Jüngers Werk denn auch Belege für alle möglichen Formen der Transzendenz, ohne daß der Autor sein Denken einem religiösen System anvertraut. Griechische Mythologie, Buddhismus, Taoismus, pantheistische Strömungen, chassidische Lehren, orientalische Weisheiten, die Kirchenväter, immer wieder auch biblische, vor allem alttestamentarische Motive, aber auch literarische Quellen, die, wie Hölderlin, in den Rang von Mythenspendern erhoben werden, macht Jünger für die Interpretation unseres Weltzeitalters nutzbar. Dabei entwickelt er den Kampf zwischen den Titanen – Chiffre für die alles beherrschende Welt der Technik – und den zurückgezogenen Göttern als Leitmotiv. Gerade das Motiv des Rückzugs der Götter, ihre Abwesenheit, zeigt, wie Jünger sammelt und arbeitet. Dieses Motiv wird von ihm mit Léon Bloys vielzitierter –  aber nicht wörtlich nachgewiesener – Rede vom „zurückgezogenen Gott“ und auch mit Hölderlins Versen („Zwar leben die Götter / Aber über dem Haupt droben in anderer Welt“) parallelisiert. Ob „Gott“ oder „Götter“ ist dabei sekundär. Entscheidend ist der Rückzug der göttlichen Substanz. Dieser Rückzug der göttlichen Substanz hinterläßt ein mit sich selbst beschäftigtes, materialistisches und durchorganisiertes Diesseits, in dem nur noch der Mensch für sich selbst und für Ordnung unter seinesgleichen sorgt: „Inzwischen haben wir eine Station erreicht, in der auch die Physik Gleichnisse anbietet. Das hängt damit zusammen, daß sie in die Lücke eindringt, die der Rückzug der Götter hinterlassen hat“ (Die Schere, 18). Doch gibt es im mythologischen Bezugssystem Jüngers auch Hoffnung auf die Wiederkehr des Göttlichen, die sich vor allem in Gestalt der Mutter Erde konkretisiert.

Diese Form der mythologischen Belegentnahme ist eine Spielart postmodernen, postmythischen Denkens. Jünger wurde vor allem mit seinen Büchern An der Zeitmauer (1959) und Über die Linie (1950) zu einem Vorläufer dessen, was später als Diskurs der Postmoderne bekannt wurde. Wäre Jünger ein systematischer Denker, so hätten sich seine Mythenkollektionen zu einem widerspruchslosen System verhärtet. Doch zum Glück war Jünger kein Systematiker. Jüngers Reflexionen entspringen einem vorrationalen, vorbegrifflichen Bezirk. Seine Begriffe entwachsen einem bildlichen Ursprung und tragen bei aller Prägnanz die Mehrdeutigkeiten und Widersprüche des Metaphorischen in sich. Dies läßt sich am Begriff der Zeitmauer zeigen. Er meint nicht, daß vor der Mauer die Zeit und die Geschichte existierten und hinter ihr etwas anderes, aber eben nicht mehr „Zeit“ und „Geschichte“ in unserem jenseitigen Verständnis: „Man kann die Außenwand der Zeitmauer auch als Brunnenrand sehen. (…). Moos und Efeu, die oben am Brunnenrand wuchern, verbreiten sich im Kreise; der Fortschritt kehrt wie die Schlange, die sich in den Schwanz beißt, in sich zurück. In die Tiefe des Brunnens dringen Wurzeln, doch keine Blicke ein“ (Die Schere, 174).

Hier nähert man sich dem Katholischen in Jüngers späteren Werken an. Die Annäherung führt immer aus dem empirischen Bereich in einen anderen Bezirk, für den Jünger zahlreiche bildhafte Umschreibungen fand: „andere Seite“, „Welt, die außerhalb unserer Erfahrung liegt“, Ziel der Wanderung, Bezirk jenseits der Kerkerwand und des zerreißenden Vorhangs. Die Zeit, die „dort drüben“ gilt, nennt er „Schicksalszeit“ im Unterschied zur „meßbaren Zeit“ der Erfahrungswelt. Die Überwindung der meßbaren Zeit geschieht im „Zeitsprung“, das heißt in einem aus der Ordnung und aus der Meßbarkeit fallenden Vollzug. Nennungen der anderen Seite sind stets an Akte des Sehens gebunden. So faßt er die Hoffnung auf die Auferstehung als einen „Ausblick durch die Kerkerwand“ (Die Schere, 18), die prophetische Vorschau und das zweite Gesicht als ein „Spähen durch ein Schlüsselloch“ (35). Mitunter fällt der Blick auf bedeutsam Nebensächliches, auf „Nebendinge wie ein umgestoßenes Tintenfaß“, die eine Störung im Getriebe der Zeit sind und uns aufschrecken lassen. Die Welt der Erfahrung wird dann als ganze zu einem Verweis auf die Welt des Jenseits.

Jünger legt großen Wert auf die Unterscheidung zwischen dem unsichtbar Vorhandenen und dem überhaupt nicht Vorhandenen: „Wir unterscheiden (…) zwischen dem Sichtbaren, dem Unsichtbaren und dem Nicht-Vorhandenen“ (Die Schere, 49). Nicht alles, was unsichtbar ist, ist demnach nicht vorhanden. Gleichzeitig ist aber auch nicht alles, was unsichtbar ist, immer auch vorhanden. Doch wie läßt sich zwischen Wahrheit, daß heißt Vorhandenheit, und Unwahrheit, daß heißt Nicht-Vorhandenheit, unterscheiden? Diese Frage führt hinein in eine mystische Schau einer Wahrheit, die den „Göttern“ ursächlich vorgelagert ist und Gott meint. Der Weg leitet dabei von der „Annäherung“ als einer originär dichterischen und künstlerischen Aufgabe über verschiedene Zwischenstufen zur Epiphanie – wobei zugleich deutlich wird, daß Jünger den Dichter als privilegierten Seher in der Tradition des poeta vates interpretiert.

Die erste Stufe dieser Hierarchie des Erkennens bildet das „zweite Gesicht“. Jünger bezeichnet damit einen Zustand der Entrückung, der im alltäglichen Erleben angesiedelt ist und in dem zukünftiges Erleben erschaut wird, bei dem jedoch Erhabenes noch keine Rolle spielt. Die „Vorschau“ macht dann schon deutlicher, daß es sich bei diesen Wahrnehmungen nicht bloß um subjektive Fiktionen handelt: „In der Vorschau hat ein Zeitsprung stattgefunden; eine Vorhut wurde vorausgeschickt. Insofern wird in der Schau nicht Zukünftiges, sondern Vergangenes gesehen. Der Vorschauer hat die Gegenwart überholt. So kam es zur verblüffenden Identität des Geschauten und seiner Wiederholung in der Zeit“ (30). Die Vorschau – von Jünger dann auch als „Prognose“ bezeichnet –  ist eine „Vorbeurteilung von Entwicklungen“, die „sich auf Tatsachen“ stützt. Die Gewißheit, mit der eine solche Fakultät der Vorausschau als existierend angenommen wird, muß davon ausgehen, daß das Sein auf einem festen Fundament ruht. Es geht Jünger hier nicht um Determinismus, sondern um die Annahme einer vorgegebenen sinnhaften Ordnung, um einen der Schöpfung zugrundeliegenden Logos. Jünger faßt das auf seine Weise, wenn es in Auseinandersetzung mit Kant heißt: „Die Existenz der Dinge ist also vorgezeichnet, wie in einem Prägstock, dessen Figur, in Wachs gedrückt, mehr oder minder deutlich ‚erscheint’. Eben war es noch möglich, während es nun existiert (‚nun’ ist hier besser als ‚jetzt’). Wir dürfen daraus schließen, daß das ‚Hiersein’ nur eine der möglichen Qualitäten des ‚Daseins’ ist“ (85).

In Jüngers Theorie der „Vorschau“ wird also in der Privatsprache des mythologisch denkenden Mystikers ein poetisches Modell christlicher Seins-Gewißheit entwickelt, daß sich darin neutestamentarisch gibt, indem es sich von den Propheten des Alten Testaments deutlich abgrenzt. Denn im Unterschied zur Vorschau gründet sich die Prophetie „weniger auf Tatsachen als auf Eingebung und Erscheinungen“ (41). Der Wahrheitscharakter der Prognose beruht mithin auf ihrer Fundierung durch eine Wirklichkeit, eben durch den fleischgewordenen Logos, den die Propheten nur „prophezeien“ konnten. Erst dieser macht das möglich, was Jünger einen „Zeitsprung“ nennt (und zwar deswegen, weil diese Fleischwerdung Gottes selbst ein solcher „Zeitsprung“ war). Nun ist der Mensch frei, über das Mögliche, gleichwohl noch Unsichtbare, als etwas Wirklichem gedanklich zu verfügen und über dieses unsichtbar Mögliche als über etwas Vergangenes zu sprechen. Denn alles Mögliche muß von nun an verstanden werden als bereits bei Gott existierend und damit eben als unsichtbar vorhanden.

Es ist mehr als ein Deutungsansatz, wenn man Jüngers Theorie der Prognose strukturell als Beschreibung einer christlichen Seinsschau interpretiert. Denn in der Schere läßt Jünger die Reihe der Erkenntniszustände in der Epiphanie gipfeln. Als Zeuge tritt nun nur noch Paulus auf: „’Daher, König Agrippa, war ich der himmlischen Erscheinungen nicht ungläubig’. So Paulus – das war behutsam gesprochen, denn er stand vor Gericht. Er konnte sich auch auf Zeugen berufen, die mit ihm auf dem Weg nach Damaskus das Licht, ‚’heller denn der Sonne Glanz’, gesehen, wenngleich sie die Stimme nicht gehört hatten“ (146). In der Epiphanie gipfelt die Schau der anderen Seite insofern, als sie eine auf Erscheinungen des Göttlichen ausgerichtete Vorschau ist. Und indem Jünger in diesem Zusammenhang auf das Verhältnis von Epiphanie und Zeit zu sprechen kommt, hebt sich unvermutet und nur ganz kurz der Mythen-durchwebte Vorhang, der dem Jünger-Leser Bilder aller Zeiten und Räume vorgaukelt, um ihn an der Vielheit der Erscheinungen des Göttlichen teilhaben zu lassen, und gibt den Blick auf den Logos frei: „Die Schöpfung ist Zeit schaffend. Die Götter sind Zeit setzend, die Titanen Zeit kürzend und dehnend (…)“ (146). Am Ursprung der Zeit sieht Jünger also nicht die Götter, sondern Gott. Die Götter selbst sind, wie es an anderer Stelle heißt, eben auch nur „Gleichnisse“ und Bilder, die an das Unsichtbare heranführen. Sie sind historisch bedingte Erkenntnismuster der religiösen Vernunft. Die Schöpfung aber, die in ihrer wunderbaren Vielfalt Jüngers bevorzugten Zugang zum Ursprung des Seins darstellt, ist historisch nicht bedingt, sondern bedingend. Damit nun ist Gott gemeint.

