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jeudi, 12 mai 2016

Adversus Haereses: Nicolás Gómez Dávila - Against the Religion of Democracy¹


Krzysztof Urbanek

Adversus Haereses: Nicolás Gómez Dávila - Against the Religion of Democracy¹

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Nicolás Gómez Dávila2 is primarily known for his authorship of the five volume work Scholia to an Implicit Text. Those who study Dávila’s life and work mostly focus on these 10,260 aphorisms3 and question what the “implicit text” actually is. Various arbitrary answers are offered by different academics: Franco Volpi believes it is the ideal act which is beyond the Bogotán’s creative reach, Till Kinzel believes it is the books from his library, Francia Elena Goenaga Olivares believes it is God, and numerous other researchers believe that the “implicit text” is Western culture itself.

However, it is rarely asked whether the Author of the Scholia has not elucidated an answer to this himself. Indeed, it appears that in 1988 – thus during the thinker’s life – Francisco Pizano de Brigard (who was a friend of Dávila’s) noted in a special edition of Revista del Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario4 that the “implicit text” appears on pages 60-100 of the first volume of the Textos I.5 There is no evidence that Dávila ever objected to this. Moreover, in the first volume of the Scholia we encounter the Bogotan’s idiosyncratic note: “the writer’s original thought echoes in his passing commentaries.”6

This point is sufficiently pressing to call for a closer reflection on the abovementioned text in order to capture its essence, because the substance of one of the most ingenious works of twentieth century thought revolves around the ideas contained in Dávila’s Scholia to an Implicit Text.


dav2.jpgThe subject of Nicolás Gómez Dávila’s Text Implicite is democracy. According to the Author, democracy is a new religion; more precisely, an anthropotheistic religion in which Man is presented as God. The Catholic Thinker therefore concludes that the ultimate consequence can only be to treat democracy as if it were a form of Satanism.

At the beginning of his thesis, Dávila concerns himself with two main types of democracy: bourgeoisie democracy and people’s democracy. To the Bogotán, the difference between the bourgeoisie and peoples democracies is essentially trivial, give that both strive towards the same goal, namely “the redemption of Man though Man.”

According to the Author of the Scholia, democracy is neither an electoral procedure, nor a social structure, nor an economic order. History illustrates that democracy is accompanied by militant secularism and the criticism of the mere phenomenon of religion. The intent that underpins the secularisation of society emanates from a “Godless zeal” and “secular caution”.7 Students of democracy highlight its religious character: that the sociology of democratic revolutions operates in categories that have been established through religious historicism. Certainly, the religious aspect of democracy is illuminated – I would say rationalised – equally through the bourgeoisie capitalist systems as well as through the peoples’ communistic systems. Gómez admits the primacy of the later8 and adds that while its theories hold that it is the best exemplification of truth, “it could be said that it suffices to reverse [these communistic theories] to not fall into error.”9

Next, Gómez turns his attention to the philosophy of history. He holds that “every philosophy aims to define the relationship between Man and his deeds.”10 He adds, that “the manner in which the relationship between Man and his deeds is defined, determines all universal explanations [i.e. for human conduct]”,11 and “philosophical definition of a particular relationship [i.e. between Man and deed] constitutes a theory of human motivation.”12 The Bogotán considers the plurality of the theories of motivation and their successive or simultaneous application, yet he concludes that “in each motivational theory, to which one may be preferentially disposed, and in each configuration in which he may be found, every deed is coordinated by an earlier religious choice.”13 This original choice – which Man is often oblivious to – defines Man’s attitude towards God and is the ultimate context of the deed. Thus Gómez summarises that “the individual as a historical phenomenon is the product of a religious choice.”14

The Bogotán therefore continues that “as we study any democratic phenomena, only a religious analysis will explain its nature, and thus allow one to ascribe to it appropriate meaning.”15 His definition of democracy appears at this point of reflection: “Democracy is an anthopotheistic religion. Its principle is a choice which has a religious character, a deed in which Man acknowledges Man as a god. Its doctrine is the theology of Man-as-God, its praxis is the realisation of the principle in behaviour, institutions and deeds.”16 Thus Gómez holds that “a godliness that democracy ascribes to the individual […] is a strictly theological definition”17 and therefore “democratic anthropology treats Man’s being in a manner that accords with classical attributes of God.”18

According to the Author of the Scholia, anthopotheism opts for one of two solutions to our present miseries. Either it speaks of a godly past (Orphic cosmogonies or Gnostic sects), or a godly future (democratic religion). Modern democratic religion is a lesson in “painful theogony”,19 and Man is represented as “material for its future condition.”20 Gómez speaks of the ethical lawlessness of anthropotheism, of it sectarianism, and its metaphysical revolt. In the next stage of his reflection, he underlines that “democratic doctrine is an ideological superstructure, patently applied to religious assumptions. The anthropological bias of the democratic doctrine finds its continuation in a militant apologetics.”21 In relation to democratic anthropology, Man is represented by Will, a Will that is free, sovereign and equal. Gómez briefly describes four theses of the democratic ideology’s apologetics:

  1. Pompous atheism (theology of the immanent God);
  2. Progressivism (the idea of progress as theodicy: from matter through Man towards the Devine);
  3. Subjective axiology (value recognised as that which the Will considers its own); and
  4. Common determinism (“total human freedom demands an enslaved universe”22).

dav3.jpgAccording to Nicolás Gómez Dávila, the sovereign Will reigns in liberal and individualistic democracies, while the authentic Will reigns in collective and despotic democracies. In his characterisation of the democratic religion, the Author of the Scholia holds that “the transformation of a liberal and individualistic democracy, into a collective and despotic democracy, does not molest the democratic intention, nor does it depart from its promised objectives.”23 This is because the law of the democratic Will has the mandate to coerce the obedience of the individual Will, due to the fact that the individual Will “sins against its [i.e. the democratic Will’s] own being.”24 Summarising thus far, the Bogotán writes that “continued faith in the democratic ideal interferes with the immediate objectives of the authoritarian democrat, who enslaves in the name of freedom and awaits the coming of a god from without the depraved masses.”25 Thus in the context of Man’s supposed omnipotence, Gómez recalls democracy’s resulting abuse of technology and the “inexorable industrial exploitation of the planet.”26

Next, Gómez come to an historical outline in which he discusses the historical legacy of democratic anthropotheism. He comes to the conclusion that the “modern democratic religion comes into being when Bogomilian and Cathar dualism, and apocalyptic messianism, fuse together.”27 Through a century of evolution, the democratic religion – the “daughter of pride”28 – begets a tremendous number of subsequent ideologies:

All can deceive us: virtue, which dazzles itself, sin, which deforms itself before our eyes. For the whole doctrine to be accepted, all that is required is that one aspect flatter us. When we fall into the enslaving trap, the seemingly chaotic nature of our conduct is then subject to the pressures [i.e. of the ideology] that purports to enforce order.29

Here we see the multiplicity of pathways each of which lead to the same destination: the deification of Man. The Author of the Scholia argues that the watershed moment in the evolution of the democratic religion was the formation of the nation-state, “which believes itself to be the sole judge of its deeds and the ultimate arbiter of its affairs […] which it accepts only those norms which are acknowledged by its own Will, and whose interests is the highest law.”30 According to the Bogotán, “the sovereign nation is the first democratic victory.”31 The only response to this usurpation is to assert the Divine Right of Kings. Such a law will eliminate any absolutizing tendencies: “above the Monarch is the Monarch Most High – shall rain judiciously, anointed by religion, preceded by natural law, guided by the authority of morality.”32

The next stage of the democratic invasion, which justified through the nature of its doctrine, is the mass’s revolutionary demand for freedom. According to Gómez, this way “the masses demand the freedom to be their own tyrant.”33 Equally important is that as soon as the mass’s demands are met, the axiological ties that underpin economic dynamism are destroyed, and the desire for unlimited wealth and prosperity arises. This economic value is subject to the suzerainty of Man, and in Gomez’s opinion, it “is the least absurd symbol of Man’s imaginary sovereignty.”34 The cult of wealth is a typically democratic phenomenon associated with the dominance of the bourgeoisie. Thus the bourgeoisie consciously elects to create and support the existence of a secular state, so as to avoid having to resolve the opposition between his subjective whims against the “interfering axiology”35 of objective or perennial truths:36

[W]hoever tolerates the proposition that the religious perspective interferes with the pursuits of banal materialist or worldly affairs, that ethical righteousness can arrest technological progress, that an aesthetic cause can modify political initiatives and projects, such a person wounds that bourgeoisie sensitivity and betrays the bourgeoisie enterprise.37

In the democratic religion, each individual is granted the superficial authority over his own destiny. Everything is to be subject to the individual’s capricious will. Gómez writes that “economic theft [i.e. when the individual’s right to the fruit of his labour is abrogated, or when the aforesaid axiological ties that underpin economic dynamism are destroyed.] culminates in a pusillanimous individualism, in which ethical indifference is reflected in intellectual anarchy.”38 The Bogotán observes that “reactionary apprehension, which every democratic episode provokes, recreates a theory of human rights and political constitutionalism, so as to contain and restrain the mischievousness of people’s sovereignty.”39 In this context, Gómez recalls the weaknesses of political liberalism. Thus, “[t]he third phase of the democratic conquest is the establishment of the communistic society.”40 Communism, according to the Author, is a conscious project, and

in the communist society, the ambition of the democratic doctrine is revealed. Its goal is not the modest happiness of existing humanity: it’s goal is the recreation of a Man whose sovereignty assumes the omnipotent control over his universe. Communist Man is a deity, who treads on the earthen crust.41

In conclusion, Gómez writes about the resulting ennui and cruelty of Man who attempts unsuccessfully to imitate the omnipotence of God,42 and considers the total reactionary rebellion to be the only sincere response to the anthropotheistic democratic religion.43

Generally speaking, so much on the topic of anthropotheism can be found in the 1959 volume of the Textos. It is worth noting inter alia that in his text Implicite Gómez focuses on futuristic anthropotheism: i.e. the democratic religion itself. Furthermore, while searching for the roots of this democratic religion, he arrives at an anthropotheism fixated on Man’s deified past, or in other words, on Gnosticism. The extent to which there are commentaries concerning Gnosticism in the New Scholia to an Implicit Text,44 these are related to and contingent on the critique of democracy itself in the Scholia to an Implicit Text. It is clearly evident that on reflection, and after a period of omitting to address the issue, Nicolás Gómez Dávila places considerable weight on Gnosticism: this can be found in the overlapping boundaries of religion and philosophy. Moreover, the student can notice that during this period, Gómez departs from a clear distinction marked in his Textos, and all anthropotheism – both past and futuristic – is identified with Gnosticism itself.

In light of the above, it is unsurprising that the Bogotán treats Gnosticism with decisive enmity. The advocates of Gnosticism are apparently considered the greatest enemies of Christianity, and from this perspective he identifies the active threat of its contemporary manifestation: “Christianity should not be defended from the ‘arguments’ of past and present scientism, but against the Gnostic poison.”45 Let us attend to what Gnosticism is historically, and contemplate whether or not Gómez is mistaken when speaking of its toxicity.


‘Gnosticism’ is the label for numerous currents of thought which are based on the knowledge of divine secrets, that are exclusively reserved for an elite. Gnosticism calls for salvation through a higher awareness that is obtained by way of an internal enlightenment. Here we see a so-called ‘self-redemption.’ Gnosticism developed in the second and third century after the birth of Christ in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire. It is a syncretic creature which combines many elements common to Hellenic philosophy as well as Judaism and Christianity. The rise of the main current of Gnosticism (whose creators include Basilides of Alexandria, Valentinus of Phrebonis and Marcion of Sinope) is preceded by a pre-Christian gnosis, for example, the Judaic apocalyptic of Qumran, various exotic doctrines of Iranian and Indo-Iranian origin, specific currents of Orphism, as well as neo-Pythegorianism and Platonism.

dav4.jpgThe geneology of Gnosticism is not foreign to Gómez: “the birth of gnosis can evidently be traced to the pre-Christian era, yet its poison has evolved in the shadow of Christianity.”46 Thus the Bogotán ceases to associate Platonism – to which he is endeared – with Gnosticism and directs his suspicions towards Stoicism47 – which he despises: “The Greek roots of Gnosticism spätantike are not found in Platonic dualism but in Stoic monism.”48

Returning to the general principles of Gnosticism, a closer inspection reveals that it can be characterised by the belief in Man’s god-like nature, and while he is often oblivious to this supposed nature, he nonetheless labours to obtain knowledge thereof. According to Gnosticism, the gnostic who thus labours, as well as the divine essence and the gnosis through which knowledge of it is sought, are all consubstantial.49 In other words, the divine aspect of Man’s personality is “dormant” until the moment that the redemptive gnosis has been attained, until the moment that Man becomes aware of his divine essence. In this context, Gómez observes that “the awareness of the Gnostic’s divine nature can be redemptive only when it is the deed of the subject50 when the subject recognises within himself a redeemed being. | Gnosis is idolatry.”51 Thus the continuation of Gnosticism is the Enlightenment and its rationalist programmes: “Only ignorance imprisons the divine nature of Man. This divine nature remains in a state of Fall [i.e. “dormancy” as per ibid.] until it has attained awareness of its divinity. Aufklärung [i.e. Enlightenment] is the careful exposition of Gnosis.”52 “Rationalism is the official sobriquet of Gnosticism.”53 According to the Author of the Scholia, Enlightenment’s faith in progress is connected to the auto-deification of Man: “‘Progress’ is the name of a process in which salvator-salvandus54 restores its Fallen divinity.”55 I believe that on the same philosophical56 basis, it would be appropriate to elucidate Gómez’s antipathy towards Hegel: “Goethe is a pantheist. Hegel is a Gnostic | Pantheism is a slope, only Gnosticism is a cliff edge”57 and “Nietzsche is barely uncivil – Hegel is blasphemous.”58 Now, we may come to learn what the Bogotán believes to be the difference between pantheism and Gnosticism. He writes that:

Because the substance of the matter which is to be understood directly is more important than its form, we need to differentiate naturalist mysticism and personal mysticism from theistic mysticism: likewise we need to differentiate the experience of a pristine world and the experience of the eternal ‘I’ from the experience of the reality of God.
Theistic mysticism is not susceptible to corruption. While naturalistic mysticism degenerates to pantheism, as the ecstatic awareness identifies the pure act of creation with the splendour of the Creator. Moreover, personal mysticism degenerates into Gnosticism, where one is steeped in self-awareness identifies the eternal soul with the perennial God.
The pantheistic attitude is less sinful than Gnostic attitudes because, in the former, Man’s pride is engulfed in the divine conflagration [i.e. of life]. However, an erroneous interpretation of mystic experience leads to a repetition of the sacrilegious.59

Gnostics believe that primordial Man is enslaved by the Demiurge and his worldly powers, as well as his flesh which is the prison of the divine spirit. Thus, redemption occurs by way of liberation from the mundane world and the corporeal flesh. “The Gnostic deification of the soul occurs when the merger of Neoplatonism and Mazdaism automatically results in the unification of Evil and materialism.”60

dav7.jpgIn the second century A.D., Gnosticism was customarily concerned with the Fall of the divine entity; Manicheanism, associated with the gnostic dualist religious currents begotten by Mani in the third century A.D., concerned itself with the duality of and struggle between Good and Evil. After contact with Christianity, Gnosticism assumed the religious elements of Judaism and Christianity, e.g. revelation per se, and in particular the revelation of Christ and the revelation contained in the Scriptures. In the womb of Christianity, Gnosticism stimulates numerous heresies (e.g. Valentinius of Phrebonis and his disciples). Manichaeism is presented as a continuation of Gnosticism, and the inheritors of both currents are the Pualines, Bogomils and Cathars. Gómez does not fully agree with this classification and seems to contradict it, as he earlier writes in Textos I:

Paulinism is closer to the Marcionite doctrines than the Manichean, therefore, as with Bogomilism and equally as in Catharism, Gnostic elements are likely the result of a contamination resulting from the blending of the two.
Gnosticism crystallises on the conventicles of the ‘free spirit’ and Amalric pantheism.61

In any case, the subject of Gnosticism is the attainment of secret knowledge, and its aim is an Enlightenment which is achieved through the revelation of mystic knowledge, where such revelation thus becomes the objects of secret wisdom. Gnostics derive this wisdom from Christ and his prophets, in opposition to faith (in particular Christian faith). Gnosis evolves in centres of Christian communities, particularly within those in which adherents to foreign beliefs can be encountered (Ephesus, Syria and Alexandria). The secret wisdom of Gnosis stands in opposition to naturalism, occultism and the magic of Christian Revelation. Its goal is the exaltation of Man’s hidden natural powers, the demotion of Christ to the role of but one in many unique historic individuals. In this context, it is worth noting Hebrew Docetism, i.e. the questioning Christ’s apparent humanity. Gómez clarifies: “Docetism takes as its beginning not the disdain to matter, but in the desperate need for the transformation of the Redemptor into a mundane vehicle of revelation. | Christ does not redeem Docetism, he evokes it.”62

Syrian Gnosis (centred in Antioch) derives from Simon Magus of Samaria (described by the Fathers of the Church as ‘the Father of all Heresies’). Simon claims that fire is the primordial principle (God acts through fire – reminiscent of the Burning Bush). This God-Fire is no simple concept. It is constituted by two elements: the male (mind) and feminine (thought). From God come the six roots of the Eons (cosmic powers) as well as a seventh, which is present in all, a power known as ‘Father’. The Father begets the world and the reigning six Eons, and a seventh power, which is the ‘Spirit’. According to Simon Magus, matter is not created, it is eternal and shaped by the Demiurge, who is an Angel sent by the Highest God. While Man is formed by Good as well as Evil powers, and thus is naturally corrupted, he is in need of redemption. Simon holds that the world requires redemption though the male element (himself) and the female element (Helen, a prostitute from Tyre63). Historically, this study leads to a moral laxity and the savagery of custom. In this context, it is worth noting that Gómez suggests that obscenity is a motif in Gnostic history: “The Gnostic is susceptible to liturgical profanity, because the sacrum unilaterally contradicts his divinity. | Sacrilegious obscenity is his favourite act. | One of the Gnostic Evangelia is authored by de Sade.”64

Menander, a student of Simon Magus, announces that the world was created by Angels, and enmity reigns between them and Man. Man learns magic from the primordial Absolute65 so as to conquer the Angels, with the aim of achieving redemption. A disciple of Menander was Basilides of Alexandria (second century A.D.). Basilides transplants Syrian gnosis from Antioch to Alexandria. There it merges with the Hebrew Kabbalah and Egyptian wisdom. In the opinion of this Gnostic, within the essence of all can be found the ‘god who isn’t’, and from him emanate numerable Eons. In this science, all emanates from providence: redemption and Evil. The source of all sin is Man’s impulse. Evil,66 and in particular suffering, are substantiated in Man’s previous life. Thus we encounter the concept of pre-existential spiritualism. The soul is capable of recognising and intuitively conceptualising reality.

