Ok

En poursuivant votre navigation sur ce site, vous acceptez l'utilisation de cookies. Ces derniers assurent le bon fonctionnement de nos services. En savoir plus.

mercredi, 16 octobre 2013

Armin Mohler und die Freuden des Rechtsseins

Armin Mohler und die Freuden des Rechtsseins

Martin Lichtmesz

Ex: http://www.sezession.de

arminmohler.jpgVor mir liegt ein frisch gedrucktes Büchlein, das mich wieder daran erinnert, was für eine große geistige Freude das „Rechtssein“ machen kann. Fast hätte ich es schon vergessen. Aber irgendeinen guten Grund muß ein Mensch ja haben, warum er sich all den Ärger antut, der damit einhergeht, nicht im linken Schafswolfsrudel mitzuheulen bzw. zu -blöken.

Die Rede ist von dem Kaplaken-Band „Notizen aus dem Interregnum“ [2], der dreizehn Kolumnen versammelt, die Armin Mohler [3] im Laufe des Jahres 1994 für die damals noch junge Junge Freiheit schrieb. Diese war eben auf das wöchentliche Format umgestiegen, und stand am Anfang ihres Siegeszuges als wichtigstes Organ und Sammelbecken der deutschen Rechten und Konservativen. Letzteres sind Begriffe, die Mohler meistens synonym oder alternierend gebrauchte, auch wenn es viele Rechte gibt, die sich nicht als „konservativ“ und viele Konservative, die sich nicht als „rechts“ betrachten. Außerhalb ihrer Milieus interessiert das allerdings bekanntlich keine Sau.

Die „Notizen“ sind, wie Götz Kubitschek im Nachwort formuliert, in einem „didaktisch-drängenden Ton“ verfaßt. Der 74jährige Mohler, einer der bedeutendsten Köpfe des deutschen Nachkriegskonservatismus, wollte mit seinen Kolumnen eine Art Orientierungshilfe, einen „Crash-Kurs“ im „Rechtssein“ bieten. So behandelte er noch einmal die Begriffe und Positionen, die in seinem Werk immer wiederkehren. Seine zentrale Formel war diese:

Bekannt ist der kokette Spruch: Wer nicht einmal links (oder wenigstens liberal) war, der wird kein richtiger Rechter. Der Schreibende hat jedoch Freunde, auf die das nicht zutrifft. Er sagt darum lieber: ein Rechter wird man durch eine Art von »zweiter Geburt«. Man hat sie durchlebt, wenn man sich – der eine früher, der andere später – der Einsicht öffnet, daß kein Mensch je die Wirklichkeit als Ganzes zu verstehen, zu erfassen und zu beherrschen vermag. Diese Einsicht stimmt manchen melancholisch, vielen aber eröffnet sie eine wunderbare Welt. Jedem dieser beiden Typen erspart sie, sein Leben mit Utopien, diesen Verschiebebahnhöfen in die Zukunft zu verplempern.

Das leuchtet wohl jedem unmittelbar ein, der die Erfahrung gemacht hat, daß eine zu eng gefaßte Weltanschauung blind für die Wirklichkeit machen kann, die nach einem Wort von Joachim Fest „immer rechts steht“. Ein Gitter von Abstraktionen verhindert, daß man sie sieht, wie sie ist (insofern man das eben mit seinen – stets beschränkten – Mitteln kann), daß man ihre Komplexität und Widersprüchlichkeit wahrnimmt und akzeptiert. (Damit ist aber nicht die typisch linke Rede von der „Komplexität“ gemeint, die genau auf das Gegenteil abzielt, nämlich eine Wahrnehmungschwäche kaschiert und sich um eine Entscheidung drücken will.)

Der von Mohler hochgeschätzte österreichische Schriftsteller Heimito von Doderer sprach an dieser Stelle gerne griffig von den „All-Gemeinheiten“ und von der „Apperzeptionsverweigerung“, einer nicht selten willentlichen Blockierung der Wahrnehmung, die zunächst zur Verdummung und schließlich gar zum Bösen führe.