Man muß darüber streiten, warum Jünger hier und anderer Stelle nicht von Gott spricht, wenn er ihn, was aus dem Kontext deutlich wird, meint. In seiner letzten Schrift Gestaltwandel heißt es hierzu: „’Gott’ genießt, auch wenn der Name nicht genannt wird oder die Sprache sich mehr oder minder überzeugend um ihn herumwindet, noch einen gewissen Respekt. Daß die Rechnung mit unserem Jetzt und Hier nicht aufgeht, wird instinktiv gefühlt und auf jeder geistigen Stufe erkannt. Entsprechend formt sich das Gebet“. Doch das ist keine Antwort. Die Stelle belegt nur, daß Jünger sich des eigenen „Herumwindens“ durchaus bewußt ist. Einen Schritt weiter geht Jünger, wenn er dieses Herumwinden auch bei Nietzsche festmacht und eine epochale Situation anruft: „Nietzsches ‚Gott ist tot’ kann nur bedeuten, daß der epochale Stand der Erkenntnis nicht genügt“ (Gestaltwandel). Ist es also tatsächlich die historische Erkenntnissituation des, wie es bei Jünger heißt, „Interims“, die es nicht zuläßt, von Gott zu reden? „Im Interim sind Götter selbst in der Dichtung unzeitgemäß; am besten wird ihr Name neutralisiert“ (ebd.). Jüngers Argumentation ist hier schwer zu folgen, schon allein deswegen, weil er fordert, die Namen der Götter zu neutralisieren, während sich, wie er selbst sagt, die Sprache um den Namen Gottes nur mühsam herumwinden kann. Wäre Jünger ein Systematiker, auf dessen Begriffe und terminologische Abgrenzungen Verlaß wäre, so könnte man in dieser Unterscheidung einen Hinweis auf die stärkere Seinskraft Gottes sehen, die durch Erkenntnis und Sprache gleichsam hindurchdrängt. Doch Jünger ist eben kein Denker, sondern ein Dichter. Daher bleibt auch diese Differenzierung dunkel.

théologie,catholicisme,ernst jünger,révolution conservatrice,littérature,littérature allemande,allemagne,lettres,lettres allemandes

Und deswegen bietet sich eine andere, weitergehende Hypothese an. Könnte es sein, daß Jünger die Klarheit des mit dem Namen Gottes verbundenen Logos meidet, der für alle nur denkbaren Bilder immer auch die Auflösung, den Schlüssel bereithält, und auf die „Schöpfung“ rekurriert, weil es ihm darum geht, seine dichterische Existenz, die in der Erschaffung von unaufgelösten Bildwelten besteht, zu schützen? Diese Vermutung gewinnt an Beweiskraft, wenn man betrachtet, welche Rolle dem Dichter angesichts der Gewißheit zukommt, daß es das unsichtbar Vorhandene als Mögliches gibt und daß der Mensch Gewißheit darüber hat. „Das Mögliche, besser noch das Vermögende, ist unbegreiflich; die Vorstellung ist von ihm wie durch eine Mauer getrennt. Es kann nur duch Dinge, die innerhalb der Erfahrung liegen, der Anschauung nähergebracht werden – also durch Gleichnisse“ (Die Schere, 86). Gleichnisse und Bilder sind Sichtbarmachungen des Unsichtbaren. Der Dichter ist es, der diese Bilder findet. „Wo Bilder fallen, müssen sie durch Bilder ersetzt werden, sonst droht Verlust“, heißt es zu Beginn der Schere (1). Bilder fallen immer dann, wenn Religionen, die Jünger als „mehr oder minder gelungene Kunstwerke“ (ebd.) betrachtet, untergehen. Genau dies ist im Zeitalter der Titanen geschehen. Die Bilderwelten der Religionen, die eine Ahnung des Transzendenten vermitteln, sind untergegangen – und daran hatte Luther keinen geringen Anteil („Es scheint, daß die Begegnungen schwächer werden, wenn man Linien wie Moses-Paulus-Luther bedenkt“, 77). Nur die Gleichnisse des Dichters können diesen Bildverlust ausgleichen, indem sie anstelle der Epiphanien und Begegnungen mit dem Überirdischen wenigstens poetisch an der Sichtbarmachung des Unsichtbaren arbeiten. Man gelangt in Jüngers Spätwerk also an einen Punkt, an dem sowohl die offene als auch die verdeckte Struktur der Texte eindeutig auf den Logos hinlenken. Genau an dieser Stelle jedoch weicht Jünger aus und in den Bereich der ästhetischen Präfiguration zurück. Was das für die Konversion des Menschen Jünger  bedeutet, wird (und soll auch) immer ein Geheimnis bleiben. Jüngers Texte jedenfalls haben jene Linie des 26. September 1996 nicht überschritten. Sie bleiben diesseits des Logos.

(zuerst in: Die Tagespost, September 2015)

jeudi, 08 octobre 2015

Coming Soon from Telos Press: Ernst Jünger’s Sturm


Coming Soon from Telos Press: Ernst Jünger’s Sturm

Coming on October 1st from Telos Press Publishing: Ernst Jünger’s Sturm. Pre-order your copy today, and we will ship it as soon as it is available.

by Ernst Jünger

Publication Date: October 1, 2015
Pre-order your copy today.

Translated by Alexis P. Walker
With an Introduction by David Pan

Set in 1916 in the days before the Somme offensive, Ernst Jünger’s Sturm provides a vivid portrait of the front-line experiences of four German infantry officers and their company. A highly cultivated man and an acute observer of his era, the eponymous Lieutenant Sturm entertains his friends during lulls in the action with readings from his literary sketches. The text’s forays into philosophical and social commentary address many of the themes of Jünger’s early work, such as the nature of war, death, heroism, the phenomenon of Rausch, and mass society.

Originally published in installments in the Hannoverscher Kurier in 1923, Sturm fell into obscurity until 1960, when it was re-discovered and subsequently re-published by Hans Peter des Coudres, a scholar of Jünger’s work. This translation—the first to be published in English—brings to the English-speaking world a work of literature of interest not only to students of Jünger’s work and of World War I, but to any reader in search of a powerful story of war and its effects on the lives of the men who endure it.

Praise for Ernst Jünger’s Sturm

“The rediscovery of Ernst Jünger’s Sturm, abandoned by its author after its first publication in 1923, significantly alters our understanding of Jünger’s place in modern European literature. The literary and aesthetic moments, frequently seen as secondary in Jünger’s early work, turn out to be constitutive from the very beginning. While the plot deals with the experience of war in 1916, Sturm‘s ultimate concern is the possibility of radical modern art under conditions of extreme violence.”
—Peter Uwe Hohendahl, Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of German Studies and Comparative Literature, Cornell University

“This translation of Sturm fills a long missing gap in the German war literature of the 1920s available to English readers. The translation by Alexis Walker is vibrant and precise while also reflecting the nuances and tone of the original German text. David Pan’s introduction sets the stage with a masterful overview of the context in which Sturm was written and pays particular attention to the debates since then on the aestheticization of the war experience.”
—Elliot Neaman, Professor of History, University of San Francisco

“An unblinking account of a culture in twilight, this novella recasts central themes of Ernst Jünger’s chronicles of the Great War: the unrelenting test of human perdurance under new technologies of annihilation; the naturalist’s precise aesthetic of life teeming amid martial insanity; and, a new note, the harrowing free fall of civilian life into erotic aimlessness and inebriated despair, for which only art serves for an antidote. In Alexis Walker’s carefully wrought translation, Sturm will be a welcome surprise to Jünger’s veteran readers, and an ideal introduction for those who are curious to know more than his name.”
—Thomas Nevin, author of Ernst Jünger and Germany: Into the Abyss, 1914–1945

“Had Stephen Crane’s Henry Fleming been born in 1895 Germany, his story might very well have read like the eponymous protagonist’s of Ernst Jünger’s Sturm. In a fascinating novella in turn meditative and wrenchingly physical, Jünger stages a drama of one man’s ideas about himself, as told through a narration conflicted about its own subject.”
—Alex Vernon, James and Emily Bost Odyssey Professor of English, Hendrix College

Sturm is a subtle novella about an intellectual in the trenches who sees the age of industrial-scale war as deeply dehumanizing, yet recognizes that this war has given him a sense of identity, and of community with others, that no peacetime experience could match. . . . Jünger is a remarkable writer. In this novella he comes across as a romantic with a loathing of modernity, especially as characterized by the overbearing state. The book is grim, and deeply pessimistic—but exceptionally interesting, and well worth reading.”
—George Simmers, Great War Fiction blog

About the Author

Ernst Jünger (1895–1998) was one of the most complex and controversial writers of twentieth-century Germany. Born in Heidelberg, he fought in the German Army during World War I, an experience that he would later recount in his gripping war memoir, Storm of Steel. Though Jünger would serve as a German officer during World War II, his 1939 novel On the Marble Cliffs daringly advanced an allegorical critique of Hitler’s regime. Over the course of his long literary career, Jünger would author more than fifty books, some of which are now available in English translation from Telos Press, including On Pain, The Adventurous Heart, The Forest Passage, and the brilliant dystopian novel Eumeswil.

Individualismo e Organicismo: il pensiero politico di Othmar Spann


Individualismo e Organicismo: il pensiero politico di Othmar Spann

Ex: http://www.azionetradizionale.com
In questi ultimi giorni abbiamo approfondito la figura di Carlo Costamagna, delineandone l’Idea di Stato ed individuandone i punti di contatto con quella di Julius Evola.
Riteniamo, allo stesso modo, interessante pubblicare il contributo di un nostro collaboratore su una figura poco approfondita della Rivoluzione Conservatrice tedesca, quella di Othmar Spann, propugnatore di quella che Evola chiamerebbe “la grande tradizione politica europea”.
Viennese, studiò filosofia e scienze politiche in gioventù, per diventare poi il maggior esponente dell’ “universalismo organicista” che fu punto di riferimento per quanti tentarono di indirizzare in senso corporativo i fascismi europei. Proprio perchè fautore dello Stato Organico e avverso al totalitarismo, con l’occupazione dell’Austria da parte delle truppe tedesche, Spann fu incarcerato. Tornato in libertà, si ritirò a vita privata sino alla morte, avvenuta nel 1950. 
Scrisse delle sue vicissitudini Evola: «Gli Austriaci non perdonano le sue simpatie per la Germania, mentre i Tedeschi non gli perdonano le critiche da lui mosse al materialismo razzista».
Quanto ai rapporti con Evola, Spann risulta essere uno dei collaboratori stranieri della nota pagina Il Diorama filosofico curata da Evola nel giornale cremonese Il Regime Fascista di Farinacci.
Lasciamo l’ultima parola ad Evola:«Un suolo assai fecondo era anche presentato da Vienna, dove spesso trascorsi l’inverno, e dove entrai in relazione con esponenti della Destra e dell’antica aristocrazia, inoltre col gruppo facente capo al filosofo Othmar Spann, agente sulla stessa linea.» (Il cammino del Cinabro, Schweiller, Milano, 1973, p.139)

Per comprendere al meglio le opere e l’apparato concettuale del Barone Julius Evola, per capirne i rivoli, ma soprattutto la base della sua idea di Stato e società, non si può fare a meno di studiare le opere di Othmar Spann, (Vienna 1 ottobre 1878 -  Neustift 8 luglio 1950).

spann5758233-M.jpgInfatti, all’interno dell’opera Der wahre Staat (1921), sono contenuti principi, spunti, riflessioni poi riprese può volte dallo stesso Evola in molti dei suoi lavori.