Isidore of Alexandria, son and disciple of Basilides, is an advocate for amoralism and the total freedom of being. He believes that since redemption is certain, one can do what one pleases, whatever one desires. Gómez thus connects the lawlessness of the Gnostics with the lawlessness of the Revolutionists: “The Gnostic is a born Revolutionary, where the act of an absolute and unreserved rejection is the perfect method through which one announces one’s divine autonomy.”67 According to the Bogotán, the Revolution reached its peak during modernity: “The French Revolution was the highest watermark of the Gnostic tide”68 and “[n]o subsequent Revolution is the result of a new definition of ‘Man’ | All such subsequent Revolutions constitute a reiterated development of the Gnostic definition in changing circumstances.”69 Carpocrates of Alexandria and his son Epiphanes took Isidor’s conceptualisation of immoralism to an extreme. Moreover, they were characterised by their hatred of the Hebrew God. In their vision, Jesus, the natural son of Joseph and Mary, recalled his earlier incarnation and spread hostility aimed at Hebrew laws and customs. Epiphanes claims, that – in the pursuit of redemption – one must sate all manifestations of sensual pleasure and debauchery. Thus Gómez see the anti-Hebraic nature of Gnosticism: “The Gnostic is inevitably anti-Semitic since he must degrade the Creator to the level of the Demiurge.”70

dav5.jpgAnother famous Gnostic is Valentine, who studied Platonism and the secret wisdom of Egypt in Alexandria, and who attended Isidore’s lectures. He established two schools: the Eastern (Alexandria) and the Italian (Rome). The Eastern School interprets the Book of Genesis and the Evangelia, and develops the theory of the Eons which emanate in primordial pairs (Jesus is here one of the greatest Eons). There is a fundamental difference between the ‘good god’ (the Most High primordial Absolute71) and the Demiurge of the world. Equally, Man is represented dualistically. Within him co-exist two elements: the first, originating from the Evil Demiurge and his Angels (impulses are the bad spirits); the second originate from the ‘good god’. Redemption is necessary. It is made possible through the revelation of Jesus Christ. The Eastern School speaks of three types of Man:

  1. Hylic, the seat of the Devil;
  2. Psychic, who have faith but no knowledge (these are capable of choice, to become either Hylic or Pneumatic); and
  3. Pneumatic, who have attained perfect knowledge (gnosis) and are certain to achieve redemption (redemption comes from their nature).

According to this teaching, Jesus’s corporeal form is only phenomenal [i.e. momentarily apparent] animated by the pneumatic soul, and comes to redeem the Psychic type. The Italian School speaks about the meandering wisdom which begets knowledge, and the Fire which – at the End Times – comes forth from the Earth and consumes all matter, along with the Hylic type. In due course of these considerations, Gómez again warns against pride and recommends faith and scepticism: “Scepticism and Faith solely inoculate against Gnostic Pride. | He who does not believe in God, may gracefully lose his faith in himself.”72 Gómez equally reveals his attitude to theological-philosophical speculation: “Where the sceptic does not smile, his metaphysics dissolve into Gnostic speculation.”73

Cerdo (the Syrian) was another well-known Gnostic of the ancient world. He underlines the dualism of the spirit and matter. He juxdeposes the ‘good god’ (the Father of Jesus Christ, the God of the Evangelia) and the god of justice and cruelty (the God of the Old Testament). Marcion, the son of the Bishop of Sinope, was a student of Cerdo. Excluded from the Church (144 A.D.) for advocating heretical beliefs, he founded a Gnostic church in Rome which existed up until the first half of the fifth century. In the context of the Marconite heresy, one can notice that Gómez takes a position in respect to the relationship of Gnosticism and Christianity:

Gnosticism and Christianity, starting from the same origins, move in opposite directions.
On the basis of a common definition of the human condition, the Christian draws the conclusion that he has been created, the Gnostic, that he is a creator.74


Christianity and Gnosticism concern themselves with the same subject matter. The feeling of ‘alienation’ was a common experience.
The state of ‘alienation’ is an historical constant, however it becomes more acute in times of social crisis.
‘Alienation’ is the abstract territory, within which either the romantic-Christian or the democratic-Gnostic answers arise.75

The ultimate answers provided by the Christian and Gnostic are radically at odds. The Bogotán provides an emblematic example: “‘Justice’ is a Gnostic concept. | It is sufficient for the fallen deity to assert its proprietary interest. | We Christians ask for mercy.”76

Marcion writes that the Biblical God, the Demiurge, is Evil and is opposed by the ‘good’ God of the Evangelia. This Gnostic advocates a severe puritanism and ascetics. His Docetist doctrine presents the flesh as the repulsive creation of the Demiurge, and rejects His Resurrection. Here, Christ is not prophesised by the Holy Scripture as the Messiah, and the baptism is reserved solely to the unmarried and eunuchs. Many contemporary Gnostic sects hold that Christ is a purely spiritual entity who liberates the soul, which derives from God but is imprisoned by the Evil Demiurge in the sensual world. Although researches consider that anthropological dualism is common to Gnosis and Neoplatonism, Gómez holds that “Gnosticism can be dualist or monist. | Gnosticism is a theory that concerns itself with the nature of the soul.”77 The dominant current of later Gnosticism held that reality is the deed of a free and radically Evil Power.

A particular expression of this idea is the doctrine of Manicheanism, which arose in the third century through the work of Mani of Ctesiphon. In its infancy, it encountered many religious traditions (in Persia, India and China) and later held that it completed the revelations of Zoroaster, Buddha, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. It speaks of two gods, two great and vying creative powers. Each deed of the Evil divinity is contradicted by a deed of the Good divinity. The conflict will come to an end when the Good divinity vanquishes his Evil opponent. Thus, Gnosticism – equally as the religion of democracy – is a relevant phenomenon.


The following are representative of contemporary Gnosticism: New Age, National Socialism, Marxism Leninism and the Psychoanalysis of Jung.78 These fanatical and anti-Christian currents are concerned with the liberation of Man by Man. The author of the Scholia writes that “the Gnostic soteriology ferments in the multiplicity of all modern sects.”79 Moreover, he directs our attention to another aspect of contemporary Gnosticism, i.e. to contradict the lessons of Original Sin: “The dogma of Man’s natural goodness is expressed with the assistance of ethical terminology that is central to the experience of the Gnostic. | Man is naturally good because he is naturally divine.”80

Given the history and characteristics of Gnosticism, let us recall what Nicolás Gómez Dávila has to say about democracy in his Scholia to an Implicit Text. Namely, he determines that democracy is not only a political fact, but also a religion. It is a religion in which Man takes the place of God. The thinker describes this as a “metaphysical perversion”81 and highlights its Gnostic and Satanic background. In the opinion of the Author of the Scholia, contemporary Man behaves as if he were sovereign and as if he alone were capable of deciding questions of Good and Evil, Truth and Falsity, Beauty and Ugliness. A consequence of this worldview and attitude is that the modern world is a spectacle of iniquity.

To Gómez Dávila, democracy is an “Empire of lies”82 in which the masses are hypnotised by pro-liberal propaganda, while terror and slavery reign. The main vehicle of despotic governance is the rule of positivist law83 and a bureaucracy which rapidly becomes its own objective. Bureaucracy oppresses, and its excess are naturally repellent.84 The resulting falsity and disgust felt towards democracy among those who are so repelled is particularly apparent during elections, when democrats commit the most egregious frauds to flatter the masses. This leads to a situation where the masses are bribed with the “promise of another’s property”85 as well as selling one’s self “to the wealthy, for cash | to the poor, in installments.”86 Democratic politicians are ultimately simple frauds who “benefit from their robbery.”87 Thus the thinker believes that “among those popularly elected, those worthy of respect are only the imbeciles – the intelligent man, on the other hand, to be elected, must lie.”88 Moreover, “[w]here those popularly elected do not belong to the lowest intellectual, moral and social class, we can be certain that anti-democratic forces interfered with the natural progress of the democratic process.”89 As a consequence, Dávila further adds that “[i]n a democracy, the ‘Man of principle’ is worth barely a little more [i.e. than the democratic Man].”90

Generally, Gómez Dávila considers politics – as a typically democratic activity – as a “necessary Evil” and “a subordinate activity.”91 In the eyes of the Bogotán Recluse, democracy principally demoralises Man. Not just because of the persistent and enduring culture of falsehood, but also due to the inevitable temporariness of all laws, regulations and political arrangements. Thus, only the unscrupulous are capable of reaching the heights of democratic society, which in turn deepens the corruption of the masses.


The immediately obvious reason for this is because the ruling elite of a democracy cannot pass any reform without guaranteeing their electoral support. Meanwhile, a majority of the electors are unable to truly appreciate the issues on which they are to decide, either directly or indirectly. These characteristic contradictions of the democratic process and democratic man precipitate numerous crises: “the more serious the problem, the greater the number of incompetents who democracy calls upon to provide solutions.”92 Moreover, Gómez Dávila notes that in a democracy there are numerous matters which it is not permitted to raise in public: “race, social illness, the climate of the times, all appear to be corrosive substances [to the democratic status quo].”93 For example, equality is incessantly discussed among the demos. However, the author of the Scholia holds that “people are less equal than they say, but more than they think,” and “if people were to be born equal, they would invent inequality to kill the boredom.”94 He adds that “hierarchy is heavenly”95 and the truly equal are only those condemned to hell.

It is therefore unsurprising that Nicolás Gómez Dávila considers the word “democrat” to be a uniquely pejorative epithet: “the uplift that is felt before Greek literature and art obscures [i.e for future generations] the true nature of Greek Man: jealous, traitorous, sportsman, democrat and deviant.”96 The Columbian, whose work shows him to be the friend of genuine diversity and plurality, cannot in any way accept the presence of the democrat [i.e. due to the democrat’s levelling tendency]. Thus, he arrives to the conclusion that the “height of reactionary wisdom would depend on finding a place even for the democrat.”97

If we realise that the Columbian philosopher is above all the implacable enemy of a progress which is typical for the democrat, as well as his idolatrous worship of science and technology, then it becomes clear that his only response to the modern era is total isolation and solitude. Gómez Dávila is aware of the consequences of these beliefs, and is ready to face them. To him, this is the price of independence and integrity.98 He writes: “The struggle against the modern world must be carried out in solitude. | Where there are two, there is treachery.”99

– Krzysztof Urbanek is a scholar of the work of Nicolás Gómez Dávila and has dedicated his career to translating the work of the Colombian reactionary thinker from Spanish into Polish. His latest work is the 1054 page volume Scholia do Tekstu Implicite (Warsaw: Furta Sacra, 2014).


  1. Furta Sacra Publishing

    [This is a translation from a draft of the original Polish unpublished manuscript by Dr. Krzysztof Urbanek of Furta Sacra publishing, dated 14 April 2016. The translator’s editorial comments are contained within parentheses in the body of the text and footnotes that follow.]

  2. [Throughout this article, Dr. Urbanek will refer to Nicolás Gómez Dávila as the “Author” (of the cited works) or as the “Bogotán” or “Bogotán Recluse” (Dávila being a native of Bogotá, Columbia), the “Thinker”, “Catholic Thinker” or “Philosopher”. These are used interchangeably. N.b., Dávila also referred to himself as “Don Colacho”.]
  3. Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Escolios a un Texto Implícito (Bogotá: Villegas Editores, 2005).
  4. Revista del Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario, Vol 81 No. 542 (April June 1988).
  5. The writer relies on the Spanish language edition of the work: Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Textos (Barcelona: Atalanta, 2010 [Bogotá: Editorial Voluntad, 1959]) pp. 55−84.
  6. Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Scholia do Tekstu Implicite, Krzysztof Urbanek (trans.) (Warsaw: Furta Sacra, 2014) p. 105. [Dr. Urbanek’s original text, which is his translation from the Spanish, reads “Każdy pisarz komentuje w nieskończoność swój krótki tekst pierwotny”. The Spanish original was not available to the translator. For the most recent publication of Dávila’s work in English, Anglophone readers are directed to the bilingual edition of his selected aphorisms: Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Scholia to an Implicit Text (Bogotá: Villegas Editores, 2013). An online archive of English translations of Dávila’s work is located at the “Don Cloacho’s Aphorisms webpage”, <don-colacho.blogspot.com> (accessed 30 April 2016).]
  7. Dávila, Textos, op. cit. p. 59.
  8. [i.e. that communism best exemplifies the religious nature of democratic ideology.]
  9. Dávila, Textos, op. cit. p. 60.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Ibid.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Ibid. p. 61.
  14. Ibid. p. 62.
  15. Ibid.
  16. Ibid.
  17. Ibid. p. 62-63.
  18. Ibid. p. 63.
  19. Ibid.
  20. Ibid. p. 64.
  21. Ibid.
  22. Ibid. p. 69.
  23. Ibid. p. 71.
  24. Ibid. p. 72.
  25. Ibid.
  26. Ibid. p. 73.
  27. Ibid. p. 74.
  28. Ibid. p. 75.
  29. Ibid. p. 76.
  30. Ibid. p. 77.
  31. Ibid.
  32. Ibid. p. 78.
  33. Ibid. p. 79.
  34. Ibid. p. 80.
  35. Ibid. p. 81.
  36. [This is an interpretive translation of Dr. Urbanek’s phraseology. The original text reads: “Burżuazja zaś świadomie wybiera państwo laickie, aby nie musieć konfrontować „swoich kombinacji” z „wtrętami aksjologicznymi”.” The phrase “swoich kombinacji” is taken to mean the mendacity and craftiness of modern Man’s subjective whims, and the “wtrętami aksjologicznymi” is literally translated as an “interfering axiology”. The distinction being drawn by Dr. Urbanek between the two terms is greater than the mere opposition between the subjective and the objective; what is being described is the inversion of the Divine (or natural) order.]
  37. Dávila, Textos, op. cit. p. 81.
  38. Ibid.
  39. Ibid.
  40. Ibid. p. 82.
  41. Ibid. p. 83.
  42. [This is an interpretative translation of Dr. Urbanek’s text. The original words are: “Gómez pisze o znudzeniu i okrucieństwie człowieka, naśladującego wszechmoc Boga.” A literal translation may suggest that the boredom and cruelty of Man is a result of Man’s imitation of God; however, a clearer translation requires the interpolation, into the original text, that the boredom and cruelty is a function of the failed imitation, and furthermore, that any imitation of God is an exercise doomed to failure. Thus, all attempts to deify Man will deaden the individual spirit and dehumanise society. Taken in its context, this is understood to be the intended meaning of Dr. Urbanek’s original text.]
  43. [Here, the total reactionary rebellion – “totalna reakcyjna rebelia” – is the radical rejection of, and departure from, the deification of Man, or in other words, the return to a transcendent and hierarchical paradigm (social, moral and individual) which is antithetical to the demotic ideologies of the eighteenth through to the twentieth centuries. For more on this, see: “Transcendence and the Aristocratic Principle: ‘Throne and Altar’ as Essential Criteria for Civilisation and National Particularism; Defence Against Demotic Tyranny” in Aristokratia III (2015)]
  44. There is only one direct critique of Gnosticism in the two considerable volumes of the Scholia to an Implicit Text. See further: Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Scholia, Urbanek (trans.) op. cit. pp. 305-306.
  45. Ibid. p. 819.
  46. Ibid. p. 914.
  47. “Decidedly, Stoicism is the cradle of all error | (Deification of Man, determinism, natural law, egalitarianism, cosmopolitanism, etc. etc.)” (Ibid. p. 402).
  48. Dávila, Scholia, Urbanek (trans.) op. cit. p. 770.
  49. [This is an interpretive translation of Prof. Urbanek’s original text, which reads “Gnostycyzm mówi o identyczności poznającego, czyli gnostyka, poznawanego, czyli boskiej substancji, i środka poznania, czyli gnozy.” The word “identyczności” may be literally interpreted as “identicality” however “consubstantial” is used for the sake of grammatical clarity. The translator understands this passage to convey the notion that the relationship between the three concepts – the Gnostic, the divine essence and gnosis itself – is to be interpreted in an almost Trinitarian manner. The text that follows is of an elucidatory nature and its translation does not raise any caveats.]
  50. [i.e. when the animating intention to seek and achieve awareness comes from within the individual seeking gnostic redemption.]
  51. Dávila, Scholia, Urbanek (trans.) op. cit. p. 769.
  52. Ibid. p. 776.
  53. Ibid. p. 739.
  54. “Savior-saved” [likewise, Dr. Urbanek’s translation in his original Polish text is “zbawiający-zbawiany.”]
  55. Dávila, Scholia, Urbanek (trans.) op. cit. p. 774.
  56. [Dr. Urbanek uses the word “ideowym” which may readily be translated as “ideological”, however, the term “philosophical” is better suited for the English translation in the context of a reactionary critique of modernity.]
  57. Dávila, Scholia, Urbanek (trans.) op. cit. p. 775.
  58. Ibid. p. 1051.
  59. Ibid. p. 735.
  60. Ibid. p. 817.
  61. Ibid. p. 819.
  62. Ibid. p. 818.
  63. Thus, one may locate the historical basis for an interpretation of the following text of the Scholia: “Modern Man always discovers his soul in a filthy place – such as the paradigmatic brothel in Tyre” (Ibid. p. 775).
  64. Dávila, Scholia, Urbanek (trans.) op. cit. p. 770.
  65. [Dr. Urbanek’s original text is “Jednia” or “Oneness.”]
  66. Meanwhile, it seems that Gómez has failed to notice the Gnostic interest in Evil, when he writes: “The Gnostic does not ask as per Tertullian: Undem alum? but: Unde Ego?” (I am here, I am faultless) [Prof. Urbanek’s Polish translation reads: “Ja tutaj! Ja doskonały!”] (Dávila, Scholia, Urbanek (trans.) op. cit. p. 818).
  67. Dávila, Scholia, Urbanek (trans.) op. cit. p. 770.
  68. Ibid. p. 773.
  69. Ibid. p. 790.
  70. Ibid. p. 913.
  71. [Dr. Urbanek’s original words read: “prajednia najwyższa” which can be literally translated as the “primordial oneness that is most high.” Here, the treatment of the original text complies with the earlier translation at n 65 supra, adjusted for grammatical clarity.]
  72. Dávila, Scholia, Urbanek (trans.) op. cit. p. 776. [Prof. Urbanek’s original words, in the last line, read: “Kto nie wierzy w Boga, może zdobyć się na tyle przyzwoitości, by nie wierzyć w siebie.”]
  73. Dávila, Scholia, Urbanek (trans.) op. cit. p. 701. [The term “smile” here is understood to indicate a disposition of the spirit which is akin to a gracious and humble scepticism, being self-aware of one’s limitations, a sincere and honest ability to approach that which is doubtful or not readily understood, not allowing one’s self to be carried by a wounded ego, a certain levity of heart which reflects and informs one’s intellect and moral attitude.]
  74. Dávila, Scholia, Urbanek (trans.) op. cit. p. 769.
  75. Ibid. p. 773.
  76. Ibid. p. 774.
  77. Ibid. p. 819. See Gómez further: “The core of Pelagianism is the Gnostic definition of the soul” (Ibid. p. 818).
  78. See further: Witold Myszor (ed.) Gnostycyzm Antyczny i Współczesna Neognoza [“The Gnosticism of Antiquity and Contemporary Neognosticism”] (Warsaw: Akademię Teologii Katolickiej, 1996). [This work is unavailable in English translation.]
  79. Dávila, Scholia, Urbanek (trans.) op. cit. p. 648.
  80. Ibid. p. 818.
  81. Ibid. p. 587.
  82. Ibid. p. 315.
  83. [Dr. Urbanek’s original words read: “władza sądownicza” which literally translates as the “rule” – in a negative sense, as in the tyranny – of the judicial class or law courts.]
  84. Dávila, Scholia, Urbanek (trans.) op. cit. p. 480.
  85. Ibid. p. 126.
  86. Ibid. p. 621.
  87. Ibid. p. 985.
  88. Ibid. p. 974.
  89. Ibid. p. 978.
  90. Ibid. p. 893.
  91. Ibid. p. 409.
  92. Ibid. p. 39.
  93. Ibid. p. 638.
  94. Ibid. p. 516.
  95. Ibid. p. 564.
  96. Ibid. p. 1033.
  97. Ibid. p. 683. [Emphasis added by the translator. This is interpreted as an expression of Dávila’s Catholic charity and sense of inclusivity, that he would express a desire to locate a place even for the sacrilegious element.]
  98. [Dr. Urbanek’s original word is “bezkompromizowności” which translates literally as the state of no compromise on principal. Here it is translated for the sake of brevity as “integrity.”]
  99. Dávila, Scholia, Urbanek (trans.) op. cit. p. 482.

Citation Style:

This article is to be cited according to the following convention:

Krzysztof Urbanek, “Adversus Haereses: Nicolás Gómez Dávila Against the Religion of Democracy” Edwin Dyga (translator) SydneyTrads – Weblog of the Sydney Traditionalist Forum (30 April 2016) <sydneytrads.com/2016/04/30/2016-symposium-krzysztof-urbanek> (accessed [date]).

vendredi, 26 février 2016

Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Unknown Reactionary


Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Unknown Reactionary

There are two purposes for this article. The first is to introduce the ideas of Nicolás Gómez Dávila to the English-speaking American and European Right. The second is to motivate a more profound approach to his works, in their original Spanish editions and in Italian and German translations. (Sadly, the English translation is deficient.)

His Life

Colombia, like most South American countries, is a state with a high level of miscegenation; we can safely say that less than 15% of the total population could be considered white. This group includes mostly descendants of white Spaniards and descendants of other Europeans, like Italians and Germans, who chose to settle in Colombia instead of migrating to countries with more European population like Argentina or Chile.

This small white population usually — but not always — occupies the upper economic and social levels of Colombian society. The ones who don’t belong to these levels can be found in Colombia’s southwest and central small towns. Needless to say, this white population is not racially conscious, and they are marrying and procreating with non-whites prolifically.

Nicolás Gómez Dávila was born on May 18, 1913, in the city of Bogota, into a white family that belonged to the upper socio-economic levels of the city. He was a descendant of Antonio Nariño, one of the white leaders of the independence movement in Colombia (then known as Nueva Granada). When he was six years old his family moved to Paris, where he studied in a Benedictine school until a severe case of pneumonia forced him to be home schooled with private tutors. He obtained a solid classic education by learning classic languages (Latin and Greek) and modern languages (English, French, and German). When he was 23 years old he came back to Bogota, married, and never left the country again (with the exception of a six months stay in Europe), until his death in May 17, 1994.

He spent his whole life in a voluntary seclusion inside his home library, surrounded by a collection of more than 30,000 volumes, where he employed his time reading and writing. The Italian Franco Volpi, one of the most devout promoters of Gómez Dávila’s thought in Europe, condensed his life in this sentence: “Nació, escribió, murió”[1] (Born, Wrote, Died).

His Works

reaccion.pngAlmost all of Gómez Dávila’s writings are collections of aphorisms called — in Spanish — Escolios. Escolios comes from the Greek scholión, which literally means commentary. This term was used in old manuscripts for commentaries made between the lines by someone other than the original author of the text. These escolios have been compiled into his main works: Escolios a un Texto Implícito I, Escolios a un Texto Implícito II, Nuevos Escolios a un Texto Implícito I, Nuevos Escolios a un Texto Implícito II, and Sucesivos Escolios a un Texto Implícito.

Gómez Dávila himself gives us two reasons for this type of writing. The first is a quote used as a kind of warning on the first page of his complete works:

“A hand, a foot, a leg, a head,
Stood for the whole to be imagined”
— William Shakespeare, The Rape of Lucrece

The intention of this quote is clear. Gómez Dávila gives the reader fragments and pieces, and it’s the reader’s job to assemble them into a coherent body of thought.

We can find the second reason in Escolios I, in which he affirms “Escribir corto para concluir antes de hastíar”[2] (write curtly to conclude before weariness). This type of writing might be short in length but it is deep in content. An educated reader inevitably recalls Nietzsche’s aphorisms while reading Dávila’s Escolios.

His Thought

The influences on Gómez Dávila’s thought are easy to trace from the books in his library, the most notorious being Niccoló Machiavelli, Friedrich Nietzsche, Justus Möser, Konstatin Leontiev, Joseph de Maistre, Donoso Cortés, Maurice Barrès, and Charles Maurras.

Nicolás Gómez Dávila describes his own position as reactionary. Reaction could be described as a Weltanschaaung because it encompasses attitudes about every aspect of the world and human life. Gómez Dávila describes it in a certain number of escolios, but the most beautiful definition is given with a highly poetical twist: “El reaccionario neto no es soñador de pasados abolidos, sino cazador de sombras sagradas sobre colinas eternas”[3]: “The pure reactionary is not a dreamer of abolished pasts, but a hunter of holy shadows upon eternal hills.”

Is the reactionary a man of the Right? Gómez Dávila gives us the answer: “Aún la derecha de cualquier derecha me parece siempre demasiado a la izquierda”[4]: “Even the Right of any Right looks to me always too far on the Left.” From this Escolio we can see that he believed in the traditional Right/Left political dichotomy, wherein the Right represents order, hierarchy, and aristocracy, and the Left chaos, equality, and democracy.

Franco Volpi describes the Reactionary as “. . . aquel que está en contra de todo porque no existe nada que merezca ser conservado”[5]: “. . . he who’s against everything because there is nothing that deserves to be preserved.” We partially agree with this definition because, while the reactionary is indeed against everything, he’s not a nihilist because everything that he’s against comes from the modern world. The modern world, in all his forms, is the reactionary’s number 1 enemy. Democracy, humanism, equality, atheism, socialism, Marxism, Capitalism, vulgarity, and decadence are the tangible manifestations of this world.

The modern world is a cesspool of vices and decadence, which wants to establish them as the norm: “. . . el mundo moderno nos exigue que aprobemos lo que ni siquiera debería atreverse a pedir que toleraramos”[6]: “. . . the modern world requires us that we approve what it shouldn’t ask us to tolerate.” This escolio, written sometime before 1977, has become truer with every passing day, as every form of depravity and corruption is promoted by the modern world and those who are behind it . . . and the final goal of this agenda is very clear [5].

Modern man is a vulgar being who lacks all virtue and heroism. He is the mass-man, using the term of José Ortega y Gasset. He’s the Untermensch: “Los antiguos veían en el héroe histórico o mítico, en Alejandro o en Aquiles, el módulo de la vida humana. El gran hombre era paradigmático, su existencia ejemplar. El patrón del demócrata, al contrario, es el hombre vulgar. El modelo democrático debe rigurosamente carecer de todo atributo admirable”[7]: “The ancients saw in the historical or mythical hero, in Alexander or Achilles, the center module of human life. The great man was a paradigm and his existence exemplary. On the contrary, the democratic pattern is the vulgar man. The democratic model must rigorously lack of any admirable attribute.”

Modernity and its golem, modern man, are literally the destroyers of worlds: “El moderno destruye más cuando construye que cuando destruye”[8]: “The modern [man] destroys more when [he] builds than when [he] destroys.” We can see in this escolio that the agenda and final goal of the modern world were clear in Nicolás Gómez Dávila’s mind.

Of course, modernity’s favorite form of government is democracy, which is “. . . el regimen politico donde el ciudadano confía los intereses públicos a quienes no confiaría jamás sus intereses privados”[9]: “. . . the political regime where the citizen trusts the public interest to those who he will never trust his private interests”; and in the eyes of Gómez Dávila, Democracy is even “a metaphysical perversion.”[10]

But, what is the ultimate goal of the Reactionary in this world that he despises? Gómez Dávila couldn’t be more clear about it: “. . . izquierdistas y derechistas meramente se disputan la posesión de la sociedad industrial. El reaccionario anhela su muerte”[11]: “. . . leftists and rightists only argue about the ownership of the industrial society. The Reactionary yearns for its death.” The reactionary wants nothing less than the destruction of the modern world.

gomez-davila.jpgNicolás Gómez Dávila, being a devout Catholic, was also highly critical of modern atheism by affirming that “todo fin diferente de Dios nos deshonra”[12]: “every goal different from God dishonors us” and that we must “Creer en Dios, confiar en Cristo”[13]: “Believe in God, trust in Christ.” This spiritual aspect of life is what provides an adequate interpretation of it: “si no heredamos una tradicion espiritual que la interprete, la experiencia de la vida nada enseña”[14]: “if we do not inherit a spiritual tradition which interprets it, life experience teaches nothing.”

Also on the subject of religion, there is a highly suggestive escolio that says “Más que cristiano, soy un Pagano que cree en Cristo[15]: “Rather than a Christian, I am a Pagan who believes in Christ.” This immediately brings to mind Julius Evola’s “Catholic paganism” and James C. Russell’s writings about Germanized Christianity [6], which present something very different from the creed of universalism, equality, tolerance, and love.

Was Nicolás Gómez Dávila racially conscious or aware of the Jewish problem? The only escolio that could hint at an answer is: “El antropólogo actual, bajo la mirada severa de los demócratas, trota rápidamente sobre las diferencias étnicas como sobre ascuas”[16]: “The modern anthropologist, under the severe gaze of democrats, scampers quickly over ethnic differences as over hot coals.” The first aspect of this escolio to keep in mind is that he uses the term ethnic instead of the real term, race. Ethnic is the usual euphemism used for people when they don’t want to upset those who are not of our race. We can only speculate that Gómez Dávila didn’t want to hurt the feelings of some cafe au lait acquaintance, because he lived in a highly mongrelized country, and it is plausible that there was even some miscegenation in his own family.


The reactionary is different from modern humanity; he is strong, spiritual, religious, and aristocratic. He stands above and looks down upon the common beliefs, thoughts, wishes, and desires of modern man. He hates the modern world and wants its destruction. Despite not being explicitly aware of race or the Jewish problem, Gómez Dávila’s writings are valuable and insightful. He is obligatory reading for every man of the Right. 


In Spanish:

Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Escolios a un Texto Implícito, Selección (Bogotá, Colombia: Villegas Editores, 2002).

___________, Escolios a un Texto Implícito, Obra Completa , 4 vols. (Bogotá, Colombia: Villegas Editores, 2005). This includes the following works: Escolios a un Texto Implícito I, Escolios a un Texto Implícito II, Nuevos Escolios a un Texto Implícito I, Nuevos Escolios a un Texto Implícito II and Sucesivos Escolios a un Texto Implícito.

___________, Textos 1 (Bogotá, Colombia: Villegas Editores, 2002).

In German:

___________, Einsamkeiten. Glosen und Text in einem (Vienna: Karolinger Verlag, 1987).

___________, Auf verlorenen Posten. Neue Scholioen zu einem inbegriffenen Text (Vienna: Karolinger Verlag, 1992).

___________, Aufzeichnungen des Besiegten. Fortgesetzte Scholien zu einem inbegriffenen Text (Vienna-Leipzig: Karolinger Verlag, 1994).

In Italian:

___________, In Margine a un Testo Implicito (Milan: Adelphi Edizioni S.P.A, 2001).


1. Franco Volpi, El Solitario de Dios (Bogotá, Colombia, Villegas Editores, 2005), 19. This is a little book in which the author write a short biography and a short introduction for the ideas of Gómez Davila; and was published together with Davila’s complete works.

2. Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Escolios a un Texto Implícito I (Bogotá, Colombia, Villegas Editores, 2005), 42.