Grazie allo stile asciutto e al ricorrente uso della schematizzazione, l’opera appare fruibile e facilmente comprensibile, soprattutto nei suoi punti più delicati. Tra questi, un posto sicuramente rilevante è attribuibile all’analisi di Spann sull’individualismo e alla seguente dicotomia tra l’individualismo stesso e universalismo.

L’analisi del primo tema necessita, secondo Spann, di una preventiva indagine sulla società, dalla quale risalta come ci siano due possibili interpretazioni di questo concetto: la prima afferma che la società “è una mera giustapposizione di singoli (individui) concepiti in sé e per sé come esseri indipendenti e a sé stanti”, quindi un insieme di atomi scissi tra loro; la seconda rappresenta la società come “ un tutto le cui parti non sono propriamente autonome e indipendenti, ma in un certo qual modo soltanto organi di questo tutto”: la loro esistenza è legata al fatto che sono parti necessarie della totalità.

Risalta bene agli occhi la grande differenza tra queste due concezioni, l’una legata all’individualismo, l’altra all’organicismo.

L’ideologia individualistica ha radici profonde, già durante il Rinascimento si avvia la cosiddetta “scoperta dell’individuo”, locuzione alle cui spalle si cela “il distacco e la liberazione da tutti i vincoli medievali della Scolastica”. Umanesimo e Rinascimento, coadiuvati poi dalla Riforma, annientano il Medioevo, e successivamente spetterà al giusnaturalismo forgiare la struttura di un nuovo ordinamento rigorosamente individualistico dello Stato e della società.

In questo nefasto percorso si possono scorgere due fasi dunque: la prima, corrispondente alla distruzione dello spirito e dei vincoli corporativi del Medioevo. La seconda legata all’irruzione delle idee individualistiche in politica, avente come acme la rivoluzione francese. Si noti come le analogie tra Spann ed Evola siano palesi.

Il pensiero individualista, secondo l’autore austriaco, ha come punto cardine l’autosufficienza, l’autarchia “spirituale” e, come meta, “l’individuo assoluto”, colui che basta spiritualmente a se stesso.

In questo tipo d’uomo sono ricompresi:

1)     l’uomo dello stato di natura pensato da Hobbes, in cui ogni singola persona, anche dopo la stipulazione del famoso patto, rimane autosufficiente poiché lo Stato che ne risulta è una mera società di protezione.

2)     L’Eracle, che, attingendo solo a sé stesso, si “prefigge lo scopo di superare, con infinita tensione della volontà, tutto quanto gli si contrappone”.

3)     Prometeo, il quale crede di agire facendo leva sulla sua roccaforte interiore, priva di Dio alcuno.

4)     Il genio, “visto come entità che si realizza e produce liberamente, estraendo ogni cosa dal suo essere”; il titanismo di Beethoven ne è un esempio.

5)     Robinson, il quale è autonomo anche per le cose materiali. Egli vive in completa indipendenza, non necessita della società.

Ad una prima occhiata, in tale classificazione potrebbe entrare anche la figura dell’eremita, poiché vive separato dal resto del mondo. Egli però non è veramente solo, anzi, vive insieme con Dio. Dunque, “ non si può pertanto riconoscere l’eremita come singolo assoluto, né come figura puramente individualistica. Egli rappresenta solo un personaggio apparentemente individualistico”.

Se dunque il singolo è totalmente indipendente, la società non può che essere una mera somma di queste individualità.

Proprio per le caratteristiche intrinseche dell’individualismo, l’individuo assoluto non può avere una moralità di fronte agli altri, ma soltanto verso se stesso. Dunque: “ per l’individualista c’è si un’etica individuale, ma non esiste etica sociale, c’è una moralità individuale, ma non una (originaria) moralità sociale”.

Al contrario, esiste un contratto tra i componenti della società il cui fine è quello di garantire aiuti, nella più semplice logica utilitaristica, la quale permea le uniche norme di comportamento sociale esistenti.

Oltre ad individuare i vari tipi d’uomo che possono essere ricompresi all’interno del concetto di individuo assoluto, Spann differenzia tre forme di individualismo:

1)   Anarchismo: tale tipo è collegabile all’affermazione:  “ Per me nulla sta al di sopra di me”, logicamente spiegabile con la convinzione dell’individuo assoluto di bastare a se stesso, di essere “interiormente solo e tutto con me stesso”. In questo ambito, all’individuo assoluto spetta la libertà illimitata, l’assenza di autorità, ossia, appunto, l’anarchia.

2)   Il Machiavellismo: secondo Spann, il pensiero di Machiavelli si poggia su un utilizzo, da parte del più forte, della società volto a soggiogare il più debole, dunque un uso della libertà in funzione di dominare l’inferiore.

3)   Il Diritto Naturale o la teoria del contratto: secondo tale teoria, l’anarchia in cui vivono i singoli è eliminata attraverso la stipulazione di un contratto  “ col quale gli uomini si garantiscono vicendevolmente sicurezza e diritto alla proprietà, dando in tal modo origine a comunità fondate sulla reciproca assistenza”. Tale caso ha però due varianti: la prima include la possibilità che gli uomini cedano i propri poteri nelle mani di un capo, che acquisisce incondizionati diritti di sovranità, che devono servire a garantire i diritti naturali di coloro che hanno stipulato il patto ( è la forma dell’assolutismo illuminato ). La seconda variante è caratterizzata dalla delega, stabilita dai cittadini, dei loro stessi diritti e poteri, a dei mandatari, che gli eserciteranno in nome dei singoli individui. (è il caso della democrazia e del liberalismo).

Ogni individualismo ha inoltre alcuni principi politici che lo caratterizzano.

1)   La libertà del singolo: la libertà deriva dall’autosufficienza del singolo ed è caratterizzata da due forme: una negativa, collegabile alla costrizione, poiché “ogni legame del singolo è una catena, un ostacolo frapposto alla sua autodeterminazione spirituale”. L’unico limite a tale libertà è il rispetto dovuto al contratto. Una positiva, che tramuta la libertà nella essenziale  condizione di vita del singolo, dato che al massimo grado delle “condizioni spirituali” dell’esistenza si perviene attraverso l’autosufficienza, ossia la libertà.

2)    Il minimo dei compiti dello Stato: il principio della libertà del singolo necessita come corollario la “massima non ingerenza dello Stato”, ridotto essenzialmente ad una associazione protettiva.

3)   Il diritto come minimo di limitazione reciproca della libertà: questo principio politico non riguarda né l’anarchismo, in cui v’è solo “un arbitrario ordinamento cooperativo, che può essere infranto in ogni momento”; né il machiavellismo, in cui a decidere è sempre il più forte. Discorso diverso riguarda il giusnaturalismo, che ammette il diritto, ma come “limitazione della libertà dell’uno attraverso la libertà dell’altro”, come uno strumento capace di concedere il massimo grado di libertà al minimo costo in termini di libertà stessa.


Carlo Costamagna

Abbiamo detto dunque che una delle caratteristiche fondamentali dell’individualismo è proprio l’autosufficienza spirituale, la quale rivela “un orientamento morale a-metafisico” dell’individualismo”, causato dalla possibilità, per l’uomo, di ritirarsi in sé stesso.

Tale rifiuto della metafisica costituisce un importate attributo dell’individualismo, che si aggiunge alla tendenza utilitaristica insita in tale ideologia. Conformemente alla logica dell’utile, i valori morali non saranno validi aprioristicamente ed intrinsecamente, bensì lo saranno in quanto utili.

Da questo percorso si perviene ad una morale utilitaria, “buono si dimostra ciò che è utile”, ma anche ad un’etica relativistica, “il che vuol dire ch’essa può ben variare in conformità alle circostanze”.

Tale dottrina è al contempo empiristica, “vale a dire che la moralità è un risultato dell’esperienza, ossia dell’esperienza delle cose che si debbono considerare tanto utili quanto buone.

Infine, un ultimo carattere dell’individualismo è il cosmopolitismo. Infatti: “ Uguaglianza non significa soltanto uguaglianza entro i confini del proprio Stato, ma altresì “uguaglianza di tutto ciò che ha sembianze umane”. Così facendo tale ideologia porta a compimento due processi differenti: da un lato “rende tutti uguali, equiparando e atomizzando ogni cosa”; dall’altro crea tra uomo ed uomo un solco invalicabile.

Da tutta questa disamina risalta che il più grande errore dell’individualismo è, secondo l’autore, l’autosufficienza, che, se da un lato rende titanicamente grande il singolo, dall’altro diviene incredibilmente “povero e solitario”, creando altresì una forte confusione, dovuta alla pretesa impossibile di separare l’individuo dal mondo cosmico: “ Quando Eracle ha compiuto le sue imprese si pone la domanda: a che scopo è stato tutto ciò ? Nell’istante in cui ci si chiede questo, già si nega la propria autosufficienza e si cerca un ordine superiore il quale accolga in sé il mio, conferendo senso e valore alla mia dimensione. Con questa domanda il singolo s’inserisce nel tutto universale”.

samedi, 03 octobre 2015

Metapolitik und Parteipolitik

Thor v. Waldstein

Metapolitik und Parteipolitik

Am 13. und 14. Juni 2015 fand in Schnellroda der II. Staatspolitische Kongreß statt. Rechtsanwalt und Autor Dr. Dr. Thor v. Waldstein hielt den Festvortrag anläßlich des 15jährigen Bestehens des Instituts für Staatspolitik (IfS). Thema: die Frage nach der Trennung zwischen »Metapolitik und Parteipolitik«.

Weitere Informationen im Netz unter: http://staatspolitik.de

jeudi, 01 octobre 2015

Carlo Costamagna: un illustre sconosciuto del ‘900 da riscoprire


Carlo Costamagna: un illustre sconosciuto del ‘900 da riscoprire

In attesa della conferenza di sabato 3 Ottobre , presso la libreria di Raido, scopriamo la figura e il pensiero di Carlo Costamagna, tramite anche l’ausilio dell’ultimo  libro scritto da Rodolfo Sideri
L’Umanesimo nazionale di Carlo Costamagna

a cura della Redazione

Ex: http://www.azionetradizionale.com

In un’epoca di “democrazia liquida”, di sovranità limitata e quant’altro, parlare del pensiero politico di Carlo Costamagna significa entrare a gamba tesa sulle categorie moderne del politico. Ed è proprio questo il merito di Carlo Costamagna: oggettivizzare in forma giuridica e politica quella “rivolta contro il mondo moderno” che rischia, altrimenti, di essere un’inattuabile visione del mondo.

E’ questo, perciò, il merito dell’ultimo libro di Rodolfo Sideri – “L’Umanesimo nazionale di Carlo Costamagna”  che riscopre questo illustre sconosciuto del ‘900, e riporta alla luce pagine importantissime della sua troppo poco nota opera. Opera riedita in minima parte, ma comunque fondamentale e da conoscere.