3. Escolios a un Texto Implícito I, 73.

4. Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Escolios a un Texto Implícito II (Bogotá, Colombia, Villegas Editores, 2005), 221.

5. Franco Volpi, Un Ángel Cautivo en el Tiempo (Bogotá, Colombia, Villegas Editores, 2002), 489.

This short text is the epilogue of Gómez Davila’s Escolios a un Texto Implícito Selección, a short (400 pages) selection of some Escolios.

6. Escolios a un Texto Implícito II, 102.

7. Escolios a un Texto Implícito I, 237.

8. Escolios a un Texto Implícito I, 204.

9. Escolios a un Texto Implícito II, 164.

10. Escolios a un Texto Implícito II, 336.

11. Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Nuevos Escolios a un Texto Implícito I (Bogotá, Colombia, Villegas Editores, 2005), 189.

12. Escolios a un Texto Implícito I, 82.

13. Escolios a un Texto Implícito I, 25.

14. Escolios a un Texto Implícito II, 333.

15. Escolios a un Texto Implícito I, 201

16. Escolios a un Texto Implícito I, 372.

Thanks to R.H for the proofreading.

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

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2016/02/nicolas-gomez-davila-unknown-reactionary/

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[5] clear: http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/09/white-genocide/

[6] Germanized Christianity: http://www.toqonline.com/archives/v1n1/TOQv1n1Francis.pdf

lundi, 18 mai 2015

Nicolás Gómez Dávila – Parteigänger verlorener Sachen

Till Kinzel Brust.jpg


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Donnerstag, 28. Mai 2015, 19 Uhr: Buchvorstellung

Till Kinzel, Paderborn

Nicolás Gómez Dávila – Parteigänger verlorener Sachen


tilldavila.jpgDer Kolumbianer Nicolás Gómez Dávila (1913–1994) bezeichnete sich selbst als »Reaktionär«. Sein Denken ist ein Gegenentwurf zur Neuzeit und Aufklärung. Gómez Dávila stellt alles auf den Prüfstand, was manchem Zeitgenossen lieb und teuer geworden ist. »Automatismen demontieren« kann daher als ein Motto seines Denkens gelten. Zweifellos gehört der Autor zu den bedeutenden politischen Theologen des 20. Jahrhunderts. Daß sein Werk lange Zeit nur einem kleinen Kreis zugänglich gewesen ist, liegt vor allem daran, daß Gómez Dávila sich nie besonders um die Verbreitung gekümmert hat. In den letzten Jahren erleben seine Werke aber immer größere Beachtung.


Das 2003 erstmals erschienene Buch von Till Kinzel ist die bis heute einzige Monographie über den lateinamerikanischen Denker. Nun legt der Autor eine stark erweiterte Auflage seines Buches vor, mit dem er alle Zusammenhänge des Denkens von Gómez Dávila beleuchtet. »Lesen heißt einen Stoß erhalten, einen Schlag spüren, auf ein Hindernis treffen«, so Gómez Dávila in seinem Werk »Notas«. Wer die Gedankenwelt des großen Philosophen begreifen möchte, kommt an dieser Monographie nicht vorbei.


Dr. Till Kinzel studierte von 1988 bis 1997 an der Technischen Universität Berlin. 1996 legte er sein Staatsexamen in Alter Geschichte ab. 2001 wurde er mit einer Arbeit zur Platonischen Kulturkritik in Amerika promoviert. 2005 habilitierte er sich für Neuere Englische und Amerikanische Literaturwissenschaft. Er hat an der TU Berlin, der Universität Paderborn und der TU Braunschweig gelehrt.

dimanche, 03 mai 2015

Der vergessene Reaktionär


Der vergessene Reaktionär

von Christoph Schmidt

Ex: http://www.blauenarzisse.de

Der Kolumbianer Nicolás Gómez Dávila ist einer der interessantesten reaktionären Denker. Nun erschien eine stark erweiterte Neuauflage der einzigen deutschsprachigen Dávila-​Monografie. Die Lektüre lohnt sich.

Zu verdanken ist das dem kleinen katholischen Lepanto Verlag: Er hat das erstmals im Jahre 2003 bei Edition Antaios erschienene Buch von Till Kinzel wieder aufgelegt.

Gestalterisch ungewöhnlich kommt dieses Buch daher: Das Format des vorliegenden Werkes ist ziemlich hochkantig ausgefallen und erschwert anfänglich das normale Umblättern. Nach einiger Zeit der Gewöhnung vermag jedoch das Format mit dem Inhalt eine Symbiose einzugehen. Die kernige Prägnanz des Textes harmonisiert mit der Haptik des Buches.

Ein Leben in Kolumbien

Prägnant ist auch der Einstieg: Der Literaturwissenschaftler und Historiker Till Kinzel liefert einige biografische Eckdaten und versucht Dávilas (1913 bis 1994) Wirken in einen historisch-​geografischen Kontext einzubetten. Dieser Passus ist merklich kurz gehalten. Das ist vor allem der Tatsache geschuldet, dass der Aphoristiker Dávila ein unaufgeregtes Leben im Kreise engster Bekannten geführt hat. Dávila nannte das „klarsichtig ein schlichtes, verschwiegenes, diskretes Leben führen, zwischen klugen Büchern, einigen wenigen Geschöpfen in Liebe zugetan.“

davila4b806f55eaf1e940407f0f7d_L.jpgDas wird auch dadurch deutlich, dass erst im Jahre 1954 das erste Mal etwas von Dávila veröffentlicht wurde – allerdings als Privatdruck. Dávila war davon anfänglich nicht begeistert. Er hat sich im Laufe seines Lebens kaum um die Verbreitung seiner Schriften bemüht. Kinzel orientiert sich an Dávilas Bemerkung, dass der Biograph nicht die Frage nach dem „Warum“ einer Person zu stellen, sondern vielmehr die Frage nach dem „Wie“ zu bearbeiten habe. Deshalb rückt er Dávilas Denken und Stil in dieser Monografie in den Vordergrund.

Doch Dávila war im großen Maße mit seinem Heimatland Kolumbien verbunden. Er war Zeit seines Lebens nur zweimal – in Form des Schulbesuchs in Paris und einer sechsmonatigen Reise durch Europa – im Ausland. Schlüssig arbeitet Kinzel das Verhältnis zwischen Land und Denker heraus und durchleuchtet Dávilas Beziehung zu seinen literarischen Kollegen. Dazu gehören beispielsweise der linksgerichtete Gabriel García Márquez und der langjährige Freund Álvaro Mutis.

Der reaktionäre Denker

Laut Kinzel zeichnet sich Dávilas Stil durch einen kurzen und elliptischen, also unvollständigen und verkürzten Ausdruck aus – eben ganz im Sinne eines Reaktionärs. Der Reaktionär besitzt nämlich kein geschlossenes System oder theoretisches Konstrukt. „Die Idee, die sich zu einem System entwickelt, begeht Selbstmord“, so der Kolumbianer. Dávila hat seine Meisterschaft im Aphorismus jedoch vielmehr als Glossen und Kommentare zu einem inbegriffenen Text aufgefasst. Sie würden quasi als Epilog zu einem nicht existierenden Werk fungieren.

Die Haltung des Reaktionärs zeichnet sich dadurch aus, dass er sich für die verlorenen Sachen einsetzt und als dessen Parteigänger handelt. Dabei war Gómez Dávila durchaus bewusst, dass die Kritik an der Moderne und einer fanatischen und dogmatischen Aufklärung kaum Gehör finden würde. Es gehe letztendlich darum, als Reaktionär würdig Schiffbruch zu erleiden. Dávila zeichnet sich vor allem dadurch aus, dem Leser die Fragwürdigkeit der globalisierten Welt vor Augen zu führen. Kinzel geht zudem auf Dávilas Vernunftbegriff und dessen Verständnis der Seele ein. Auch die ästhetische Grundauffassung und die Haltung zur Demokratie werden herausgearbeitet.

Vernunft und Ästhetik

Dávilas Denken beinhaltet einen reichen Strauß an Ideen, Vorstellungen und Einstellungen. Doch um jedweden Denker näher kennenzulernen, bedarf es immer zuerst einen Einblick in die Grundverständnisse desselben. Für Dávilas Denken ist vor allem seine Auffassung der Vernunft von Relevanz. Orientierungspunkt stellt bei ihm die sogenannte „Philosophia perennis“ dar. Sie beruft sich auf die Vernunft der klassischen Philosophie und hält an den bleibenden Thesen der abendländischen Philosophie seit Platon und Aristoteles fest.

Diese Auffassung ist jedoch nicht mit dem dogmatischen Vernunftbegriff der aufgeklärten Moderne gleichzusetzen. Daraus resultiert eine besondere Aufgabe der Philosophie bei Dávila – nämlich die Erkenntnis der Realitäten und die Wiederherstellung des Realitätsbezuges in der Gegenwart. Sie sei durch die Ideen der Moderne gleichsam gefährdet, die denkerische Systematisierung von Realitäten sei dagegen vernachlässigbar.

Besonders bemerkenswert bleibt Dávilas Bemühen um literarische Ästhetik. Kinzel dazu: „Sein Text gleicht einem Gemälde, zu dessen angemessener Entschlüsselung zweierlei nötig ist: genaue Betrachtung der einzelnen Farbpunkte (d.h. der einzelnen Sätze), aber auch ein Zurücktreten von dieser Detailbetrachtung, um einen Gesamteindruck des Kunstwerkes zu erlangen.“

Demokratie und Erbsünde

Ein weiterer wichtiger und grundlegender Aspekt im Denken Dávilas ist sein starker katholischer Impetus. Kinzel legt dar, dass ohne die Idee der Erbsünde Dávilas Philosophie nicht nachvollziehbar sei. Denn wer diese leugnet, wäre letztlich gottlos, da sich die Erbsünde mit dem Glauben an Gott in einer notwendigen Wechselbeziehung befände. Diese konsequente Haltung führt zur Kritik an einen säkularen Ethikbegriff.

Ähnlich kritisch beäugt Gómez Dávila die säkulare Heilsversprechung des egalitären Demokratismus. Dieser Begriff bedeutet nichts anderes als die Demokratisierung sämtlicher Lebensbereiche. Diese hochgradige Ideologisierung der Demokratie führe letztlich zu einem Antielitismus, dem eine wahrhaftig aristokratische Gesellschaft gegenüber stehe. Dávila übt damit scharfe Kritik an säkularen Konzeptionen jedweder Couleur. Der Reaktionär empfindet sich jedoch jenseits vom rechten und linken Parteienlager: „Die Linke nennt jene Leute Rechtsparteiler, die bloß rechts von ihnen sitzen. Der Reaktionär befindet sich nicht auf der rechten Seite von der Linken, sondern gegenüber.“

Empfehlenswerte Einführung

Kinzels Dávila-​Monografie ist uneingeschränkt all jenen zu empfehlen, die bisher noch keinen tiefgründigen Kontakt mit dem kolumbianischen Reaktionär hatten. Der Kenner der Materie wird sich wiederum an den nuancierten Deutungen Kinzels abarbeiten und sein Denken rund um Dávila konkretisieren können. Hoffen wir, dass der lange Zeit eher als konservativer Geheimtipp bekannte Dávila wieder vermehrt in die rechte Öffentlichkeit gerät. Verdient hätte er es.

Till Kinzel: Nicolás Gómez Dávila. Parteigänger verlorener Sachen. 215 Seiten. Lepanto Verlag 2015. 12,90 Euro.

lundi, 27 avril 2015





Ex: http://laiguana.tv

Aunque el gobierno neoliberal de Juan Manuel Santos se ufana en el ámbito interno de impulsar un proceso de paz con la insurgencia de las Farc, su política internacional (dictada desde Washington), en contraposición, apunta a desestabilizar la armonía y la integración regional. Así lo dejó entrever durante su charla magistral el pasado 8 de abril en Bogotá, el sociólogo y politólogo argentino, Atilio Borón, en el marco de la Cumbre Mundial de Arte y Cultura para la Paz, organizada por la Alcaldía Mayor de la capital colombiana.

Por un lado, Borón dijo que es un contrasentido que mientras la irrupción de China en la geopolítica mundial está desplazando el protagonismo del Atlántico hacia el continente asiático, Colombia se empeña tozudamente en impulsar la Alianza del Pacífico, un invento de Washington para contrarrestar la presencia cada vez mayor de Beijing en América Latina y horadar el proceso integracionista de la Patria Grande. De otra parte, agregó, el hecho de que el gobierno de Santos en forma por demás disciplinada haya aceptado las directrices del Pentágono para que Colombia ingrese a la Organización del Tratado del Atlántico Norte (OTAN), y al mismo tiempo existan serios indicios de que el Comando Sur haya instalado armamento nuclear en este país andino, da una clara señal de amenaza para la paz de la región.

El analista argentino hizo énfasis en señalar que la OTAN no es más que “la fuerza imperial de choque”, desde la cual Washington lanza su estrategia de ofensiva militar hacia diversos países o regiones del mundo, a los que determina o considera que constituyen amenazas para sus intereses. En consecuencia, señaló, el ingreso de Colombia a esta alianza militar extracontinental no aporta en absoluto a la paz.

Conflicto colombiano es pretexto para militarización de Estados Unidos

colombia-usa-flags-expat-chronicles1.jpgDurante su conferencia en el Teatro Bogotá, Borón con su característica capacidad dialéctica y didáctica a la vez, mostró cómo en Colombia se lleva a cabo un proceso de paz con un actor armado como las Farc en medio de un mundo convulsionado por múltiples conflictos, originados en buena medida por el declive del imperialismo estadounidense.

“La paz en Colombia es la paz de toda América Latina”, fue el título de la charla del reputado analista político y catedrático universitario, actualmente director del Programa Latinoamericano de Educación a Distancia (PLED) del Centro Cultural de la Cooperación de Buenos Aires.

En desarrollo de su exposición, Borón demostró el rotundo fracaso de la intervención directa de Estados Unidos en materia de combate al narcotráfico y a la insurgencia en Colombia, desde hace ya varias décadas. Trajo a colación el ejemplo del denominado Plan Colombia suscrito por el entonces mandatario conservador Andrés Pastrana con la administración Clinton (toda una estrategia de entrega de soberanía a Washington).

Dicho Plan que a los colombianos se les vendió como una “ayuda” norteamericana, resultó un completo fiasco, pues como lo graficó Borón en cifras tomadas de informes de Naciones Unidas, el narcotráfico en vez de disminuir, aumentó. En efecto, hubo un incremento exponencial de cultivos ilícitos tanto en México, Colombia y Afganistán, países en donde coincidencialmente Estados Unidos interviene directamente.

Además, la intervención directa del Pentágono, la CIA, la DEA y el Departamento de Estado en los asuntos colombianos ha servido para el enriquecimiento de empresas de armamento norteamericano y al mismo tiempo para la financiación de campañas de congresistas estadounidenses (que hacen lobby en favor de los consorcios que se benefician), así como para la presencia de Israel.

Es que de la guerra interna en Colombia no solamente se favorece en grado superlativo Estados Unidos sino también Israel, como bien lo anotó Borón. Desde 1960, el Mossad (servicio de inteligencia) y organizaciones de espionaje israelitas que operan bajo la fachada de seguridad hacen presencia en territorio colombiano asesorando grupos paramilitares y redes mafiosas de narcotráfico.

Juan Manuel Santos tanto como ministro de Defensa como ahora en calidad de primer mandatario prohija y aplaude la presencia israelita en Colombia porque como lo ha señalado en reiteradas ocasiones, sería “muy positivo” que este país “sea el Israel de Suramérica”.

Por todo lo anterior, Borón dijo que ojalá las negociaciones de paz que se desarrollan en La Habana entre el gobierno de Santos y las Farc lleguen a buen puerto porque el conflicto colombiano es el mejor pretexto para la militarización de Estados Unidos en la región.

El contexto geopolítico

La coyuntura de la realidad sociopolítica colombiana en medio de posibilidades ciertas de poner fin a un conflicto interno de más de medio siglo pasa por el declive del imperio estadounidense, el colapso europeo, y la irrupción, en consecuencia, de nuevos actores en la escena de la geopolítica mundial.

Borón pone de manifiesto en el actual escenario mundial el protagonismo de China e India, el retorno de Rusia, la debacle de la Unión Europea, las alianzas regionales y la decadencia del imperialismo estadounidense, factores todos estos que van a tener una incidencia directa en el devenir político de América Latina.

Es enfático en llamar la atención sobre el peligro que se cierne sobre el mundo y específicamente sobre la región, el declive de Washington, pues sostiene que en la fase de descomposición los imperios se tornan más represivos y sanguinarios y trae a colación ejemplos históricos como la etapa final del imperio otomano con el genocidio armenio (en 1915), o el caso británico con la brutal represión en la India.

En el plano económico, el politólogo argentino, demuestra cómo Estados Unidos se encuentra en la sin salida: por un lado debe más de lo que produce; por otro, es cada vez más progresivo el reemplazo del dólar en el comercio internacional. Y para complementar, suministra un dato más: mientras en este año de 2015 China construirá 15 mil kilómetros de vías férreas, en contraste, la nación norteamericano no construirá mi uno solo, con lo cual su infraestructura vial comienza a quedar rezagada.

A ello hay que sumar, dice Borón, la creciente desigualdad que se viene presentando en Estados Unidos con su consecuente quiebre respecto de su integración social. No obstante, es desorbitado su gato militar, así como es evidente también su cada vez mayor aislamiento internacional, lo cual queda reflejado, por ejemplo, en las últimas derrotas que ha tenido que tragarse la Casa Blanca, precisamente, en su principal zona de influencia, América Latina. En efecto, primero tuvo que aguantarse que dos países latinoamericanos como Ecuador y Bolivia le pusieran freno a su actitud sempiterna de injerencia en asuntos internos. El presidente ecuatoriano Rafael Correa cerró la base militar de Manta; y el mandatario boliviano Evo Morales expulsó a la misión diplomática estadounidense. Más recientemente, en la OEA (el Ministerio de las Colonias como la denominó Fidel Castro), el gobierno de Obama perdió por goleada cuando planteó su intervención en Venezuela. Estos acontecimientos, agrega Boron, eran impensables apenas hace unos años.

E.U. lanza feroz reconquista de América Latina para asegurar recursos naturales

En medio del imparable desmoronamiento del imperio estadounidense, Washington no se resiste en su propósito injerencista en América Latina porque es la manera de asegurar mediante artimañas y engaños (tratados de libre comercio, golpes blandos, Alianza para el Pacífico, terrorismo económico, alianzas militares) el acceso (vía el saqueo y el pillaje) a la rica biodiversidad que produce esta región para poder seguir manteniendo su descomunal patrón capitalista de consumo.

Por esta razón, Washington despliega su artillería militar en todo el continente, como bien lo esboza Borón en su magistral libro, América Latina en la geopolítica del imperialismo, que obtuvo el Premio Libertador al Pensamiento Crítico en 2013.


Estados Unidos, explica este reputado analista internacional, ancla su estructura militar en América Latina tanto en Colombia como en Honduras para lanzar sus aventuras. El mar Caribe está totalmente controlado militarmente por el Pentágono, que además cuenta con alrededor de 80 bases a lo largo y ancho del hemisferio. No es gratuito tampoco que en 2008 el Comando Sur haya activado la IV Flota, coincidencialmente poco después de que el entonces gobierno brasileño de Lula da Silva anunciara el descubrimiento de un gran yacimiento petrolífero submarino en el litoral paulista.

Obviamente que los pretextos para esta descomunal militarización de Estados Unidos a lo largo y ancho del continente son el narcotráfico, los populismos (como estigmatizan a los gobiernos progresistas de la región), las calamidades naturales y la seguridad continental. Falacias que ayudan a propalar los grandes oligopolios mediáticos de propiedad de los sectores decadentes de la ultraderecha latinoamericana. Por ello Borón exhorta a no confundirse: “el nombre de todo esto es petróleo”, y de esta manera explica porque toda la estrategia de desestabilización y satanización al gobierno de Venezuela del presidente Nicolás Maduro.

¿Si Venezuela, fuera productor de tomates o de papas, Estados Unidos buscaría derribar al gobierno bolivariano de Venezuela con la activa colaboración de sus lacayos de la derecha latinoamericana?, se interroga el politólogo argentino. No es gratuito por lo tanto el feroz ataque emprendido por la Casa Blanca contra el proceso político inaugurado por el comandante Hugo Chávez. 

¿E.U. tiene armamento nuclear en Colombia?

Borón cerró su conferencia en Bogotá, dejando un inquietante interrogante: “Colombia bien podría ser hoy un país en el que Estados Unidos instaló armamento nuclear en abierta violación al acuerdo internacional regional, mediante el cual nuestros países se comprometieron a mantener América Latina como una nuclearizada zona de paz”.

Si bien, agrega, el tratado suscrito entre Uribe Vélez y Obama que autorizaba la utilización de siete bases militares fue declarado inexequible por la Corte Constitucional de Colombia, “lo cierto que este tropiezo legal no ha impedido que Estados Unidos haya proseguido operando militarmente en ese país”.


vendredi, 09 novembre 2012

Nicolás Gómez Dávila: Aphorisms and the Modern World

Nicolás Gómez Dávila

Aphorisms and the Modern World

Nicolás Gómez Dávila
 "I distrust every idea that doesn't seem obsolete and grotesque to my contemporaries."

The reactionary does not extol what the next dawn must bring, nor is he terrified by the last shadows of the night. His dwelling rises up in that luminous space where the essential accosts him with its immortal presence. The reactionary escapes the slavery of history because he pursues in the human wilderness the trace of divine footsteps. Man and his deeds are, for the reactionary, a servile and mortal flesh that breathes gusts from beyond the mountains. To be reactionary is to champion causes that do not turn up on the notice board of history, causes where losing does not matter. To be reactionary is to know that we only discover what we think we invent; it is to admit that our imagination does not create, but only lays bares smooth bodies. To be reactionary is not to espouse settled cases, nor to plead for determined conclusions, but rather to submit our will to the necessity that does not constrain, to surrender our freedom to the exigency that does not compel; it is to find sleeping certainties that guide us to the edge of ancient pools. The reactionary is not a nostalgic dreamer of a cancelled past, but rather a hunter of sacred shades upon the eternal hills.

The Authentic Reactionary, Nicolás Gómez Dávila


Nicolás Gómez Dávila (don Colacho) was born 18 May 1913 in Cajicá, Colombia, into an affluent family. He was a prolific writer and important political thinker who is considered to be one of the most intransigent political theoreticians of the twentieth century. It was not until a few years prior to his death in 1994 that his writing began to gain popularity due the translation of some works into German. At the tender age of six his family relocated to Europe, where they resided for the next seventeen years. During his time in Europe, Gómez Dávila contracted a persistent illness which confined him to his bed for long periods, and as a result of this he had to be educated by private tutors with whom he studied Latin, Greek and developed a fondness for classical literature.

When Gómez Dávila turned twenty-three he moved back to Colombia, residing in Bogotá, where he met and married Emilia Nieto Ramos. Here, with his wife and children Gómez Dávila is reported to have led a life of leisure. Assisting his father briefly in the management of a carpet factory, he spent little time in the office, instead preferring to spend his time at the Jockey Club, where he played polo until incurring an injury (Gómez Dávila was thrown from his horse whilst trying to light a cigar.) Following this, he spent more time reading literature. By the end of his life, he had accumulated a library of approximately 30,000 books, many of which were in foreign languages. In addition to the French, English, Latin and Greek he learnt during childhood, Gómez Dávila could also read German, Italian, Portuguese, and was even reportedly learning Danish prior to his death in order to be able to read Søren Kierkegaard in the original language.

Gómez Dávila was also an eminent figure in Colombian society. He assisted Mario Laserna Pinzón found the University of the Andes in 1948 and his advice was often sought by politicians. In 1958 he declined the offer of a position as an adviser to President Alberto Llera after the downfall of the military government in Colombia, and in 1974 he turned down the chance to become the Colombian ambassador at the Court of St. James. Gómez Dávila had resolved early on during his work as a writer that an involvement in politics would be detrimental to his literary career and thus had decided to politely abstain from all political involvement, despite these tempting and prestigious offers.

During his lifetime, Gómez Dávila was a modest man and made few attempts to make his writings widely known. His first two publications were available only to his family and friends in private editions. Only by way of German (and later Italian as well as French and Polish) translations beginning in the late eighties did Gómez Dávila's ideas begin to disperse. Initially his works were more popular in Germany than in Colombia, and a number of prominent German authors such as Ernst Jünger (who in an unpublished letter defined Gómez Dávila's writing as: "A mine for lovers of conservatism"), Martin Mosebach, and Botho Strauß expressed their admiration for Gómez Dávila’s works. His most translated and final work, El Reaccionario Auténtico (The Authentic Reactionary) was published after his death in the Revista de la Universidad de Antioquia.

Gómez Dávila has many unique features that occur within his works, but perhaps the most famous literary feature he is famed for is the aphorism, which remains prominent throughout his writing. Not only is the aphorism used as an aesthetic tool, it is also a purposely deployed technique selected by Gómez Dávila as his method of choice, which he referred to as escolios (or glosses). This technique was used extensively in the five volumes of Escolios a un texto implícito (1977; 1986; 1992).

By definition, an aphorism is an original thought, spoken or written in a concise and memorable form; the term aphorism literally means a distinction or definition, coming from the Greek ἀφορισμός (aphorismós). In traditional literature, the aphorism is used as a mnemonic technique to relate wisdom and is found in works such as the Sutra literature of India, The Golden Verses of Pythagoras, Hesiod's Works and Days, the Delphic Maxims, and Epictetus' Handbook. In more recent times, the aphorism has been used heavily by philosophers such as Nietzsche and Cioran, both of whom share a number of ideas and perspectives with Gómez Dávila. Nietzsche himself used aphorisms heavily and even went so far as to describe why aphorisms are used – naturally in the form of an aphorism itself – “He who writes in blood and aphorisms does not want to be read, he wants to be learned by heart.” In regards to Gómez Dávila this is certainly the case, for he himself stated that aphorisms are like seeds containing the promise of “infinite consequences.” Thus, with a short but highly memorable sentence, an idea is planted in the mind of the reader, an idea that hopefully sprouts action, and with it consequences. Similarly in Notas, he stated that the only two “tolerable” ways to write were a long, leisurely style, and a short, elliptical style - since he did not think himself capable of the long, leisurely style, he opted for aphorisms. As indicated above however, Gómez Dávila’s use of the aphorism is not merely a stylistic reference; these short but effective phrases are part of his ‘reactionary’ tactic, which he hurls like bombs into readers minds – where they either detonate or take root, sprouting into the ‘consequences’ their author hoped for. In his own words, he describes his use of aphorisms:

[to] write the second way is to grab the item in its most abstract form, when he is born, or when he dies leaving a pure schema. The idea here is a cross burning, a light bulb. Endless consequences of it will come, not yet but [a] germ, and promise themselves enclosed. Whoever writes well but not touching the surface of the idea, [there] a diamond lasts. The ideas and plays extend the air space. Their relationships are secret, [their] roots hidden. The thought that unites and leads is not revealed in their work, but their fruits [are] unleashed on archipelagos that crop alone in an unknown sea.1

According to Gómez Dávila, in the modern era the reactionary cannot hope to formulate arguments that will convince his opponent, because he does not share any assumptions with his opponent. Moreover, even if the reactionary could argue from certain shared assumptions, modern man’s dogmatism prevents him from listening to different opinions and ideas. Faced with this situation, the reactionary should instead write aphorisms to illicit a response rather than engaging in direct debate. Gómez Dávila compares his aphorisms to shots fired by a guerrilla from behind a thicket on any idea that dares advance along the road. Thus, the reactionary will not convince his opponent, but he may convert him.2 Furthermore, the aphorisms themselves are not written in isolation – when placed together in their context they are equally as informative as any normally composed text could hope to be.

Another function that Gómez Dávila’s aphorisms served was, as their Spanish title (Escolios a un Texto Implícito) suggests, as notes on books he had read. The Spanish word escolio comes from the Greek σχόλιον (scholion). This word is used to describe the annotations made by ancient and medieval scribes and students in the margins of their texts. Many of these aphorisms may therefore be allusions to other works. They constitute the briefest of summaries of books he read and conclusions he had drawn from these works or judgments on these texts.3

Gómez Dávila was a truly devout Christian, and his strand of religious thought is deeply entwined with his ideas on politics, democracy and society as a whole. This is a central concept in understanding Gómez Dávila’s work. However, not all of his thoughts resonated with other religious thinkers of his era, for he realised that his contemporaries were incapable of revitalising either Christianity or Catholicism and thus were not able to ensure the survival of the church in the modern era. Not only did this aggravate some of his fellow Catholics, they also were wary of Gómez Dávila due to his appreciation of authors such as such as Nietzsche and Heidegger, who are not usually regarded as being affable to Christianity.

In regards to the way religion is combined with his political thought, Gómez Dávila, interprets democracy as “less a political fact than a metaphysical perversion” and is a harsh critic of ideology. He defines democracy as “an anthropotheist religion,” which he believes is a methodology that seeks to elevate the common man to a plane above God – which he believes to be a dangerous and unprecedented level of religious anthropocentricism. Though this may sound odd at first, Gómez Dávila is by no means the only author who has claimed that democracy incorporates a religious element into it, and even some contemporary political scientists have asserted that democracy functions as a political religion. Gómez Dávila interpreted the vital sign of democracy being a political religion as the modern state’s hostility to traditional religions, which he believed was because a true religious authority was capable of challenging a government – thus the power of religion has to be curbed in order for the government to have full, unmediated control of the people – and as a consequence of this a democracy had to replace religion by adopting ‘quasi-religious’ elements. It is this light, that contrary to public opinion, Gómez Dávila does not see democracy as a promise of liberation; on the contrary to him democracy represents a loss of freedom. Since democracy has achieved hegemony, spiritual and cultural matters have become secondary to politics, and today when a citizen is branded as a ‘heretic’ is not because of his rejection of a religion, but because they dare to question the controlling political regime. In this regard, Gómez Dávila questions democracy, but he should be regarded as a critic and not an opponent, for as mentioned earlier Gómez Dávila had no interest in a political agenda. To Gómez Dávila, democracy was a political religion that encouraged the exaltation of the cult of individualism to a dangerous status, which set an individual on an undeserved plateau above God and eroded genuine metaphysical belief but replaced it with nothing substantial. However he was not a blind devotee or fundamentalist either, for Gómez Dávila was also a powerful critic of the Church as well as democracy.


Another feature at play within Gómez Dávila’s writing is that he believes equality to be a social construct of modernity – whilst equality levels the playing field for some individuals, for others it hobbles them. Effectively, it creates a mythical average citizen who does not in actuality exist, raising one individual to an elevated position and demoting another. Rather than recognising individual qualities and merits, it removes all hierarchies – not only the negative hierarchies, but also the positive ones. All variation is lost and replaced by the ‘myth of the average’ – and if Gómez Dávila’s interpretation of democracy as a political religion is correct, it then denounces religion and evaluates the mythical ‘average citizen’ to a theoretical level of freedom wherein the ‘average citizen’ is a substitute for the very pinnacle of the religious hierarchy – God. Thus, Gómez Dávila criticises democracy because it seeks to replace the sacred with the average and mundane man. And because democracy replaces religion, it is for this reason that criticism of democracy is the taboo of the West, and the modern equivalent to heresy. Thus, the modern ideologies such as liberalism, democracy, and socialism, were the main targets of Gómez Dávila's criticism, because the world influenced by these ideologies appeared to him decadent and corrupt.

In order to critique ideas, Gómez Dávila created the figure of the ‘reactionary’ as his unmistakable literary mask which he developed into a distinctive type of thinking about the modern world as such. This is explained in The Authentic Reactionary, which refers to one of his most well-known works, El reaccionario auténtico, originally published in Revista Universidad de Antioquia 240 (April-June 1995), 16–19. By adopting this label, Gómez Dávila is defining himself as one who sits in opposition. This is not simply a matter of placing Gómez Dávila into a neat political pigeonhole for clearly defined and organised policies – because he turned down prestigious political positions, and certainly didn’t intend to advocate any political platforms in his literary work. The reactionary is for him not at all a political activist who wants to restore old conditions, but rather a “passenger who suffers a shipwreck with dignity”; the reactionary is “that fool, who possesses the vanity to judge history, and the immorality to come to terms with it.”4 He did not mean to identify himself exclusively with a narrow political position. In several aphorisms, he acknowledged that there is no possibility of reversing the course of history. Rather, the reactionary’s task is to be the guardian of heritages, even the heritage of revolutionaries. This certainly does not mean that Gómez Dávila made his peace with democracy; all it means is that he also did not allow himself to be deluded by promises of the restoration of the old order.5 As we see below;

The existence of the authentic reactionary is usually a scandal to the progressive. His presence causes a vague discomfort. In the face of the reactionary attitude the progressive experiences a slight scorn, accompanied by surprise and restlessness. In order to soothe his apprehensions, the progressive is in the habit of interpreting this unseasonable and shocking attitude as a guise for self-interest or as a symptom of stupidity; but only the journalist, the politician, and the fool are not secretly flustered before the tenacity with which the loftiest intelligences of the West, for the past one hundred fifty years, amass objections against the modern world.6

In this regard Gómez Dávila does not seek to eliminate the concept we know of as ‘modernity’, which he sees as an impossible task. Instead he provides a criticism of modernity, disputing that is natural and that it leads to a false conception of progress. The illusionary doctrine of progress, to Gómez Dávila’s way of thinking is a myth which has been deployed to help enslave workers to capitalism and industrial society, by effectively manipulating the population to believe that they helping to make the world a better place, when effectively the real event that is taking place is that they only serving to make capitalism and consumerism more efficient. The illusion of progress acts as a placebo effect to make the citizens feel better about themselves in a world where god and religion has long since perished, replaced by blind faith in the power of the state. “In order to heal the patient, which it wounded in the 19th century, industrial society had to numb his mind [to pain] in the 20th century.”7

By defending cultural and spiritual heritage, however, Gómez Dávila is not advocating a return to the past – rather be is strategically deploying this as a method to cut ties with the present and create a different future, for in his own words: "To innovate without breaking a tradition we must free ourselves from our immediate predecessors linking us to our remote predecessors".8 Gómez Dávila believes that "The modern world resulted from the confluence of three independent causal series: population growth, democratic propaganda, [and] the industrial revolution" (Successive Scholia, 161). This in turn led to further developments and propaganda which effectively restructured traditional belief and "replaced the myth of a bygone golden age of a future with the plastic age" (Scholia II, 88) leading us to a world where consumerism eventually will replace both religion and politics - "The Gospels and the Communist Manifesto pale, the future is in the hands of Coca-Cola and pornography" (Successive Scholia, 181).