Tutta l’opera di Costamagna parte da un quesito: avrebbe potuto, il Fascismo, sorto grazie agli irripetibile eventi della Prima Guerra Mondiale, superare le contingenze temporali che lo avevano informato per divenire dottrina a-temporale dello Stato? E’ per questo che Costamagna cerca di definire la “dottrina fascista dello Stato”. Infatti, non è di “scienza” bensì di “dottrina” che devesi parlare nei confronti dello Stato. Lo Stato non è mera organizzazione politica: è “ordine” che contiene la diseguaglianza intrinseca di chi lo compone. E’ “ordine” poichè fondato su di una visione superiore: non un contratto sociale, semmai, reciproca subordinazione ad una volontà superiore e formatrice.

“Fascismo” è per Costamagna perciò un movimento “restauratore” della vera Idea di Stato (e di Uomo). Per questo Costamagna si batte in seno al Fascismo cercando spazio e consenso alle sue idee. Idee radicali, forse troppo per un movimento rivoluzionario divenuto prima regime e poi, in alcuni casi, burocrazia statolatrica. Costamagna propugna idee che lo rendono antipatico a chi aveva fatto carriera col Fascismo: invoca la formazione di una élite che vada al comando, integralmente fascista; invoca la funzione temporanea dello stesso “duce”, subordinata all’affermazione del vero Stato, secondo il leitmotiv diffuso fra i fascisti più intrepidi: “Deve essere Mussolini a servire il Fascismo, e non il Fascismo servire Mussolini

Lo Stato è realtà a sè, non è un “fatto giuridico”. E’ realtà irriducibile. Ed in Costamagna la concezione dello Stato diventa tutt’uno con quella dell’uomo: perché a quell’uomo avente dimensione spirituale ed integrale non potrà che corrispondere uno stato analogo.

Costamagna afferma, di conseguenza, la superiorità dello Stato su tutto: nazione, popolo, diritto stesso. Lo Stato è autosufficiente, è principio generatore. Si oppone così alla visione contrattualistica che pone l’individuo, ed il razionalismo, a fondamento dello Stato. E’ la riaffermazione totale del principio virile ed aristocratico della politica. La grande politica, potremmo dire.

Costamagna si schiera contro l’illuminismo, il liberalismo ed il positivismo in genere. E va oltre. La sua acuta analisi lo porta a comprendere che è proprio nella frattura, già segnalata da Evola e Guenon, determinata dal razionalismo e poi proseguita con Umanesimo e Rinascimento, che stanno i motivi della decadenza attuale.

Le pagine di Costamagna sulla sovranità sono una anticipazione beffarda al triste destino delle nazioni europee post-1945. Il vero Stato o è sovrano o non è. E’ uno schiavo eunuco, lo stato senza vera sovranità.

La questione del “bene comune” invece – un vero e proprio mantra del liberalismo e dell’individualismo moderno – secondo Costamagna si può risolvere solo alla luce di un’esperienza e d’una visione spirituale. Dove, però, per bene comune si intende un bene “politico”, e non misurabile secondo i criteri edonistici della felicità o, peggio, quelli economicistici della ricchezza.

Non è questa la sede per affrontare la biografia politica di Costamagna, che meriterebbe dei capitoli a parte che neanche il libro di Sideri, nella sua economia complessiva, può affrontare se non di sfuggita. Molto ci sarebbe da dire in merito al capitolo del rapporto con Gentile ed Evola. Rispetto al primo, non possiamo che ribadire e sottoscrivere le posizioni di Costamagna contro quell’idealismo liberale di Gentile che nulla aveva a che realmente spartire con il Fascismo. Ricordiamo di sfuggita che solo per un limite del Fascismo, che non seppe o non volle essere coerente con le sue premesse rivoluzionarie, non si apportò nella cultura politica quella spinta radicale che invece uomini come Costamagna, ardentemente fascisti – della “prima ora”, a differenza di Gentile – invocavano a gran voce. Gentile dagli anni ‘30, cioè dopo il consolidamento istituzionale del Fascismo, non ebbe vita facile, bersagliato com’era dall’eterogeneo mondo degli anti-idealisti fascisti.

Quanto al rapporto con Evola, parlano abbastanza le collaborazioni alla rivista di Costamagna “Lo Stato”. Inoltre, un capitolo a parte, pressoché sconosciuto, meriterebbe il progetto che nel secondo dopoguerra avrebbe visto Evola, su incarico di Berlino, costituire delle “uova del drago” a Roma all’indomani della conquista alleata. A tale progetto Costamagna avrebbe partecipato attivamente ma, altro non è dato sapere.

Capitolo a parte, su cui si sofferma Sideri, è dedicato ai rapporti fra Costamagna e la Rivoluzione Conservatrice germanica (austriaca e tedesca), nei rapporti con Spann e Schmitt in particolare. L’economia dell’opera non ha consentito di approfondirli ma, pure, Sideri sottolinea alcuni aspetti di convergenza e di divergenza che ci fanno dire come Costamagna abbia superato (positivamente) alcuni limiti di entrambi i filoni. Anche sul grandissimo Carl Schmitt, Costamagna infatti segna il punto, soprattutto circa le differenti vedute in merito al cosiddetto Führerprinzip.

Non male per un illustre sconosciuto


samedi, 19 septembre 2015

Ernst Jünger: La guerre, fabrique de la bravoure


Ernst Jünger: La guerre, fabrique de la bravoure

par Hélie Destouches

Ex: http://www.lerougeetlenoir.org

« Élevés dans une ère de sécurité, nous avions tous la nostalgie de l’inhabituel, des grandspérils. La guerre nous avait saisis comme une ivresse. » [1]

Dès les premières lignes d’Orage d’acier, Ernst Jünger dépeint la léthargie dans laquelle sont nés, pour la jeunesse allemande de 1914, l’attrait irrésistible du front, la soif d’aventure, besoin physique de danger et de violence. Ils allaient connaître une violence inédite, celle de la guerre moderne, loin des rêveries d’épopées héroïques. Une violence déshumanisée. La guerre de position, le pilonnage continu de l’artillerie industrielle, la mort anonyme. Dans les récits de guerre qui fleurirent dès le lendemain des démobilisations, de 1918 jusqu’en 1920, il ressort une image uniforme du profond choc causé par le dépassement de tous les seuils de tolérance devant la brutalité ordinaire de la guerre de tranchées. Les bombardements, les assauts – brèves et mortelles montées à la surface – et l’entassement de cadavres sans sépulture, autant d’expériences qui égrainent un quotidien déjà saturé de violence.

Les traces physiques et morales portées par les hommes ont marqué leurs témoignages. Elles forment la trame qui sous-tend toute la littérature de guerre, de Roland Dorgelès à Erich Maria Remarque. Du grand dolorisme qui imprègne cette production, il est néanmoins une œuvre qui se détache radicalement.

Ernst Jünger, le guerrier et l’écrivain

Né en 1895 à Heidelberg, en plein apogée wilhelminien, Ernst Jünger manifeste dès sa jeunesse la fibre littéraire qui fera de lui l’écrivain de guerre de langue allemande le plus essentiel du XXe siècle. Son cheminement semblait, dès le début, tendre au mystique, exalté dans l’admiration pour les penseurs formalistes, empreint de l’héritage nietzschéen et du lyrisme de Hölderlin, naturellement enclins à l’apologie du guerrier. Il gravite notamment dans la proximité du George-Kreis, noyau informel de ce qui deviendra la frange aristocratique de la révolution conservatrice, et s’engage auprès des Wandervögel. En 1912, âgé de 17 ans, il revêt une première fois l’uniforme au sein de la légion d’Afrique. Engagement armé et inspiration littéraire s’entrecroisaient déjà, dans la quête d’une violence encore pure et brutale qu’il espérait trouver sur le continent noir.

Ernst Jünger décoré de la croix Pour le mérite


Lors de l’appel aux armes, en août 1914, Jünger fait partie des troupes volontaires. Il rejoint le 72e régiment de fusilier en Champagne. Dès lors, il ne quitta plus le front, et obtint plusieurs promotions dans les rangs de la l’armée impériale. Après s’être formé en tant que sous-officier, il obtiendra dans les dernières années du conflit le grade d’Oberleutnant à la tête de la 7e compagnie. La position d’officier subordonné, c’est-à-dire d’officier de tranchée, marque profondément l’expérience combattante de Jünger. C’est la position clef du combat rapproché, de la guerre vécue. En tant qu’Oberleutnant, il est la tête d’un corps combattant abandonné dans le no-man’s-land, coupé de l’arrière. Le modèle de courage, le chef qui doit entraîner ses hommes au combat ; « L’officier occupe sa place : dans toutes les circonstances, la plus proche de l’ennemi. » [2]. Son engagement de soldat puis d’officier lui vaudra quatorze blessures et la suprême décoration impériale de la croix Pour le mérite.

En 1920, alors qu’il sert encore dans l’armée de la République de Weimar, il publie l’opus majeur de son œuvre de guerre, Orages d’acier (In Stahlgewittern). Il est puisé par ses carnets de guerre, scrupuleusement rédigés au fil des affrontements et des périodes d’accalmie. Dans ce premier ouvrage, Jünger développe de manière inédite l’expérience du combat, exposant la relation brute et cinglante de l’individu avec la violence de guerre, à la fois comme figure littéraire fondamentale et comme objet central pour une conception de l’existence dans la modernité du monde. Orages d’acier forme le tronc d’une ramification composée d’un essai, La guerre comme expérience intérieure (Der Kampf als inneres Erlebnis – 1922) et d’ouvrages de moindre ampleur, qui s’ajoutent peu à peu dans les années suivantes à partir des carnets inexploités. Lieutenant Sturm (Sturm – 1923), Le boqueteau 125 (Das Wäldchen 125 – 1924) et Feu et sang (Feuer und Blut – 1925) donnent des points de focalisation détaillés sur des aspects particuliers du combat, variant l’approche et le traitement. Chez Jünger, la narration est souveraine, brutale, précise – une écriture qui ne tremble pas, même devant l’horreur – et c’est dans La guerre comme expérience intérieure que se déploie le véritable sens donné au combat, la mystique guerrière. Ses écrits se répondent et ne peuvent véritablement être dissociés les uns des autres.

La guerre au cœur de l’homme

La guerre que décrit Jünger n’est pas un phénomène volontaire, une contingence diplomatique, ou, suivant la formule de Clausewitz, de la politique poursuivie avec d’autres moyens. La guerre trouve sa cause première dans l’homme, dans sa nature archaïque. Elle ne commence pas avec une déclaration de guerre, elle ne se termine pas avec un traité de paix. La guerre est un état perpétuel qui, bien qu’il puisse être contenu sous le vernis de la culture policée, ressurgit immanquablement. « La guerre n’est pas instituée par l’homme, pas plus que l’instinct sexuel ; elle est loi de nature, c’est pourquoi nous ne pourrons jamais nous soustraire à son empire. Nous ne saurions la nier, sous peine d’être engloutis par elle. » [3]. Le profond besoin de violence guerrière, gravé dans la chair des hommes, s’étend comme un lien indéfectible entre le montagnard armé d’une massue et de pierres, et le soldat des tranchées sous la pluie de feu et d’acier. Lorsque la guerre éclate, qu’elle embrase tout, il ne reste qu’une alternative : se battre ou disparaître. Cela vaut pour les civilisations, cela vaut pour chaque individu ; « Le fort seul a son monde bien en poigne, au faible il glisse entre les doigts dans le chaos » [4].