Therefore Gómez Dávila’s stance, dispersed through an assortment of brief aphorisms, becomes much more perceptible to the casual reader in light of The Authentic Reactionary, which for English readers (who as yet are not able to read all of his writing in translation) becomes a pivotal key in understanding Gómez Dávila’s work. The reactionary does not act in isolation from history and modernity, rather he seeks to challenge what he perceives as a false doctrine of progress and looks back in retrospect not to recreate the ancient past, but rather to generate ideas which link modernity to tradition, in order to create real progress by offering an alternative to the current regime of mass consumerism, capitalism and other destructive political ideologies. It is incorrect to locate Gómez Dávila in any existing political paradigm, because there is simply nothing which matches his core ideas…and as such he is correctly identified as what he labelled himself – a ‘reactionary’. His reactionary stance comes close to touching on the topics at the core of writers such as Guénon and Evola, but in regard to linking spiritual and cultural decline to political origins, he actually goes further beyond their ideas to suggest that as an inevitable side product of consumerism, destroying belief in a higher power or God would benefit capitalism and help corporations control the people by encouraging self-indulgent attitudes. Thus politics replaces spirituality, and the citizen replaces god with disguised worship of the state, who in turn rewards them with consumerism. The authentic reactionary is someone who is aware of problems like this in society and provides an intellectual critique of the system whilst remaining aloof from it:

History for the reactionary is a tatter, torn from man’s freedom, fluttering in the breath of destiny. The reactionary cannot be silent because his liberty is not merely a sanctuary where man escapes from deadening routine and takes refuge in order to be his own master. In the free act the reactionary does not just take possession of his essence. Liberty is not an abstract possibility of choosing among known goods, but rather the concrete condition in which we are granted the possession of new goods. Freedom is not a momentary judgment between conflicting instincts, but rather the summit from which man contemplates the ascent of new stars among the luminous dust of the starry sky. Liberty places man among prohibitions that are not physical and imperatives that are not vital. The free moment dispels the unreal brightness of the day, in order that the motionless universe that slides its fleeting lights over the shuddering of our flesh might rise up on the horizon of the soul.9

The soul of Nicolás Gómez Dávila, the authentic reactionary, departed from his flesh in his beloved library on the eve of his 81st birthday, on May 17, 1994. Though achieving fame in Colombia, where his works are well read today, Gómez Dávila remains largely unread in the Occident. Whilst his writing achieved some popularity in Germany, much of it remains untranslated for English readers, which prevents his writing from reaching a wider audience. Hopefully a new generation of authors will appear to pick up the challenge of translating Gómez Dávila’s writing and help him achieve the recognition he deserves as a thinker and philosopher.

Main Works

Escolios a Un Texto Implicito: Obra Completa. Nicolas Gomez Davila, Franco Volpi.

July 2006.Villegas Editores.

Notas I, Mexico 1954 (new edition Bogotá 2003).

Textos I, Bogotá 1959 (new edition Bogotá 2002).

Sucesivos escolios a un texto implícito, Santafé de Bogotá 1992 (new edition Barcelona 2002).

Escolios a un texto implícito. Selección, Bogotá 2001.

El reaccionario auténtico, in Revista de la Universidad de Antioquia, Nr. 240 (April–June 1995), p. 16-19.

De iure, in Revista del Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Senora del Rosario 81. Jg., Nr. 542 (April–June 1988), p. 67-85.

Nuevos escolios a un texto implícito, 2 volumes, Bogotá 1986.

Escolios a un texto implícito, 2 volumes, Bogotá 1977.



1 Volpi, F., An Angel Captive in Time

2  Why aphorisms?

3   Why aphorisms?

4    The Last Reactionary

5 What is a reactionary?

6 Gómez Dávila, N.,The Authentic Reactionary

7 Ibid.

8 Duke, O. T., Nicolás Gómez Dávila: Passion of Anachronism, in Cultural and Bibliographical Bulletin . Issue 40. Volume XXXII, 1997

9 Gómez Dávila, N.,The Authentic Reactionary

Gwendolyn Taunton

Gwendolyn Taunton

Gwendolyn Taunton was the recipient of the Ashton Wylie Award for Literary Excellence in 2009 for her work with Primordial Traditions. Her most recent work is Mimir - Journal of North European Traditions.

jeudi, 19 mai 2011

A Brief Overview of Nicolas Gomez Davila's Thought

A Brief Overview of Nicolás Gómez Dávila's Thought





imagen47.jpgI: Introduction

The most subversive book in our time would be a compendium of old proverbs.

Nicolás Gómez Dávila was a man of wide-ranging interests, and his aphorisms reflect that fact. Although he was to a certain extent an autodidact—he received an excellent secondary education, but never attended university, instead relying on his voluminous library—he may rightfully be considered one of the great thinkers of the 20th century. Among the scholarly topics he wrote about are religion, philosophy, politics, history, literature, aesthetics, and more. Besides these scholarly interests, however, many of his aphorisms betray a more personal dimension, with intimate observations on topics like love and the process of aging.

Gómez Dávila by all accounts valued his privacy and was concerned primarily with finding the truth for himself. Why then, would he write down his thoughts and observations in aphorisms and even publish them, however secretively? Gómez Dávila was, quite possibly, writing a subversive collection of proverbs himself. He disavowed originality, and maintained that he desired only wisdom for himself, but despite his protests that he was not trying to convert anyone to his way of thinking, perhaps he secretly did harbor a hope that he might rouse a few souls from their dogmatic slumber. Of course, Gómez Dávila never resorted to a loud and vulgar way of awakening us moderns; he wrote his aphorisms so that anyone who happened to come across them might be inspired by a wisdom that is ancient yet ever young.

Unfortunately, this wisdom is largely foreign to us today, and precisely for that reason, so subversive. There are, then, quite a few aspects of Gómez Dávila’s work that merit closer examination.

II: Why aphorisms?

The first and most obvious is the very form of Gómez Dávila’s work: aphorisms. There has been some speculation about the motivations behind Gómez Dávila’s choice to write aphorisms, even though he himself gave the most important reason in Notas. In this early work, he stated that the only two “tolerable” ways to write were a long, leisurely style, and a short, elliptical style. However, since he did not think himself capable of the long, leisurely style, he opted for aphorisms. Aphorisms, according to Gómez Dávila, are like seeds containing the promise of “infinite consequences.” Another way to think of these aphorisms is to say that aphorisms are like the summits of ideas, which allow the reader to imagine the massive mountain beneath. The sheer number of aphorisms, then, helps take place of the long, metaphysical meditation Gómez Dávila wished for; each aphorism puts another in its proper context, and taken all together, they provide an outline of the implicit text mentioned in the title. But just as importantly for Gómez Dávila, these aphorisms, while providing context for each other, cannot be made into a thought-deadening system.

Another function that Gómez Dávila’s aphorisms served was, as their Spanish title (Escolios a un Texto Implícito) suggests, as notes on books he had read. The Spanish word escolio comes from the Greek
σχόλιον (scholion). This word is used to describe the annotations made by ancient and medieval scribes and students in the margins of their texts. Many of these aphorisms, then, are allusions to other works. They constitute the briefest of summaries of works he read, conclusions he had drawn from these works, or judgments on these works.

Finally, Gómez Dávila’s use of aphorisms was also motivated in part by polemical considerations. In the modern age, the reactionary cannot hope to formulate arguments that will convince his opponent, because he does not share any assumptions with his opponent. Moreover, even if the reactionary could argue from certain shared assumptions, modern man’s dogmatism prevents him from listening to argumentation. Faced with this situation, the reactionary should instead write aphorisms. Gómez Dávila compares his aphorisms to shots fired by a guerrilla from behind a thicket on any modern idea that dares advance along the road. The reactionary will not convince his opponent, but he may convert him.

III: What is a reactionary?

The second extraordinary feature of Gómez Dávila’s work is its “reactionary,” not merely conservative, content. “Reactionary” is mostly used today as an abusive epithet, sometimes as a synonym for that all-purpose slur, “fascist.” However, Gómez Dávila proudly labeled himself a reactionary and actually created a literary persona for himself as “the authentic reactionary,” precisely because of the stigma attached to the term. Gómez Dávila’s lifework was to be an authentic reactionary.

The term “reactionary,” then, demands some explanation. The reactionary, in the common political sense, is a rare breed in
America, primarily because of America’s own acceptance of the Enlightenment. The reactionary, in European history, as the name indicates, is fighting against something. That something is the French Revolution (and the Enlightenment). The conflict between the forces of the Enlightenment and the ancien régime was much more polarizing in Europe than it ever was in America. While America in the aftermath of its own revolution certainly witnessed its own share of power struggles between politicians with traditional, more aristocratic leanings (Federalists) and more radically democratic tendencies (Republicans), both sides generally accepted the legitimacy of Enlightenment ideals of liberal politics, which included democracy, individual rights, and a commercial society, among other things. There was, ex hypothesi, never any serious possibility that a group of disaffected American Tories would conspire to restore the authority of the British crown over the newly-independent United States.

Europe, on the other hand, and especially in France, the conflict between the heirs of the French Revolution and its opponents—the original reactionaries—still raged during the time Gómez Dávila lived in Paris. Indeed, reactionary ideals exercised a powerful influence over certain sectors of French society until after World War II. One important reason for the persistence of reactionary ideals in France was the Catholic Church’s own resistance to modern liberalism (e.g., Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors) and the persecution it often faced at the hands of secular governments following the Revolution, especially the ThirdRepublic. In France, Catholicism and reaction were often overlapping (though not always identical) categories. The tension between modern liberalism and reaction continued to be felt in French Catholic circles during Vatican II. Though reaction as a cohesive movement largely died in the wake of the Council, it has survived in some French Catholic circles to this day, most visibly among the Lefebvrites (SSPX).

Gómez Dávila’s brand of reaction, however, was different. He did not mean to identify himself exclusively with a narrow political position. In several aphorisms, he acknowledged that there is no possibility of reversing the course of history. Traditionalism, in his eyes, could never be a viable basis for action. Indeed, the reactionary’s task is to be the guardian of heritages, even the heritage of revolutionaries. This certainly does not mean that Gómez Dávila made his peace with democracy; all it means is that he also did not allow himself to be deluded by promises of the restoration of the old order. Moreover, in matters of religion, despite his disdain for Vatican II and his fierce adherence to the traditional Latin Mass, which he shared with most Catholic reactionaries, he recognized that the ordinary reactionaries, the so-called “integralists” of the period, were incapable of renewing the Church. For instance, he maintained in one aphorism that the Church needed to make better use of the historical-critical method of Biblical research—a suggestion which would make many ordinary reactionaries furious. Finally, his appreciation of some authors not usually associated with conservative Catholicism, such as Nietzsche and Heidegger, might make some “traditionalist” readers nervous.

If Gómez Dávila’s brand of reaction was different, what then did he actually stand for? For Gómez Dávila, the reactionary’s task in our age is to resist democracy. By democracy he means “less a political fact than a metaphysical perversion.” Indeed, Gómez Dávila defines democracy as, quite literally, “an anthropotheist religion,” an insane attempt to rival, or even surpass, God. The secret of modernity is that man has begun to worship man, and it is this secret which lurks behind every doctrine of inevitable progress. The reactionary’s resistance, therefore, is religious in nature. “In our time, rebellion is reactionary, or else it is nothing but a hypocritical and facile farce.” The most important and difficult rebellion, however, does not necessarily take place in action. “To think against is more difficult than to act against.” But, all that remains to the reactionary today is “an impotent lucidity." Moreover, Gómez Dávila did not look forward to the establishment of a utopia; what he wanted was to preserve values within the world. For this purpose, not force but art was the more powerful weapon.

Nicolas_Davila_Leben_ist_Guillotine_der_Wahrheit.jpgIV: Sensual, skeptical, religious

The third extraordinary feature of these aphorisms is Gómez Dávila’s unmistakable personality. Much of the pleasure of reading the Escolios consists in slowly getting to know this personality. While Gómez Dávila generally did not indulge in autobiography, in the privately-published Notas he was slightly less guarded about himself. In one line he declares: “Sensual, skeptical, and religious, would perhaps not be a bad definition of what I am.” These are the three basic strands of his personality and his work; they belong together, despite any contradictions the reader might think exist between them.


Gómez Dávila was aware that most people view sensuality and religion as contradictory, but he was determined to keep both these basic features of his personality together. He did not deny that sensuality, in isolation, can be a vice; instead of being discarded, however, it needs to be joined with love—love not of an abstract concept, but of an individual. Indeed, the object of love is the “ineffableness of the individual.” In Gómez Dávila’s philosophy, the sensual, by virtue of its union with love, is intimately united with the individual.

But, what exactly is the sensual? If the sensual is merely defined as the opposite of the abstract, an important element of the sensual will be missing. What is missing is value, an important and recurring term in the Escolios. “The sensual is the presence of a value in the sensible.” One of the most important ways of perceiving the presence of values—which are immortal—is through art. A good painting, for example, gives the spirit “a sensual enrichment.” True sensuality wants its object to enjoy eternity. This mention of eternity, in conjunction with the immortality of values, indicates the ultimate goal of sensuality. If the sensual as the embodiment of values, aspires to eternity, it must be a longing for the only being who is eternal, God. This explains why for Gómez Dávila it is not sensuality, but abstraction, that leads us away from God. This praise of sensuality may sound foreign to many Christians today, but one cannot help but be reminded of St. Thomas Aquinas’ statement: “It must be that God is in all things most intimately” (Summa Theologiae, I, q. 8, art. 1).


As has already been hinted at, Gómez Dávila shares with the Romantics and the forefathers of conservatism, such as Joseph de Maistre and Edmund Burke, a distrust of Enlightenment reason and intellect. His references to reason (razón) and intellect (intelecto) are rarely complimentary. Indeed, to avoid confusion with these Enlightenment constructions, he prefers to use the term “intelligence” or “understanding” (inteligencia) to designate man’s ability to perceive truth. The greatest truths, however, are often perceived not by means of abstract concepts, but religious rituals. This skepticism accounts, moreover, for his unsystematic method of composition and his preference for aphorisms. No system is capable of embracing the entire universe in concepts.
Not only is Gómez Dávila extremely skeptical of man’s ability to understand the world, he is also very cautious with respect to man’s ability to do what is right. “Good will” and “sincerity” are not excuses for our mistakes, but instead only make our mistakes more serious. Not surprisingly, he is a strong believer in the reality of sin.

Gómez Dávila, however, did not merely repeat old criticisms of the Enlightenment worship of an abstract reason; he turned skepticism into a strength. This can be seen from his discussion of “problems” and “solutions,” two words that recur throughout his work. Gómez Dávila turns their customary relationship on its head. For him, problems are good, and solutions are bad. His first, and most obvious, objection to solutions is that all the modern world’s solutions simply have not worked. Indeed, the modern world is “drowning in solutions.” This observation, true as it may be, still does not reach the core of Gómez Dávila’s objections to solutions. It is not only modern man who is incapable of finding solutions to the world’s problems; no man can devise solutions to his problems. Problems are not to be solved; they are to be lived out in our lives. For Gómez Dávila, man is an animal that has only a divine solution. Skepticism, then, is not a way of finding reasons not to believe in God, but rather of “pruning our faith” in God.

Another word that recurs throughout the Escolios, often (though not always) in connection with skepticism, is “smile.” I do not have time to make a complete study of the connection between skepticism and smiles, but I suspect that Gómez Dávila is the first philosopher to develop a metaphysics of the smile.