Mais la violence combattante - la pulsion qui pousse irrésistiblement au combat - n’est pas une résurgence d’un bas instinct qui abîme les hommes dans la brutalité gratuite. Jünger la conçoit au contraire comme la marque d’une antique noblesse, qui relève l’humanité de son affaissement. « Nous avons vieilli, et comme les petits vieux nous aimons nos aises. C’est devenu un crime d’être davantage ou d’avoir plus que les autres. Dûment sevrés des fortes ivresses, nous avons pris en horreur toute puissance et virilité ; la masse et l’égalitaire, tels sont nos nouveaux dieux. » [5] Pour Jünger, la force combattante, la nature guerrière de l’homme, est ce qui permet à l’homme de s’élever au dessus de ses semblables et aux civilisations d’inverser le cours de leur décadence pour renouer avec la grandeur. Une forme particulière de volonté de puissance qui réveille le besoin du sacrifice, pour un idéal, pour Dieu, pour la gloire. Ainsi parle-t-il des combattants de choc dans les tranchées : « Cette seule idée qui convienne à des hommes : que la matière n’est rien et que l’esprit est tout, cette idée sur laquelle repose tout entière la grandeur humaine, ils l’exaspéraient jusqu’au paradoxe » [6]. Oublier le moi pour le je. Devenir acteur de sa pensée. Telle est en somme, dans la pensée de Jünger, la plus haute des vertus combattantes.

Il met en valeur un type d’homme particulier, qui s’est approprié une virilité guerrière parfaite, chez lequel l’idée du combat a définitivement triomphé sur le matériel : « La perfection dans ce sens – au point de vue du front –, un seul en présentait l’apparence : le lansquenet. En lui, les vagues de l’époque s’entrechoquaient sans dissonance aucune, la guerre était son élément, en lui de toute éternité » [7]. Le lansquenet, mercenaire combattant, soldat de métier et d’engagement, concrétise donc dans sa manière d’exister la coupure totale avec le monde civil installé. Comme le légionnaire des armées de la Rome antique, il vit de la guerre, dans la guerre, pour la guerre. Le sens guerrier coule dans son sang, il en a adopté tous les codes, et il s’est entièrement arraché à l’esprit bourgeois. Le lansquenet est en quelque sorte la quintessence de l’existence. En lui, le détachement est total ; il ne vit plus que par le danger. « Pour chacun, vivre veut dire autre chose, pour l’un le chant du coq au matin clair, pour l’autre l’étendue qui dort au midi, pour le troisième les lueurs qui passent dans les brumes du soir. Pour le lansquenet, c’est le nuage orageux qui couvre au loin la nuit, la tension qui règne au-dessus des abîmes. » [8]




La renaissance par le combat

Quel sens a cette représentation d’une violence de guerre stylisée, si on la rapporte au charnier de la Première Guerre Mondiale ? C’est ce qui se découvre dans les textes tirés des carnets de guerre. Le boqueteau 125, sous-titré Une chronique des combats de tranchée, contient le déroulement d’une séquence de combat qui tient lieu dans la dernière phase de la guerre, au début de l’été 1918, devant les ruines de Puisieux-au-Mont, près d’Arras. Jünger relate le stationnement de sa compagnie dans les tranchées bordant le boqueteau 125, une place intégrée aux lignes allemandes sur le front du nord, quotidiennement pilonnée par les forces anglaises. Le point central de l’ouvrage est l’offensive anglaise lancée contre cette position dont Jünger en commande la compagnie d’intervention. Celle-ci subit d’abord le tir d’anéantissement de l’artillerie britannique, puis l’offensive de l’infanterie.

Chargés de fatigue, dans un espace-temps désarticulé, sous la pluie des bombes, les éclats d’obus qui arrachent les membres, les soldats de la troupe de choc sont confrontés à toutes les conditions de la violence extrême qui caractérise la guerre de tranchées. L’assaut représente alors un moment clef. C’est le moment où on s’apprête à entrer en contact direct avec l’ennemi devenu invisible derrière les murs de glaise. Le moment où l’exposition aux tirs de shrapnel, des mitrailleuses, des grenades menacent le plus de sectionner le maigre fil de la vie. Au cœur de la nuit, la peur de la mort, l’horreur du spectacle macabre se propagent comme un virus. C’est dans ce contexte que Jünger voit surgir dans le visage de ces hommes cette marque des héros modernes : « Nous sommes cinquante hommes, guère plus, debout dans ce boyau, mais sélectionnés par des douzaines de combats et familiarisés par une longue expérience avec le maniement de toutes les armes. Si quelqu’un est capable d’y tenir sa place, c’est nous et nous pouvons dire que nous sommes prêts. Être prêt, où que ce soit, pour quelque tâche que ce soit, voilà ce qui fait l’homme » [9]. Réminiscence de l’idéal du lansquenet, celui qui a fait toutes les guerres, qui en est imprégné de part en part, Jünger affirme que ce n’est pas l’uniforme, l’alignement sur le champ d’honneur dans la brume de l’aube qui fait la beauté du guerrier. C’est au contraire la résistance aux conditions les plus déshumanisantes qui distingue l’esprit combattant. Ils ont des visages taillés comme des spectres, qui ne respirent plus que la bravoure.

C’est dans cette bravoure que Jünger identifie le grand renouveau de l’humanité : « Bravoure est le vent qui pousse aux côtes lointaines, la clef de tous les trésors, le marteau qui forge les grands empires, l’écu sans quoi nulle civilisation ne tient. Bravoure est la mise en jeu de sa propre personne jusqu’aux conséquences d’acier, l’élan de l’idée contre la matière, sans égard à ce qui peut s’en suivre. Bravoure est pour l’homme seul de se faire mettre en croix pour sa cause, bravoure est de professer encore et toujours, au dernier soubresaut nerveux, au dernier souffle qui s’éteint, l’idée qu’on a soutenue jusqu’à la mort. Le diable emporte les temps qui veulent nous ravir la bravoure et les hommes ! » [10]. C’est par elle que le soldat de tranchée est le frère du lansquenet. La profonde modernité que Jünger a vue dans ses égaux au combat, c’est cette audace ultime que confère la bravoure. La soif de gloire et de danger. L’audace des conquistadores et des ascètes du désert, qui ont forgé leur âme au feu de l’idéal. « Voilà l’humanité nouvelle, le soldat du génie d’assaut, l’élite de l’Europe centrale. Une race toute neuve, intelligente, forte, bourrée de volonté. Ce qui se découvre au combat, y paraît à la lumière, sera demain l’axe d’une vie au tournoiement sonore et toujours plus rapide. » [11]


Maintenir vive la bravoure

La guerre contemporaine n’est pas une guerre de samouraïs ou une guerre de chevaliers. Ni même une guerre de petits soldats. La bataille, ses unités de temps, de lieu et d’action ont été battues en brèche par la technologie de l’armement de pointe. On ne se bat plus sur le champ, ni même dans les tranchées pour mener le siège en rase campagne. La guerre moderne se mène de loin, derrière des écrans, ou bien au ras du sol, suivant les codes de la guérilla. Le vernis de civilisation imposé pendant des siècles à la violence par l’Occident s’écaille et tombe en poussière. Plus de consensus implicite qui porte les forces à l’affrontement décisif. On se bat dans les ruines, on tire dans le dos, on ne distingue plus guère civils et combattants. Ainsi se bat-on en Ukraine, au Proche-Orient. Ainsi se battait-on en Irlande du Nord, il y a quelques décennies encore. Ainsi se battra-t-on peut-être demain, au cœur des nations qui se sont inventé une paix éternelle. Car si l’on en croit Jünger, les fruits du pacifisme sont amers. « Une civilisation peut être aussi supérieure qu’elle veut – si le nerf viril se détend, ce n’est plus qu’un colosse aux pieds d’argile. Plus imposant l’édifice, plus effroyable sera la chute. » [12]

Ernst Jünger ne laisse pas, dans sa première œuvre, d’espoir à une paix durable qui soit de ce monde. Il l’exclut par nécessité, car le renouvellement passe par le perpétuel lien entre les hommes et la guerre. C’est au combat que se forge l’élite de l’humanité, celle des vrais hommes. « Polemos est le père de toutes choses », selon la formule d’Héraclite. Mais quelle inspiration un jeune homme du XXIe siècle peut-il bien tirer de ce qui peut apparaître comme un véritable culte du carnage ?

Le lyrisme d’Ernst Jünger au sujet de la guerre lui a valu d’être qualifié par certains critiques de poète de la cruauté. Pourtant, jamais un mot de haine pour l’ennemi. Au contraire. L’estime va au soldat d’en face, français ou anglais, bien plus qu’aux hommes de l’arrière qui entretiennent la propagande. Il ne s’agit pas de perpétrer des exactions, mais de monter à l’assaut. Cette quête de bravoure, d’où qu’elle vienne, est le trait prédominant de l’œuvre jungerienne. Il s’est affirmé au cours de la Grande Guerre, il s’accentuera encore dans les années trente, lorsque l’auteur prendra peu à peu conscience de l’écart croissant entre le national-socialisme et les espérances des penseurs de la révolution conservatrice. Le régime d’un idéologue populacier, déserté par la noblesse, avide de briser les individus au profit de la masse, lui inspirera le dégoût. La force de l’homme seul avec lui-même, l’exaltation de son existence au combat, quel que soit ce combat, c’est en cela que consiste l’essence de la pensée de Jünger, de son éthique. Elle ne repose dans rien d’autre que dans le dépassement de ses propres faiblesses, dans l’unité de l’esprit et du sang au profit du sacrifice. « Rien n’est mieux fait pour enflammer l’homme d’action que le pas de charge à travers les champs où voltige le manteau de la mort, l’adversaire en pointe de mire. » [13]

[1JÜNGER E., Orages d’acier, traduction par H. Plard, Paris, Le livre de Poche, 2002, p.6

[2JÜNGER E., Le boqueteau 125, traduction par Th. Lacaze, Paris, Payot, 1995, p.178

[3JÜNGER E., La guerre comme expérience intérieure, traduction par Fr. Poncet, Paris, Christian Bourgeois, 1997, p.75

[4Ibid., p.76

[5Ibid., P.95

[6Ibid., p.104

[7Ibid., p.97

[8Ibid., p.106

[9JÜNGER E., Le boqueteau 125, op. cit, p. 179

[10JÜNGER E., La guerre comme expérience intérieure, op. cit., p.87

[11Ibid., p.121

[12Ibid., p.76

[13Ibid., p.91

lundi, 07 septembre 2015

Standardbearers: British Roots of the New Right

The Search for a Usable Past

Standardbearers.jpgStandardbearers: British Roots of the New Right [2]
Edited by Jonathan Bowden, Eddy Butler, and Adrian Davies.
With a Foreword by Professor Anthony Flew
Beckenham, Kent: The Bloomsbury Forum, 1999

Somewhere between the “hug-a-hoodie” Toryism of David Cameron’s Conservatives, and those far-right parties considered beyond the pale, is believed to lie a broad “respectable” middle ground of British nationalist politics. Whether or not it really exists, contenders keep trying to fill it.