Some readers may be inclined to dismiss or at least minimize the role of religion in Gómez Dávila’s worldview. That would be a fundamental mistake, however, in the most literal sense of the world. The foundation of Gómez Dávila’s thought, of his being, was God. As seen above, his reactionary critique of the modern world is essentially a religious one. The reactionary rebellion, in which Gómez Dávila calls us to join him, consists of recognizing God for who He is, and recognizing man’s utter dependence on God.

“Between the birth of God and His death the history of man unfolds.” This is not a bizarre reversal of Nietzsche’s death of God scenario, or a rehash of Feuerbach’s thesis that man creates the gods in his own image. On the contrary, what Gómez Dávila is saying is that it is our belief in and knowledge of God that make us human and separate us from the animals. The ability to perceive mystery and beauty in the things of this world is unique to man; the apes do not feel the “sacred horror” that men feel. What results from this sacred horror? “God is born in the mystery of things.” This feeling of sacred horror is something each individual must experience for himself. For this reason, Gómez Dávila’s religion was intensely personal: “To depend on God is the being’s being.” “God exists for me in the same act in which I exist.” Indeed, the entire tone of his Escolios is one of contemplation in a pervasive silence, which is only broken by the faint sound of Gómez Dávila writing a comment into one of his notebooks.

At the same time, Gómez Dávila’s personal religiosity did not become an attack on religious institutions as such, and he always remained a son of the Catholic Church. Nevertheless, he was not afraid to criticize the Church. Indeed, he wrote numerous aphorisms lamenting developments in the Church, especially in the wake of Vatican II. To pick just one example, “the sacrifice of the Mass today is the torturing of the liturgy.” But he always strove to make sure that his criticisms of the Church were “thought from within the Church.” Much of the poignancy of Gómez Dávila’s laments stems, of course, precisely from his great love for the Church. Despite his disappointment with the present, he was mindful that there is no going back to the primitive Church of the Acts of the Apostles, much less to “the lone Christ of the gospels.”

Gómez Dávila’s Catholicism, then, is a combination of the metaphysical, the anthropological, the aesthetic, and the historical. Indeed, all the different threads of Gómez Dávila’s thought, all the many aphorisms, converge in his belief in God.

V: Conclusion

Finally, two suggestion for those readers whose interest in Gómez Dávila has been piqued by this short essay. First, Gómez Dávila cited Nietzsche in his epigraphs for a reason. He would have nothing but scorn for those readers who enthusiastically quote him without grasping his “very definite philosophical sensibility.” The reader should carefully ponder an aphorism before quoting it—and then only at his own risk.

Second, Gómez Dávila’s aphorisms are truly existential. For Gómez Dávila philosophy is not a purely intellectual discipline, but rather a way of life. Each aphorism should act as a call not just to discern the truth, but to assimilate it and to live it.


mercredi, 18 mai 2011

A Short Life of Nicolas Gomez Davila

A Short Life of Nicolás Gómez Dávila




davila-nicolas-gomez.jpgNicolás Gómez Dávila was born in Cajicá, Colombia (near Bogotá), on May 18, 1913, into a wealthy bourgeois family. When he was six, his family moved to Europe, where they lived for the next seventeen years. During his family’s stay in Europe, young Nicolás would spend most of the year at a school run by Benedictines in Paris, but would often go for his vacations to England. However, during his time in Paris he was beset by a long-lasting illness which confined him to his bed for most of two years. It was during this illness that under the direction of private tutors he learned to read Latin and Greek fluently and to love the classics. His formal education ended at the secondary level.

When Gómez Dávila turned twenty-three, he moved back to Bogotá, and almost immediately upon his return married Emilia Nieto Ramos. According to German writer
Martin Mosebach, she was already married when she met Gómez Dávila, and had to obtain an annulment in order to be able to marry him. However their marriage may have started out, it lasted for over fifty years. After the wedding, the young couple moved into the house in Bogotá that was to remain their home for the course of their entire marriage. There they raised three children: two sons and a daughter.

After establishing his household, Gómez Dávila, or “don Colacho” as he became known to his friends, led a life of leisure. Because his own father was for most of his long life able to attend to the family carpet factory, Gómez Dávila only had to manage the business for a short period himself, before in turn passing it on to his son. However, even during the time when he bore primary responsibility for the business, he did not pay excessive attention to it. Mosebach reports that Gómez Dávila generally only visited the office once a week at midday for about ten minutes, in order to tell the business manager to increase profits, before going out to lunch with friends at the Bogotá Jockey Club, where he was an active member, playing polo and even serving as an officer for a while. (He had to give up polo, though, after injuring himself on his horse—he was thrown off while trying to light a cigar.)

Gómez Dávila was in fact a well-connected member of the Bogotá elite. Besides his membership in the Jockey Club, he helped Mario Laserna Pinzón found the University of the
Andes in 1948. Furthermore, Gómez Dávila’s advice was sought out by Colombian politicians. In 1958, he declined the offer of a position as an adviser to president Alberto Llera after the downfall of the military government in Colombia. horre4305.jpgIn 1974, he turned down the chance to become the Colombian ambassador at the Court of St. James. Although he was well disposed to both governments, Gómez Dávila had resolved early on in his “career” as a writer to stay out of politics. Although some of his friends were disappointed that he did not accept these offers, they later concluded (according to Mosebach) that he was right to refuse the honors—he would have been a disaster as a practical politician.

Gómez Dávila instead spent most of his life, especially after his polo injury, reading and writing in his library. He was a voracious reader, often staying up well into the night to finish a book. By the end of his life, he had accumulated a library of approximately 30,000 volumes. Indeed, his family had trouble disposing of many of the books because so many appealed primarily to specialized scholarly interests, and because so many were in languages other than Spanish. (Diego Pizano states in
this article that Colombia’s Banco de la República has recently decided to acquire the library.) Gómez Dávila, besides learning French, English, Latin, and Greek during his childhood, could read German, Italian, and Portuguese, and was even reportedly learning Danish before his death in order to be able to read Søren Kierkegaard in the original. According to Francisco Pizano, Gómez Dávila regretted that he never succeeded in learning Russian—he started learning it too late in life. In addition to reading, Gómez Dávila enjoyed the company of friends whom he regularly invited to his home for lunch on Sunday afternoons. After the meal, he would retreat into his library with his friends for hours-long, wide-ranging discussions.

The result of all this reading and discussion can be found in our author’s works. Gómez Dávila, however, published these works only very reluctantly during his lifetime. Indeed, his first two works were available only to his family and friends in private editions. In 1954, at the urging of his brother Ignacio, he published Notas (Notes), a collection of aphorisms and short reflections, most no longer than a few paragraphs. In 1959, he published Textos I (Texts I), a collection of essays. The intended second volume never appeared. For nearly twenty years after these hesitant forays into publishing, Gómez Dávila re-worked what he had already produced into the aphorisms which constitute the bulk of his output as an author and for which he is best known. This period of silence ended in 1977 with the publication of two volumes of Escolios a un Texto Implícito (Scholia on the Margin of an Implicit Text). This collection of aphorism was followed in 1986 by two more volumes of Nuevos Escolios a un Texto Implícito (New Scholia on the Margin of an Implicit Text). A final volume of aphorisms was published in 1992 as Sucesivos Escolios a un Texto Implícito (Further Scholia on the Margin of an Implicit Text). notas-nicolas-gomez-davila-paperback-cover-art.jpgLate in life, Gómez Dávila also wrote two shorter pieces. The first, De iure (De jure) was printed in the spring 1988 issue of the Revista del Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario. His final work,
El Reaccionario Auténtico(The Authentic Reactionary) was published posthumously in the spring 1995 issue of the Revista de la Universidad de Antioquia; it is perhaps the most programmatic of his works. None of these works was published commercially, and none was ever printed in any great numbers during his lifetime. Notas, Textos I, and all five volumes of Escolios have recently been made available again by Villegas Editores, a Bogotá publisher. Villegas Editores has also put out a single-volume selection of aphorisms, compiled by Gómez Dávila's daughter, Rosa Emilia Gómez de Restrepo, entitled Escolios a un Texto Implícito: Selección.

Gómez Dávila himself did nothing to attract attention to his work. Indeed, his deliberate choice of obscure publishing houses and tiny printing runs seems almost intended to condemn his works to oblivion. Word of Gómez Dávila, however, began to spread slowly toward the end of his own lifetime. Strangely enough, he became best known not in his native
Colombia or in other Spanish-speaking countries, but in the German-speaking world. Philosopher Dietrich von Hidlebrand apparently was the first to make any reference in print in Germany to Gómez Dávila. A few years before his death, German translations of his aphorisms began to appear at the Karolinger Verlag in Vienna. Among the Germans who have professed their admiration of Gómez Dávila are several noted writers, including the late Ernst Jünger, Martin Mosebach, and Botho Strauß. Since his “discovery,” knowledge of his work has spread in other countries in Europe due to the work of a small group of devoted admirers, most especially the late Franco Volpi in Italy. Translations of his works are now also available in French, Italian, and Polish.

Gómez Dávila died in his library on the eve of his 81st birthday, on
May 17, 1994.

dimanche, 15 mai 2011

Gomez Davila, il Pascal colombiano che rifiuto il pensiero "corretto"

Gòmez Dàvila, il Pascal colombiano che rifiutò il pensiero «corretto»

di Alfredo Cattabiani

Fonte: Avvenire [scheda fonte]

Nicolás Gómez Dávila (Cajicá, 18 maggio 1913 – Bogotá, 17 maggio 1994)

Nicolás Gómez Dávila (Cajicá, 18 maggio 1913 – Bogotá, 17 maggio 1994) nella biblioteca della sua casa.

Nella biblioteca della sua casa, composta da trentamila volumi, trascorreva la maggior parte della sua giornata uno scrittore cattolico che si definiva provocatoriamente «reazionario»: Nicolàs Gòmez Dàvila, nato nel 1913 a Santafé de Bogotà e là morto nel 1994. Il padre, che aveva fatto fortuna commerciando in tessuti, era proprietario di una grande fattoria. Secondo le usanze della ricca borghesia colombiana, la famiglia si era trasferita per alcuni anni a Parigi perché il figlio ricevesse una educazione europea. Se ne occuparono i benedettini che gli insegnarono fra l’altro a leggere correntemente in greco e latino i classici antichi e i padri della Chiesa. Ebbe anche modo di perfezionare la conoscenza della lingua e della cultura inglese durante i mesi estivi trascorsi in Inghilterra.

Tornato a ventitré anni in Colombia, si sposò ed ebbe tre figli. Da allora no si allontanò più dalla sua casa se non per sei mesi nel 1949, per un viaggio nell’Europa occidentale insieme con la moglie. Preferiva viaggiare con la mente più che con il corpo. Dedicava la sua vita alla lettura, alla meditazione e alla scrittura, rifiutando molte allettanti proposte di carriera politica e anche la nomina di ambasciatore in sedi prestigiose come Londra e Parigi.

Pochi finora ne conoscevano l’opera, tant’è vero che nel 1990 José Miguel Oviedo lo chiamava nella sua Historia del ensayo hispanoamericano «l’illustre sconosciuto». Ed era logico che gravasse un imbarazzato, se non ostile, silenzio su uno scrittore che nella sua opera principale, pubblicata in più anni e in più volumi, Escolis a un texto implicito, sosteneva che tutto quel che è considerato «scorretto» dai nipotini del pensiero che si autodefinì «corretto».

Nicolás Gómez Dávila

Nicolás Gómez Dávila

Ora finalmente ne possiamo leggere in italiano una prima parte col titolo di In margine a un testo implicito, a cura di Franco Volpi. E’ una raccolta di aforismi sulla scia di Balthasar Gracìan, dei La Rochefoucauld o dei Pascal. Sono folgoranti distillazioni di un discorso più ampio che egli lascia sviluppare al lettore o meglio immaginare perché questi aforismi vengono presentati già nel titolo come scolii, ovvero commenti a un testo che essi sottendono. Ma questo testo, che altro non sarebbe se non il pensiero dell’autore se l’avesse argomentato sistematicamente, non si può agevolmente ricostruire se si è stati educati alla vulgata culturale neoilluminista, rivoluzionaria e strumentalistica che ha permeato le università e la maggior parte dei mezzi di comunicazione.

Certo, un lettore in sintonia con Gòmez Dàvila non può non ripercorrere immediatamente il ragionamento che conduce a un aforisma come: «la scienza inganna in tre modi: trasformando le sue proposizioni in norme, divulgando i suoi risultati più che i suoi metodi, tacendo le sue limitazioni epistemologiche»; oppure a quello sotteso a un altro: «La religione non è nata dall’esigenza di assicurare solidarietà, come le cattedrali non sono state edificate per incentivare il turismo», dove si coglie una critica a chi, pur in buona fede, ha depotenziato il messaggio evangelico in un generico assistenzialismo.

Ma gli altri lettori? Come interpreteranno soprattutto gli aforismi che sconvolgono le loro «idee ricevute»? Come reagiranno di fronte alla sua esaltazione del «reazionario», anche se Gòmez Dàvila spiega che «il passato lodato dal reazionario non è epoca storica ma norma concreta. Quel che il reazionario ammira di altri secoli non è la loro realtà, sempre miserabile, ma la norma peculiare alla quale disobbedivano».

D’altronde vale la pena di resuscitare parole come «reazionario» che furono coniate proprio da chi non ne condivideva le idee, cioè dai rivoluzionari?

Nella sua biblioteca si è trovata tutta la Patrologia greca e latina del Migne: il che ci permette di capire come il suo pensiero si fondasse sul pensiero cristiano più antico; sicché alla luce di queste letture può essere interpretata correttamente anche una sua affermazione che, isolata, sconcerterebbe: «Il paganesimo è l’altro Antico Testamento della Chiesa», nel senso che i saggi greci antichi, da Platone a Cicerone a Plotino, così come quelli di altre religioni, testimoniano di una conoscenza, pur imperfetta e incompleta, di Dio. Convinzione che l’accomuna a un’altra scrittrice del Novecento, Simone Weil la quale, come si rammenterà, scrisse proprio un libro intitolato La Grecia e le intuizioni precristiane.

Tante altre notizie su www.ariannaeditrice.it

samedi, 18 septembre 2010

La Colombie dénonce les accords militaires qui la lient aux Etats-Unis

La Colombie dénonce les accords militaires qui la lient aux Etats-Unis


COLOMBIE-I-_Converti_-2.jpgC’est une fin de non recevoir claire et nette que le tribunal constitutionnel colombien a adressé aux Etats-Unis. L’objet de cette décision était un accord militaire contesté, qui aurait permis à l’armée américaine d’utiliser sept bases militaires sur territoire colombien. Le tribunal suprême de ce pays latino-américain vient de décider que le traité signé à la fin de l’année dernière entre Bogota et Washington doit être déclaré nul et non avenu.


Les prédécesseurs du gouvernement du nouveau président Juan Manuel Santos avaient réglé l’affaire sans en référer au Congrès colombien. Après le prononcé des juges, la décision est désormais entre les mains du Parlement, qui pourra accepter ou refuser les accords et les couler éventuellement en un traité international.  Washington et l’ancien gouvernement colombien avaient justifié la signature de ce pacte en prétextant la lutte contre les cartels de la drogue. Un document émanant du Pentagone laisse entrevoir que les intentions réelles étaient autres. Ce document, en effet, révèle que les Etats-Unis ont l’intention d’étendre leur contrôle à d’autres régions de l’Amérique du Sud. Par conséquent, explique le document, l’autorisation d’utiliser notamment la base aérienne de Palanquero, située au centre du territoire colombien, offrirait « la possibilité unique, de mener des opérations dans une région ‘critique’ sur laquelle des ‘gouvernements anti-américains’ exercent leur influence ».


En utilisant ces bases colombiennes, les forces armées américaines pourraient effectivement contrôler l’ensemble de la région amazonienne, le Pérou et la Bolivie. La base de Palanquero offrirait, explicite encore le document stratégique de l’US Air Force, « une mobilité aérienne suffisante » sur le continent sud-américain. Actuellement, plus de 300 soldats américains sont stationnés en Colombie.


Cette coopération militaire avec les Etats-Unis a isolé la Colombie et fait de tous ses voisins des adversaires. C’est bien entendu le Venezuela qui se sent visé en premier lieu. A ce propos, l’historien colombien Gonzalo Sanchez a écrit : « Les Etats-Unis veulent surtout obtenir le contrôle de l’espace amazonien, avec toutes les ressources qu’il recèle, et surveiller le Brésil, puissance mondiale en pleine ascension ».