The most recent is Nigel Farage’s UKIP, which officially backs a program of ultra-Tory economic nationalism (anti-EU) but now finds that its main appeal is really to regional anti-immigration Labour voters.[1]  Sir Oswald Mosley tried to strike a middle way with his Union Movement in the 1950s and ’60s, but that venture was doomed (of course) because Mosley means not-mainstream.

The Monday Club in the Conservative Party seemed to fill the gap well for a good long while in the 1960s-’80s: it opposed Kenyan independence, supported Rhodesia, opposed nonwhite immigration, and generally took a staunchly nationalist, anti-Left stance on the things that mattered. However, the experience of Thatcherism and Political Correctness in the ’80s and ’90s pushed the Monday faction into a kind of dotty irrelevance (“I really cannot bear the Monday Club. They are all mad . . .” wrote Alan Clark in his diary)[2], until the Party finally cut ties to the Monday Club in a “purge of rightwing extremists.”[3][4]

enochpowell1-242x300.jpgThe volume at hand, Standardbearers, seems to have been assembled in the late 1990s to help forge a new middle-way Rightism. It was the early Tony Blair years. The Conservatives were in the wilderness, in thrall to Political Correctness, and the respectable Right had lost its way. Tony Blair had a way of dismissing his opponents’ arguments by describing them as “the past.” As Antony Flew describes in the Foreword:

[A]t the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Edinburgh in 1997 everything traditionally Scottish was out. No Scottish regiment marched up the Royal Mile with its band playing. Instead the visiting ministers were shown a video announcing: “There is a new British identity,” and displaying pop stars and fashion designers.[5]

Picture: Enoch Powell

This corrective to national amnesia and Cool Britannia is not a collection of political tracts. It doesn’t assail broad issues of race and culture, or ride obscurantist hobbyhorses about IQ standard-deviations or Austrian Economics, or explain how Free Markets are the backbone of a Free Society. It has no specific axe to grind. It is merely an old-fashioned collection of profiles of eminent men, in the manner of Plutarch or Strachey or JFK. If it has any overarching objective, it that of moral rearmament by finding a usable past. The writers look at discarded national aspirations, and take a keen look at half-forgotten or misremembered Englishmen from the 18th century onward.


G. A. Henty

We begin by rehabilitating the spirit of national and imperial greatness, and this is done with studies on G. A. Henty and John Buchan (by Eddy Butler and William King, respectively). The first was the originator of the “ripping yarns” genre of derring-do and imperial adventure that filled Boys’ Own type of magazines in the latter 19th century and had enormous influence on popular and serious literature. Kipling’s fiction, and Buchan’s, and even some of Hemingway’s and Orwell’s, derive in part from Henty.


John Buchan

John Buchan’s influence in turn is even more marked today because Buchan (journalist, speechwriter, and at one point Governor-General of Canada) wrote The Thirty-Nine Steps, which was the ur-espionage thriller, giving rise both to the novels of both John LeCarré and Ian Fleming. Thus, George Smiley and James Bond both have their roots in the high noon of the late 19th century British Empire. Though the memory of that Empire has been derided as something embarrassing for the past 60 or 70 years, its ultimate product, Mr. Bond, still stands, exciting and new.

The book’s authors find nationalism flowering in odd places. There is a short, fascinating essay called “Bax” by Peter Gibbs, and while it initially appears to be a tribute to the 20th century orchestral composer Sir Arnold Bax, it quickly moves on to a kind of rhapsody to exemplars of English (or “British”) national culture. Two whom Gibbs prizes the most are the composer Ralph Vaughn Williams, whose “folk-song settings and arrangements certainly reveal a nationalist outlook”; and the wildly romantic and mystical cinema of filmmaker Michael Powell (The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, A Canterbury Tale).

Some of the book’s portraits are very predictable for a rightist anthology (Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, Hilaire Belloc, G. K. Chesterton), while others are unexpected and appear to reflect an author’s expertise or passion (Benjamin Disraeli, John Maynard Keynes). One curious cultural figure well known to Counter-Currents readers but otherwise obscure, is the final portrait in the book, Bill Hopkins, here profiled and interviewed by the late Jonathan Bowden. Bill Hopkins was perhaps the most obscure of the Angry Young Men of 1955-59. As he recounts here, he was a working journalist who was given a contact for a novel, The Divine and the Decay, which was eventually withdrawn and pulped, because someone at the publishing house bad-mouthed him as a subversive of the fascistic tendency. Thereafter Hopkins lay low, wrote under pseudonyms, edited the very first issue of Penthouse in the mid-1960s, and slowly amassed a fortune. The one true rebel and bohemian in the book, he is also the only character who was alive in the 1990s and able to tell his story in his own querulous voice.

On the political side, I was glad to see the almost entirely neglected Bonar Law here (in a brief biography by Adrian Davies). Law was perhaps the last Conservative PM to be truly conservative. The main reason we hardly ever hear of him today is that there were so many sparkly and opportunistic Liberal politicians on the scene (Winston Churchill, Lloyd George, H. H. Asquith) when he was in opposition; and when Law finally succeeded to the premiership in 1922, he served only a short time before succumbing to throat cancer. Here and in his treatment of Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson, Adrian Davies spends a good deal of space describing the Home Rule crisis on the eve of the Great War: how Army officers were threatening to mutiny if asked to put down rebellions in Ulster, and how Asquith and the Liberals exploited the whole Home Rule issue for political gain. (A portrait of Sir Edward Carson, by Ralph Harrison, covers parallel ground.)


Bonar Law

As this is partisan history, these retellings are sometimes tendentious. Bonar Law, Edward Carson, and the Unionists/Conservatives were at least as pragmatic and opportunistic as the Liberals. After all, their opposition to enactment of Irish Home Rule 1912-1914 rested upon the odd position that the little patch of Ireland around Belfast was a sanctuary, a special spot, which must never be ruled by a Dublin parliament, unless and until Belfasters give their collective permission. (Presumably Ulstermen had not made such special pleading back in 1800, when the Act of Union was passed and the Dublin parliament abolished.) The writers’ reference to the northeast corner of Ireland as “North” and the remainder of the island as “South,” is a quaint example of political cant, but a useful and enduring one.

Another Englishman whose career got snagged on the Irish problem was the classics scholar Enoch Powell, here profiled by Sam Swerling. For most of his long tenure as MP, 1950-1987—first for the Conservatives, then for the Ulster Unionists—Powell was a steady, unswerving champion of national integrity and self-reliance. “He regarded the Commonwealth as a farcical institution and the United Nations as a vehicle for American aggrandisement and sabre rattling.”[6] Powell was perennially suspicious of America and even more so of the EEC, Britain’s membership in which he considered to be a political question, not an economic one.

Today he is largely remembered for his April 1968 “Rivers of Blood” speech, decrying nonwhite immigration. Although this made screaming headlines and caused Edward Heath to dismiss Powell from his shadow cabinet, the speech was not the watershed it is usually made out to be. Powell was not the first Conservative to speak out on the Caribbean black problem, and his concern was not race per se but rather preservation of national integrity. Nevertheless, with his oratorical verve and his mustache, Enoch Powell excited some nationalist hearts longing for a new Mosley.

But that role was quite inapposite to this poet/classicist’s tastes and abilities. “Powell never quite saw himself as a latter-day Mussolini marching on London with nationalist legions in his wake.”[7] Moreover, any racial-nationalist movement that might have been aborning in 1968, was effectively smothered in its crib. As though on cue, civil-rights marchers began agitating in Belfast, and by accident or design, these new developments so distracted Powell and the Conservatives that nothing more was heard from them on the New Immigration issue.

One useful figure I wish had been in here and is not, is Alan Clark MP, the arch-Tory historian, diarist, animal-lover, and cabinet secretary who never let political expediency get in the way of his wit, and died the same year this was published.[8]

I highly recommend this book [2] to all who search for foundations for a New Right.


1. Financial Times, 30 August 2015 [7].

2. Alan Clark, Diaries: Into Politics. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. 2000. p. 337.

3. Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith broke ties with the Monday Club in October 2001 because of its “inflammatory views on race, such as the voluntary repatriation of ethnic minorities.” http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2001/oct/19/uk.race [8]

4. A few months later, in May 2002, IDS publicly sacked a minor shadow minister, Ann Winterton, for telling attendees at a rugby dinner a mild joke about a Cuban, a Japanese, and a Pakistani. http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2002/may/06/race.conservatives [9]

5. Standardbearers,  p. V.

6. ibid., p. 128

7. ibid., p. 126.

8. When someone called Clark a fascist in the Guardian, he is supposed to have written the editor: “I am not a fascist. Fascists are shopkeepers. I am a Nazi.” (Alas, I have been unable to locate the letter.)

Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/09/the-search-for-a-usable-past/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: https://secure.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/enochpowell1.jpg

[2] Standardbearers: British Roots of the New Right: https://secure.counter-currents.com/standardbearers/

[3] Image: https://secure.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Standardbearers.jpg

[4] Image: https://secure.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/gahenty.jpg

[5] Image: https://secure.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/john-buchan.jpg

[6] Image: https://secure.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/bonarlaw2.jpg

[7] Financial Times, 30 August 2015: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e789b666-4b44-11e5-b558-8a9722977189.html#axzz3kRpTtJLj

[8] http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2001/oct/19/uk.race: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2001/oct/19/uk.race

[9] http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2002/may/06/race.conservatives: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2002/may/06/race.conservatives

dimanche, 30 août 2015

Sombart und das „ökonomische Zeitalter”


Sombart und das „ökonomische Zeitalter”

von Carlos Wefers Verástegui

Ex: http://www.blauenarzisse.de

Der Nationalökonom und Soziologe Werner Sombart war nach Karl Marx und noch vor Max Weber der erste begriffsprägende Erforscher des modernen Kapitalismus.

Beinahe alles, was wissenschaftlich zu diesem Thema geliefert wird, fußt direkt oder indirekt auf Sombarts Ringen, Wesen, Werden und Gestalt des Kapitalismus zu erfassen. Heute ist der Begriff „Kapitalismus“ zu einem Allgemeinplatz verkommen, dem man Sombarts unermüdliches Streben um Klärung nicht mehr ansieht.

Ein „Wegbereiter des Nationalsozialismus“?

Obwohl Sombart sich eine ihn auszeichnende Unabhängigkeit als Kritiker der Zeit zu bewahren wusste, sind seine Zurechnung zur „Konservativen Revolution“ sowie seine in offene Opposition endende Tuchfühlung mit dem Nationalsozialismus seinem menschlichem und wissenschaftlichem Erbe zum Verhängnis geworden: Als „Wegbereiter des Nationalsozialismus“ – eine Brandmarkung, die Wesen und Werk dieses außergewöhnlichen Menschen nicht gerecht wird – ist Sombarts verdienstvoller Name für alle Zeiten kompromittiert.

Dabei sind seine wissenschaftlichen Vorschläge und Forschungsergebnisse von ungebrochener Aktualität. Sombarts Analyse, sowohl des Kapitalismus als auch des Sozialismus, führte ihn nämlich zur Darstellung des „ökonomischen Zeitalters“, welches (immer noch) das unserige ist.

Wissenschaftler und Konservativer

Dass Sombarts Ausführungen gegenüber denen Webers ins Hintertreffen geraten sind, liegt nicht zuletzt an Sombarts eigner geistiger und politischer Entwicklung, die nicht nach dem Geschmack unserer auf politische Makellosigkeit versessene Gegenwart ist: Ausgehend von der Historischen Schule der Nationalökonomie stand Sombart in seinen Anfängen unter dem Einfluss des Marxismus, zu dessen Revisionismus er entscheidend beitrug.

In den Jahren nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg wandte sich Sombart vom „proletarischen Sozialismus“, wie er den Marxismus später nannte, ab, um schließlich in der Sozialwissenschaft einen betont „geistwissenschaftlichen“ Standpunkt zu vertreten. Auch politisch tat sich die Abkehr vom Marxismus in einem zunehmenden Konservatismus kund, der Sombart methodisch wie menschlich in die Nähe Othmar Spanns brachte.

Von diesem unterschied sich Sombart allerdings im Temperament durch größere Gelassenheit und feine Ironie. Auch aus Sombarts Eintreten für eine strikte Trennung von Wissenschaft und Metaphysik ist, trotz seiner Anknüpfung in einigen Punkten an Spanns Ganzheitslehre, ganz klar seine persönliche Unabhängigkeit und Gelassenheit als Wissenschaftler zu erkennen.

Zersetzung der mittelalterlichen Einheit und bürgerlicher Geist

In Auseinandersetzung mit einseitigen materialistischen, ökonomischen, sowohl „bürgerlichen“ als auch „sozialistischen“, naturalistischen Interpretationen, erkannte Sombart die geistigen Grundlagen des ökonomischen Zeitalters: Das Aufkommen der spezifisch „modernen“, westlichen (im Gegensatz zur deutschen), nominalistisch-​naturalistisch-​naturwissenschaftlichen Denk– und Betrachtungsweise der gesellschaftlich-​geschichtlichen Welt.

Nach Sombart, der hier Max Scheler folgt, wurde diese „Verweltlichung“ des Wertens und Wissens in der modernen Weltanschauung durch die Zersetzung der auf Transzendenz, überpersönliche Verbände und (geistige) Gemeinschaften gerichteten „organischen“ Kultur des Mittelalters bewirkt. Dieser Entwicklung entspricht wissenssoziologisch der, nach Sombart unter jüdischem Einflusse zu Stande gekommene „bürgerliche Geist“ mit seiner vornehmsten Schöpfung, dem neueren individualistischen Naturrecht.

Die Rolle der „Volksgeister“

sombart344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgWiewohl Sombart überhaupt den Einfluss eines säkularisierten Judentums für das Aufkommen von Kapitalismus und Sozialismus hoch anschlägt, so führt er doch nie beide kausal, d.h. schlechthin auf das Judentum zurück. Nur sei das spezifische Gepräge des modernen Kapitalismus wie des modernen Sozialismus „den Juden“ bzw. dem „jüdischen Geist“ zu verdanken, wobei Sombart übrigens letzteren – wie überhaupt alle „Volksgeister“ – von seiner leibseelischen Grundlage für ablösbar und sogar für übertragbar hält.

In diesem Sinne äußert sich Sombart des Öfteren über den „westlichen Geist“, der sich im deutschen Sprachraum betätigt, bzw. über den Unterschied eines „deutschen Denkens“ zum „Denken der (einzelnen) Deutschen“ – eine Unterscheidung die, zugespitzt im „Proletarischen Sozialismus“ (1924), beim französischen liberalen Soziologen Raymond Aron Befremden erzeugte.

 Das „ökonomische Zeitalter“

Die „Zersetzung des europäischen Geistes“ sowie die Anschauungen eines jede Transzendenz verneinenden sozialen Naturalismus brachten Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts schließlich den „ökonomischen Geist“ mit dem dazu gehörigen alleinigen Wertmaßstab des Ökonomischen hervor. Obwohl das ökonomische Zeitalter durch den Kapitalismus erst so richtig eingeläutet wurde, beschränkt es sich mit Nichten auf kapitalistische Grundlagen und Kulturphänomene:

Die Maßlosigkeit, die kindliche Begeisterung aller von unternehmerischem Geist angesteckten Menschen für Größe und Schnelligkeit und überhaupt „Entwicklung“, die Neuerungssucht, bezeichnen den verflachenden, seelisch vertrockneten und in seinem Gemüt verkrüppelten repräsentativen Typus dieses Zeitalters. Kapitalismus und Sozialismus verneinen die den Menschen haltgebenden, altüberkommenen sozialen Gebilde und Ordnungen, beide sind an der Entgottung der Welt und an der ökonomischen Ent– und Umwertung gleichermaßen beteiligt.

Politisch wirkt sich das in einer Indifferenz des Ökonomischen gegenüber den Staatsformen aus. Es wird nämlich grundsätzlich diejenige bevorzugt, in der es mehr zum Tragen kommt, und das können jeweils sehr verschiedene Regime sein. „Demokratie“ im ökonomischen Zeitalter bedeutet z.B. für Sombart deshalb lediglich die „Legalisierung des Kuhhandels“ zu Gunsten des Ökonomischen bzw. daraus abgeleitet, des industriellen Verbandswesens oder politischer Cliquen.

Sinnlosigkeit der ökonomischen Existenz

Wichtiger als die Darstellung politischer Zustände ist Sombart die „Anthropologie“ des verwirtschaftlichten Menschen. Stumpf gegenüber allen höheren Werte und Seinsformen, ist sein Dasein in seiner Ergriffenheit von technischem Fortschritt und Wirtschaftsbilanz ein sinnloses. Dafür ergötzt sich der moderne Mensch an vor allem sportlichen Wettkämpfen („Sportismus“), überhaupt begehrt er Kollektivvergnügungen und allerlei technische Spielereien, die sein Leben bequemer, unterhaltsamer und angenehmer machen sollen. Sombart sieht die Menschen einem „praktischen Materialismus“, dem Komfortismus ergeben, der „den ganzen Volkskörper zum faulen bringt“.

Der Komfortismus vereinheitlicht die an sich schon angeglichenen Menschen nur noch mehr, so dass Kapitalist und Sozialist, arm und reich, klug und dumm, Fachmensch und Ungelernter nur verschiedene Seiten eines einzigen öden Menschentums bezeichnen. Weltanschaulich steht diesem Krüppel die Naturwissenschaft mit ihren für das praktische Leben zu Erfolgen münzenden Erkenntnissen zur Seite. Dadurch werden auf der einen Seite Stumpfsinn und Unglaube gefördert bei gleichzeitiger Überintellektualisierung, auf der anderen aber die Fähigkeit vernichtet, sich Urteilen aus zweiter Hand zu erwehren.

Vorläufer der Postmoderne?

Aus dieser Analyse des Menschen des ökonomischen Zeitalters wird ersichtlich, wie flüssig der Übergang von Kapitalismus zu Sozialismus, im Gegensatz zur Klassenkampftheorie von Marx, ist. Ebenfalls nimmt Sombart die Diagnose späterer Kritiker des „social engineering“ und „social management“ vorweg. In seinem wissenssoziologischen Aufsatz „Weltschauung. Wissenschaft und Wirtschaft“ (1938) übertrifft Sombart an Klarheit und Weite der Problemstellung den Philosophen der Postmoderne, Jean-​François Lyotard: In der Nachforschung der Frage, welchen Stellenwert das Wissen bzw. die Wissenschaft in der Gesellschaft hat, und welches ihr „Wesen“ ist, ist Lyotard Sombart gegenüber als ein Verspäteter zu bezeichnen.

Ein hervorstechender Zug in Sombarts Arbeiten ist die pädagogische Sorge und Behutsamkeit, mit der er sich vor allem an die (akademische) Jugend wendet. In diesem Sinne wies er wiederholt auf die „Unhaltbarkeit der älteren liberalistischen Theorie“ hin, da ja die ökonomische Realität diese längst eingeholt habe. Deshalb warnte Sombart schon früh vor einem wissenschaftstheoretischen Rückfall in den Liberalismus: Die bloße Gesinnung und Oppositionsstellung der jungen Generation reiche bei Theorielosigkeit, dem Ausbleiben einer längst notwendigen Wissenskultur, vor allem bei fehlender eigener methodologischer Forschung nicht aus, dem theoretisch wohlgerüsteten dastehenden Gegner, dem Neoliberalismus, Einhalt zu bieten.

Diese Worte Sombarts nehmen sich nach fast achtzig Jahren wie eine düstere Prophetie aus, denn sie betreffen nicht nur Sombarts Fachgebiet, sondern das gesamte kulturelle Leben, die gesamte Bildungsarbeit. Schließlich sind sie immer noch vom Wirtschaftlichen her bestimmt und stehen ohne eigenes Statut, im kultur– und bildungslosen Raume da.

mercredi, 26 août 2015




Recensione di Fabio Calabrese

Ex: http://www.ereticamente.net

Raramente capita di leggere un testo così nettamente in controtendenza rispetto agli orientamenti politico-culturali attualmente dominanti, e questo non può fare altro che piacere, perché questi orientamenti politico-culturali dominanti imposti settant’anni fa all’Europa con la forza dai vincitori del secondo conflitto mondiale, sono a mio parere quanto di più deleterio e innaturale possa esistere, la faccia ideologica, la pseudo-giustificazione di quel sistema di potere tirannico che conosciamo come democrazia.

Come io stesso ho spiegato più volte su queste pagine, la democrazia è un sistema tirannico. Libertà? Ci vuole faccia tosta per parlarne in presenza di un sistema giudiziario dove le fattispecie di reati di opinione si moltiplicano. Sovranità popolare? Parlarne è un tragico sarcasmo, quando ai popoli non è concesso di decidere nulla, nemmeno di continuare a esistere come tali, ma il potere dietro le quinte ha deciso che debbano sparire nell’universale meticciato.

misticamagine.jpgLa democrazia è stata imposta all’Europa settant’anni fa con la conclusione disastrosa della seconda guerra mondiale, ma i suoi effetti deleteri hanno cominciato a diventare evidenti dopo la fine della Guerra Fredda, con la messa in atto della decisione di trasformare l’intera umanità in un’orda meticcia facilmente manovrabile dal potere dietro le quinte del sistema democratico, di recidere il legame sempre esistito e che rappresenta l’ordine normale delle cose, tra sangue e suolo.

L’ideologia democratica oggi dominante tende a cancellare  il concetto stesso di nazionalità, il legame naturale fra un popolo e la sua terra, per sostituirlo in tutto con la finzione burocratica nota come cittadinanza, si pretende che un extracomunitario diventi un europeo solo perché si è deciso di scrivere sui suoi documenti la cittadinanza di un Paese europeo, sebbene l’esperienza anche tragica, a cominciare dalla diffusione in Europa di simpatizzanti e fautori del terrorismo islamico come conseguenza dell’immigrazione, dimostri chiaramente che questi presunti “inglesi”, “francesi”, “italiani” a cui concediamo irresponsabilmente diritti che mai e poi mai noi potremmo ricevere nei loro Paesi d’origine,  di europeo non hanno nulla anche quando sono immigrati di seconda o terza generazione, nati sul nostro suolo.