(article paru dans DNZ, Munich – n°35/2010).

samedi, 21 novembre 2009

Pentagon-Weissbuch: Der "Narco-Krieg in Kolumbien" zielt auf ganz Südamerika

colombiaUSbase.jpgPentagon-Weißbuch: Der »Narco-Krieg in Kolumbien« zielt auf ganz Südamerika

F. William Engdahl / http://info.kopp-verlag.de/

Bislang war die starke US-Militärpräsenz in Kolumbien strikt auf Einsätze gegen Drogeanbau und -handel beschränkt, soll jetzt aber zu einer Ausgangsbasis für Luftangriffe auf ganz Lateinamerika ausgebaut werden. Daran zeigt sich, dass die Bemühungen der Regierungen von Venezuela, Bolivien und Ecuador um engere regionale Wirtschaftskooperation unabhängig von den Vereinigten Staaten zu einem ernsthaften Problem für die Hegemonie der USA genau in dem Teil der Welt wird, den sie seit der Proklamation der Monroe-Doktrin im Jahr 1823 als ihre »Einflusssphäre« betrachten. Immer mehr Länder in der Region lehnen die Anwesenheit der USA als imperiale Dominanz ab und suchen nach Alternativen. Die verstärkte Militärpräsenz in Kolumbien ist ein bedrohliches Anzeichen dafür, dass die USA nun Druck machen wollen.

In einem Dokument, das die US Air Force im Mai 2009 dem amerikanischen Kongress übermittelt hat, versteckt sich eine Erklärung, wonach das Pentagon derzeit die militärische Präsenz auf dem Flugplatz Palanquero in Kolumbien ausbaut, und zwar, wie es in dem offiziellen Dokument heißt, »zum Zweck der Durchführung von Full-Spectrum-Operationen in ganz Südamerika …«.

Full Spectrum Dominance ist die offizielle Strategie des Pentagon, die Welt zu beherrschen und nicht zuzulassen, dass irgendwo ein Gegner erwächst. 2002 hat US-Präsident George Bush im Rahmen des Kriegs gegen den Terror erklärt, zur offiziellen US-Strategie (National Security Strategy of the United States) – inoffiziell »Bush-Doktrin« genannt – gehörten in Zukunft auch »Präventivkriege«, um jede Möglichkeit auszuschalten, die Dominanz der USA als alleiniger Supermacht herauszufordern. Gemäß dieser radikal neuen Präventiv-Doktrin kann gegen feindliche Staaten eingeschritten werden, bevor diese angreifen können, selbst dann, wenn diese gar keinen unmittelbaren Angriff planen. Die Doktrin von 2002 bleibt auch unter Obama offizielle Strategie der USA.

Der Ausbau des US-Luftwaffenstützpunkts im kolumbianischen Palanquero für »Full-Spectrum-Operationen« bedeutet einen klaren Verstoß gegen eine eindeutige Vereinbarung zwischen den Regierungen Kolumbiens und der USA, wonach der Stützpunkt ausschließlich für Einsätze zur Drogenbekämpfung innerhalb Kolumbiens genutzt werden sollte. Demnach dient der »Plan Columbia« nur als fadenscheiniger Deckmantel für die amerikanische Militärpräsenz in Südamerika, die sich gegen Venezuela und andere potenzielle Gegner richtet.

Beide Regierungen haben öffentlich erklärt, die militärische Vereinbarung beziehe sich nur auf Maßnahmen zur Drogen- und Terrorbekämpfung auf kolumbianischem Territorium. Obwohl Präsident Uribe wiederholt betont hat, das Militärabkommen mit den USA wirke sich nicht auf die angrenzenden Staaten aus, herrscht in der Region Misstrauen über die wahren Ziele der Vereinbarung.

Im Dokument der US Air Force wird der Zweck deutlich ausgesprochen: Die USA solle in die Lage versetzt werden, »Full-Spectrum-Operationen in einer wichtigen Region unserer Hemisphäre durchzuführen, in der Sicherheit und Stabilität ständig durch mit Drogengeldern finanzierte terroristische Aufstände … und antiamerikanische Regierungen bedroht sind …« (Hervorhebung durch den Autor – W.E.)


Die USA zielen auf Regierungen der ALBA-Mitgliedsstaaten

Das Militärabkommen zwischen Washington und Kolumbien ermöglicht den Zugang zu und die Nutzung von sieben militärischen Einrichtungen in Palanquero, Malambo, Tolemaida, Larandia, Apíay, Cartagena und Málaga. Darüber hinaus ist laut Vereinbarung »im Bedarfsfall der Zugang zu und die Nutzung von allen anderen Einrichtungen und Standorten« in ganz Kolumbien uneingeschränkt möglich. Kolumbien hat dem amerikanischen Militär- und Zivilpersonal, Mitarbeiter privater Militär- und Sicherheitsdienstleister eingeschlossen, vollständige Immunität vor Strafverfolgung in Kolumbien zugesichert. Durch die Klausel, wonach die USA berechtigt sind, alle Einrichtungen im ganzen Land – selbst kommerzielle Flughäfen – zu militärischen Zwecken zu nutzen, wird Kolumbien offiziell zum Satellitenstaat der USA.

Das Dokument der US Air Force unterstreicht die Wichtigkeit des Militärstützpunkts in Palanquero und rechtfertigt die Summe von 46 Millionen Dollar, die der Kongress im Haushalt 2010 für den Ausbau des Flugplatzes und der dazugehörigen Infrastruktur auf dem Stützpunkt bewilligt hat. Der Stützpunkt wird dadurch zu einer sogenannten US Cooperative Security Location (CSL). »Die Einrichtung einer Cooperative Security Location (CSL) in Palanquero dient der Theatre Posture Strategy der COCOM (Command Combatant) und stellt unsere Ernsthaftigkeit unter Beweis. Die Entwicklung bietet eine einmalige Gelegenheit, umfassende Operationen in einer kritischen Teilregion unserer Hemisphäre durchzuführen, in der Sicherheit und Stabilität ständig durch mit Drogengeldern finanzierte Aufstände, antiamerikanische Regierungen, weit verbreitete Armut und wiederkehrende Naturkatastrophen bedroht sind.« (Hervorhebung durch den Autor – W.E.)

Angesichts wiederholter Äußerungen des US-Außen- und Verteidigungsministeriums gegen Venezuela und Bolivien – Länder, in denen demokratisch gewählte Regierungen bemüht sind, eine Wirtschaftspolitik durchzusetzen, die eine faire Nutzung der Rohstoffe, besonders im Bereich Energie, gewährleistet – besteht kein Zweifel, welche Regierungen in Südamerika mit dem Begriff »antiamerikanisch« gemeint sind.

Im April dieses Jahres haben die Staats- und Regierungschefs von Bolivien, Kuba, der Dominikanischen Republik, Honduras, Nicaragua und Venezuela, allesamt Mitgliedsländer der ALBA (Bolivarianische Allianz für die Völker unseres Amerika), die US-Politik in einer gemeinsamen Erklärung kritisiert. Dort hieß es u.a.: »Was wir zurzeit erleben, ist eine weltweite systemische und strukturelle Wirtschaftskrise und keine normale zyklische Krise. Es ist ein Irrtum zu glauben, diese Krise könne durch die Injektion von Steuergeldern und mithilfe einiger regulatorischer Maßnahmen gemeistert werden. Das Finanzsystem ist in der Krise, weil der Wert der Finanzpapiere sechs Mal höher ist als der Wert aller realen Güter und Dienstleistungen, die auf der Welt produziert und erbracht werden. Hier geht es nicht um ein Versagen der ›Regulierung des Systems‹, hier zeigt sich vielmehr ein Aspekt des kapitalistischen Systems, die Spekulation mit allen Gütern und Werten, um maximalen Profit herauszuschlagen.«

In der Erklärung der ALBA heißt es weiter: »Die Länder Lateinamerikas und der Karibik sind dabei, eigene Institutionen aufzubauen …, um den Prozess der gesellschaftlichen, wirtschaftlichen und kulturellen Umgestaltung zu vertiefen, der unsere Souveränität festigen wird … Um den schweren Auswirkungen der weltweiten Wirtschaftskrise zu begegnen, haben die ALBA-TCP-Länder innovative gestalterische Maßnahmen ergriffen mit dem Ziel, echte Alternativen zu der zerrütteten internationalen Wirtschaftsordnung zu entwickeln, anstatt diese gescheiterten Institutionen weiter zu stärken. Darum haben wir das Einheitliche System Regionalen Ausgleichs, SUCRE, ins Leben gerufen, das eine einheitliche Verrechnungseinheit, eine einheitliche Verrechnungsstelle und ein einheitliches Reservesystem umfasst. Gleichzeitig fördern wir den Aufbau großer Unternehmen in den Mitgliedsländern, die unseren Völkern dienen, und führen Mechanismen für einen gerechten Handel untereinander ein, bei denen die absurde Logik des ungebremsten Wettbewerbs nicht mehr gilt.«

Weiterhin wird die Entscheidung der G20-Staaten scharf kritisiert, die Vollmachten des Internationalen Währungsfonds zu erweitern: »Wir stellen die Entscheidung der G20 infrage, den Betrag, der dem Internationalen Währungsfonds zur Verfügung gestellt wird, in einer Zeit zu verdreifachen, in der vielmehr der Aufbau einer neuen Weltwirtschaftsordnung notwendig ist, die eine vollkommene Umgestaltung von IWF, Weltbank und der Welthandelsorganisation einschließt, d.h. den Institutionen, deren neoliberale Politik der Bedingungen maßgeblich zur weltweiten Wirtschaftskrise beigetragen hat.«

Die wiederholten aggressiven Erklärungen des Außen- und Verteidigungsministeriums der USA und des US-Kongresses gegen Venezuela, Bolivien und auch Ecuador zeigen, dass Washington die ALBA-Mitgliedsländer als »ständige Bedrohung« ansieht. Ein Land als »antiamerikanisch« einzustufen, heißt, es zum Feind der Vereinigten Staaten zu erklären. In diesem Licht ist es offensichtlich, dass das Militärabkommen mit Kolumbien in Reaktion auf eine Region geschlossen wird, in der es nach Ansicht der USA heutzutage von »Feinden« wimmelt.


Sonntag, 15.11.2009

Kategorie: Geostrategie, Politik

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mercredi, 28 octobre 2009

La Colombie, dernier bastion américain en Amérique du Sud

COLOMBIE-I-_Converti_-2.jpgBernhard TOMASCHITZ:

La Colombie, dernier bastion américain en Amérique du Sud


D’ici le 30 octobre, le Panama signera un traité avec les Etats-Unis qui prévoit l’installation de deux bases navales américaines sur son territoire, vient d’annoncer le ministre panaméen de la justice, Raul Mulino. Ces deux bases navales, qui seront installées sur la côte pacifique, serviront, d’après Mulino, à “lutter contre le narco-trafic international”. En août dernier, les Etats-Unis avaient annoncé qu’ils installeraient sept nouvelles bases militaires en Colombie,  également, prétendent-ils, pour lutter contre l’internationale des trafiquants de drogues. Cette décision avait provoqué force remous. Le président vénézuélien Hugo Chavez, fer de lance de la gauche sud-américaine, a pu reprocher, une fois de plus, aux Américains de pratiquer une politique “impérialiste” et a évoqué “les vents de guerre” qui soufflaient à présent sur le continent sud-américain.


En effet, on peut sérieusement douter que l’engagement de Washington au Panama et en Colombie a pour objectif réel de combattre le trafic international de drogues. Certes, la Colombie est, au monde, le principal producteur de cocaïne mais elle est surtout le dernier allié des Etats-Unis sur le continent sud-américain. A titre de remerciement pour cette fidélité à l’alliance américaine, l’ancien président des Etats-Unis, George W. Bush, avant de quitter les affaires, avait remis au Président colombien Alvaro Uribe la décoration civile la plus prestigieuse, la “Liberty Medal”.


A la base de la coopération militaire entre Washington et Bogota, nous trouvons le “Plan Colombia”. En septembre 1999, le président colombien de l’époque, Andres Pastrana, avait annoncé que les forces armées avaient reçu le droit de lancer des opérations de police dans le pays. L’objectif principal, à cette époque-là, était de combattre les rebelles marxistes-léninistes des FARC, qui avaient plongé le pays dans une guerre civile depuis les années 60, ce qui avait entraîné la mort de dizaines de milliers de personnes. Bill Clinton, alors président des Etats-Unis, avait saisi l’opportunité de s’attirer un allié fidèle en Amérique du Sud, en apportant son soutien au “Plan Colombia”; il participa donc à l’élaboration de ce “Plan”, en l’infléchissant selon les conceptions américaines; comme l’écrit Robert White, ancien ambassadeur américain au Salvador, après que le “Plan Colombia” ait été accepté par le Congrès de Washington en juin 2000: “Si on lit le plan dans sa version initiale, et non pas dans la version écrite à Washington, on constate qu’il n’est pas question de lancer des opérations militaires contre les rebelles des FARC, bien au contraire. Le Président Pastrana disait à l’époque que les FARC constituaient une part de l’histoire colombienne, qu’elles étaient un phénomène de nature historique et que leurs militants devaient être considérés comme des Colombiens à part entière”. 


Sur base de ce “Plan Colombia”, au cours de la dernière décennie, la Colombie est devenue, par ordre d’importance, le troisième pays bénéficiaire d’aides militaires américaines, après Israël et l’Egypte. De 1999 à 2008, les versements américains n’ont cessé de s’amplifier, ont même centuplé et sont passés de 50 millions de dollars à 5 milliards de dollars. La prodigalité de Washington a un prix, disent les voix critiques. Le scénario se déroule comme le veut Washington: pour l’essentiel, les forces armées colombiennes recevront dorénavant des missions d’ordre subalterne, c’est-à-dire des missions de simple police ce qui, à long terme, renforcera la dépendance de la Colombie à l’endroit de son puissant allié.


Le “Livre Blanc” de l’armée américain nous dévoile quelle sera l’importance des bases en Colombie pour les Etats-Unis. Dans ce document de 36 pages, on nous explique que la base aérienne de Palanquero permet “aux avions de transport C-17 d’atteindre près de la moitié du continent sans devoir remplir leurs réservoirs”. De cette façon, Washington laisse entendre clairement que les Etats-Unis considèrent l’Amérique latine comme leur sphère d’influence exclusive, comme depuis 1823, quand leur Président de l’époque, James Monroe, avait énoncé sa célèbre doctrine. Mais finalement, les volontés hégémoniques américaines sur les Etats d’Amérique centrale et d’Amérique du Sud ont été nettement battues en brèche au cours de ces dix dernières années: Chavez, chef d’Etat du Venezuela, veut introduire la “révolution bolivarienne” et un “socialisme du 21ème siècle” en Amérique latine et trouve de plus en plus d’adeptes pour ses idées, à commencer par le Président bolivien Evo Morales et le Président nicaraguéen Daniel Ortega, un ancien sandiniste qui avait déjà donné force migraines à Ronald Reagan dans les années 80. A ces deux présidents s’ajoute l’Equatorien Rafael Cortea. De plus, le Venezuela, riche de son prétrole, entretient des relations de plus en plus étroites avec la Russie et l’Iran, ce qui fait que le gouvernement américain de Barack Obama trouve la situation de plus en plus désagréable. C’est pour cette raison que la tête de pont colombienne, bientôt élargie au territoire panaméen, se voit renforcée pour pouvoir, en cas d’urgence, ramener à la raison des Etats récalcitrants comme le Nicaragua. Dans la région, on commence à dire que la Colombie est devenue “l’Israël de l’Amérique latine”, car, comme Israël, la Colombie risque fort bien de devenir là-bas la tête de pont pour toute offensive contre des gouvernements qui seraient jugés  indésirables du point de vue de Washington.


Il faut aussi ajouter que la Colombie, au cours de ces dernières années, est devenue pour Washington un terrain d’expérience pour tester de nouveaux modes de combattre les insurrections, stratégies que l’on applique ensuite en Afghanistan. Tant les FARC, aujourd’hui bien affaiblies, que les talibans, sont profondément impliqués dans le trafic de drogues et financent par ce commerce sale leurs achats d’armement. Le Général David Petraeus, ancien commandant des forces américaines en Irak, a donné son avis sur l’exemple colombien: “Les militaires voient dans les rapports entre les Etats-Unis et la Colombie un modèle possible pour l’Afghanistan et le Pakistan et nous expliquent que la stratégie qui se profile derrière le ‘Plan Colombia’ pourrait aider ces deux pays musulmans contre les militants”.



(article paru dans “zur Zeit”, n°42/2009; traduction française: Robert Steuckers). 

lundi, 02 février 2009

De Reactie nam zijn aanvang bij het eerste betreuren



De Reactie nam zijn aanvang bij het eerste betreuren

vendredi, 16 janvier 2009

Citaat v. Nicolas Gomez Davila



"Geweld is niet nodig om een beschaving te vernietigen. Elke beschaving sterft aan de onverschilligheid tegenover de unieke waarden waaruit ze ontstaan is."

Nicolás Gómez Dávila (Colombiaans filosoof)