Questo testo costituisce dunque un salutare richiamo al fatto che l’identità di un popolo è data dalla nazionalità, dal legame inscindibile tra sangue e suolo, ma è anche qualcosa di più, infatti questo legame ineludibile fra la terra e il popolo è la base di una concezione che possiamo tranquillamente definire religiosa. Non a caso, parliamo di mistica Volkisch. Come ha messo bene in evidenza Alfred Rosenberg nel Mito del XX secolo, “Razza è anima vista dall’esterno, anima è razza vista dall’interno”: razza e anima, razza è anima, occorre ribadire la falsità del dogma democratico dell’uguaglianza degli uomini: alle diverse caratteristiche fisiche che distinguono le varie razze, corrispondono qualità psichiche differenti. La nostra anima razzialmente determinata, cioè NOI STESSI, è il lascito più importante che abbiamo ricevuto dai nostri antenati, e non possiamo rinnegare la loro eredità, la nostra origine senza rinnegare noi stessi.

Sangue e suolo sono semplicemente due elementi di una triade che andrebbe meglio completata: spirito, sangue e suolo, poiché la scoperta del legame identitario profondo con le nostre origini, il nostro passato, noi stessi in ultima analisi, ci proietta in una dimensione sacrale, ci porta a riscoprire quel fondo di religiosità originaria dell’Europa anteriore all’avvento del cristianesimo.

Se ci liberiamo dal contesto abramitico-cristiano che concepisce la religione come rapporto individualistico con un Dio immaginario, allora ci accorgiamo che non c’è nulla di più SACRO di questa eterna catena della vita che ci lega ai nostri antenati e ci proietta verso il futuro attraverso i nostri discendenti sempre mediante il legame della continuità di sangue.

Al riguardo, mi vengono in mente i versi di una bella poesia di Helmut Stellrecht che ben avrebbero potuto figurare in questo libro:

«Tu porti nel tuo Sangue la santa eredità dei tuoi Padri e dei tuoi
Antenati./Tu non conosci coloro che sono scomparsi in file interminabili
nell’oscurità /del passato. Ma tutti loro vivono in te e nel tuo Sangue, camminano
sulla Terra/ che li ha logorati nelle battaglie e nelle fatiche /e in cui i loro
corpi da tempo si consumano. /Perciò il tuo Sangue è qualcosa di sacro”.

Questo testo rappresenta una sorta di manifesto redatto dai suoi autori per il decennale dalla fondazione dell’associazione etnonazionalista Vokisch “identità e tradizione”, e i suoi autori, Federico Prati, Luca Lionello Rimbotti, e soprattutto Silvano Lorenzoni, il grande Silvano Lorenzoni, sono tre fra i più reputati intellettuali della nostra “area”. Forse occorre chiarire il concetto di etnonazionalismo, un’espressione che può sembrare ridondante, dal momento che etnia e nazione possono essere considerati sinonimi. In realtà, si vuole evidenziare che il “classico” nazionalismo ottocentesco che faceva coincidere la nazione con lo stato, qui non interessa; quello che conta è la nazione, l’etnia come “ghenos”, come comunità umana stretta da legami di sangue, che è come dire di spirito e di destino, cioè l’esatto contrario di qualsiasi delirio multietnico, cioè in ultima analisi ciò che è normale perché disposto dalla Provvidenza (una Provvidenza che almeno io personalmente non riesco proprio a immaginare come possa coincidere con il Dio cristiano, un Dio apertamente “mondialista”), il che si ricollega alla venatura religiosa o per meglio dire SACRALE di questa concezione.

Va detto anche che l’associazione di cui abbiamo detto non è un partito, e si propone di agire piuttosto in campo metapolitico che non politico; gli autori, difatti, esprimono la convinzione che finché ci sarà un’élite intellettuale e spirituale ferma e consapevole su questi  principi a un tempo politici e religiosi, le forze della sovversione democratica, del disordine che sconvolge e distrugge qualsiasi ordine tradizionale, qualsiasi normalità, non riusciranno a prevalere in modo definitivo.

Questo testo, nel quale le mani dei tre autori fondono il loro lavoro senza discontinuità apparenti, sì che è assai arduo attribuire un brano all’uno o all’altro dei tre, è suddiviso in quattro parti che sono: “Il mito del sangue”, “sangue e spirito”, “anima della razza” e “metafisica del sangue”. Ora, probabilmente non in maniera casuale, il titolo della prima di queste tre sezioni richiama quello di un testo di Julius Evola, un pensatore la cui lezione i tre autori hanno tenuto sempre ben presente.

fidus_gral.jpgRiguardo a Evola, è importante precisare che molti hanno voluto vedere in Evola il teorico di una dottrina spirituale della razza in contrapposizione alla visione nazionalsocialista e in particolare dell’ideologo del nazionalsocialismo, Alfred Rosenberg, che si è voluta riduttivamente interpretare come un rozzo materialismo biologico. Questa interpretazione, ci assicurano i nostri autori, è completamente falsa, riesce a stare in piedi solo se si evita e si impedisca che sia accessibile la lettura di prima mano dei testi nazionalsocialisti, e in particolare del ponderoso Mito del XX secolo  di Rosenberg, secondo la prassi democratica che consiste nella censura e nell’impedire il confronto delle idee, altrimenti sarebbe chiaro che il nazionalsocialismo e Rosenberg ebbero ben chiara la dimensione spirituale connessa al “mito del sangue”.

D’altra parte, i nostri tre autori non hanno la pretesa di aver inventato nulla: l’etnonazionalismo volkisch (termine che significa “popolare”, e sottolinea con questo aggettivo che non si tratta affatto di un movimento “di destra” che guardi agli interessi delle classi dominanti, anzi, contiene in embrione l’idea del nazional-socialismo), infatti, nacque in Germania nel tardo XIX secolo, sviluppando alcuni aspetti della visione del mondo romantica, e soprattutto contrapponendosi all’illuminismo, quindi al liberalismo e alla democrazia, di cui rifiuta in particolare la visione individualistica e contrattualistica dei rapporti sociali e politici. Dopo la prima guerra mondiale, esso confluì nel movimento nazionalsocialista, e qui ebbe certamente un ruolo chiave la figura di Alfred Rosenberg di cui il libro propone una significativa rivalutazione.

Noi possiamo sostanzialmente vedere l’etnonazionalismo volkisch come una salutare reazione al rifiuto illuministico, liberale, democratico, di considerare il differente valore delle persone e delle comunità nazionali, in uno col rifiuto della dimensione spirituale, per puntare in definitiva a una società atomizzata, retta esclusivamente dalla legge del denaro, dove i rapporti fra le persone sono ridotti a rapporti fra cose, e le persone stesse sono ridotte a cose.

Questo si vede bene dal fatto che nella dialettica democratica persona e comunità sono sostituiti da individuo e massa (il liberalismo pone l’accento sul primo, il marxismo sulla seconda; entrambi sono manifestazioni di una dialettica distorta nella quale è negata ogni dimensione spirituale).

Alla persona, ridotta a individuo, è ancora concesso di avere una psiche, ma non già spirito e anima. Non a caso, una delle parti più significative del libro è costituita da un testo di Adriano Segatori che è una disamina della psicanalisi. Ciò che caratterizza il pensiero freudiano, la pseudo-scientifica psicanalisi, è infatti la soppressione dell’io inteso come arché, come principio guida della personalità, che resta totalmente in balia di pulsioni e istinti, una marionetta che potrà essere fatta danzare al ritmo di qualunque musica il meccanismo sociale, o meglio il potere economico e politico dietro le quinte del meccanismo sociale decida di imporre, il tutto mascherato dall’alibi della falsa libertà della democrazia.

A questo riguardo vorrei ricordare che sempre sulle pagine di “Ereticamente” tempo addietro vi avevo segnalato il bel libro di Michel Onfray: Crepuscolo di un idolo: smantellare le favole freudiane dove si dimostra in tutta evidenza e dati alla mano che nella psicanalisi non c’è nulla di scientifico, che Sigmund Freud era un ciarlatano che ha falsificato i protocolli delle sue sedute, che non ha mai guarito nessuno, e che ha causato la morte di almeno quattro dei suoi pazienti attribuendo a isteria disturbi che invece avevano una base organica ed erano sintomi di malattie reali. La psicanalisi è con ogni probabilità la più grossa bufala pseudoscientifica dell’età moderna.

D’altra parte il saggio di Segatori contenuto in questo libro ci fa comprendere che essa è pienamente funzionale a quell’insieme di tendenze: liberalismo, marxismo, democrazia, potere usurocratico, scientismo materialista che nel loro insieme possiamo chiamare modernità, l’uomo freudiano è esattamente ciò che la modernità vuole che l’uomo sia, un uomo che non avendo più l’arché in se stesso, deve necessariamente riceverlo dall’esterno, in definitiva un perfetto schiavo, un uomo-macchina.

La modernità, la negazione degli eterni principi dello spirito, del sangue e del suolo, svela allora il suo carattere demoniaco.

Per dirla con le parole del testo:

“Materialismo, ateismo, lotta di classe, deboli ideali eudemonistici, suicidio razziale, atomismo sociale, promiscuità razziale, decadenza dell’arte, erotomania, disintegrazione della famiglia, perdita del senso del sacro, dell’onore sia nell’ambito pubblico che privato, sciatto femminismo, fluttuazioni e catastrofi economiche, guerra civile nelle famiglie europee, degenerazione pianificata della gioventù per mezzo di film e libri abietti e l’introduzione di nevrotiche dottrine nell’educazione. Le Forze della Sovversione hanno cercato di far imputridire l’Europa, di affievolire i suoi istinti razziali, di privarla di eroismo, onore e virilità, del suo sentimento di avere una missione mondiale da compiere, del suo senso di costituire un’unità razziale e spirituale, e persino del suo codice cavalleresco. Essi desiderano paralizzare la capacità di decisione europea e distruggere la sua volontà portando la sifilide morale ed etica di Hollywood ad avvelenare il suolo d’Europa” (pag. 63).

L’etnonazionalismo volkisch si presenta come una reazione salutare contro tutto ciò, un mezzo per far sì che gli Europei ritrovino il contatto con se stessi, la loro civiltà millenaria, l’eredità dei loro antenati, la loro identità.

“L’etnonazionalismo volkisch costituisce un’Idea-forza che rappresenta l’opposto, l’antitesi stessa dell’ideologia posta a base della rivoluzione illuministica francese, la quale è basata sull’idea massonica dell’uguaglianza degli individui e delle razze. Tale nefasta ideologia, approfittando di un particolare momento storico, adattandosi in mille modi, ha prodotto terribili rivoluzioni, ha gettato l’Europa in un seguito di convulsioni rivoluzionarie e belliche da cui è emerso trionfante il dominio di Aasvero-Giuda (…) Ma la disgrazia di questa epoca darà vita nei Popoli d’Europa a una nuova presa di coscienza che li porterà alla rigenerazione” (pag. 85).

Si tratta di un auspicio e di una battaglia  che io personalmente non posso altro che condividere in toto, ma credo di poter parlare da questo punto di vista a nome di tutti noi di “Ereticamente”. Non ci si può augurare altro se non che questo libro abbia la massima diffusione possibile. Potrebbe servire a risvegliare le coscienze di molti.

Federico Prati, Luca Lionello Rimbotti, Silvano Lorenzoni: Mistica Volkisch, Effepi edizioni settembre 2014. €. 20,00