Mohler kannte den Begriff der „political correctness“ noch nicht – aber es handelt sich hierbei um genau die Art von Abstraktionengitter, die er sein Leben lang bekämpfte. „Political correctness“ stellt zuerst ein Ideal auf, wie die Realität sein sollte, führt alsdann zu ihrer Leugnung (nach Doderer das „Dumme“), ob aus Angst (Doderer sprach vom „Kaltschweiß der Lebensschwäche“) oder aus Wunschdenken oder aus Opportunismus oder aus ideologischer Verblendung; dann aber zu unerbittlichen Verfolgung (nach Doderer wäre dies dann das „Böse“) all jener, die immer noch sehen und immer noch benennen,was sie eigentlich gar nicht sehen dürfen, etwa, daß der Kaiser nackt ist .

Auch das eng mit der „political correctness“ verbundene Gleichheitsdenken ist so eine Scheuklappe und „All-Gemeinheit“. In Notiz 7 (15. April 1994) diskutiert Mohler den italienischen Politologen Norberto Bobbio, der die Formel aufstellte, daß die Rechte vor allem mit dem beschäftigt sei, was die Menschen unterscheidet, und die Linke, mit dem, was die Menschen einander angleicht. Das geht soweit, daß der Linke die Gleichheit mit Gerechtigkeit gleichsetzt und zum absoluten moralischen Gut erhebt – die Menschen sollen „vernünftigerweise lieber gleicher als ungleich sein“.  Der Rechte dagegen bejaht die Ungleichheit, die es ja nur als relativen Begriff gibt. Erst die Ungleichheit gibt dem Leben seine Spannung, Vielfältigkeit und Farbe.

Die Absage an die prinzipielle „Durchschaubarkeit“ und daher „Machbarkeit“ aller Dinge ist kein Aufruf zum Nichthandeln – im Gegenteil. Vielmehr ergibt sich daraus die  Notwendigkeit einer Entscheidung, die Aufgabe, dem stetig sich wandelnden Chaos der Welt eine haltbare und dauerhafte Form abzutrotzen, mit dem Material zu bauen, das da ist, statt ständig auf das zu warten, was sein soll.

Das heißt allerdings nicht, daß man sich mit einem bloßen „Gärtnerkonservatismus“ begnügen muß. Vielmehr gilt es, aus dem Menschen das Bestmögliche herauszuholen und ihn an einer gewissen Intensität des Daseins teilhaben zu lassen, das auch immer „Agon“, also Wettstreit und Kampf ist – gegen die Unordnung, die Formlosigkeit, die Erschlaffung, den Verfall, den Tod, aber auch den konkreten Feind, den es immer geben wird.

Dem „Feind“ wird aber auch eine bestimmter Standort und ein prinzipielles Existenzrecht zugebilligt- er ist kein absoluter Feind, zu dem ihn bestimmte ideologische Zuspitzungen machen, insbesondere jene mit egalitärer Stoßrichtung. In der Notiz 9 vom 24. Juni 1994 untersucht Mohler den Begriff der „Mentalität“ . Dabei hat es ihm besonders eine Formulierung aus dem alten Brockhaus aus der Zeit vor dem Einbruch des „68er-Geistes“ angetan. „Mentalität“ bezeichnet

die geistig-seelische Disposition, die durch die Einwirkung von Lebenserfahrungen und Milieueindrücken entsteht, denen die Mitglieder einer sozialen Schicht unterworfen sind.

Das bedeutet nicht nur, daß der Mensch (hier folgt Mohler seinem großen Lehrmeister Arnold Gehlen) „anpassungsfähig“ ist, ein Wesen, das ebenso geformt wird, wie es selbst formend eingreift, „das sich selbst konstruiert, was er zum Überleben braucht“. Das heißt auch, daß jeder Mensch seinen soziologischen Ort, seine eigene Geschichte, seine eigenen guten oder schlechten Gründe und Beweggründe hat. Von hier aus wird auch eine rein moralistische Betrachtung und Verurteilung, eines einzelnen Menschen wie eines ganzen Volkes, unmöglich.

Mohlers Ansatz war verblüffend, besonders für solche Leser, die ein allzu vorgefaßtes Bild vom „Rechten“ mit sich herumtrugen. Dieser ist ja in der freien Wildbahn des Mainstreams eine geradezu geächtete Figur, im Gegensatz zu seinem umhätschelten Pendant, dem Linken, der „für seine guten Absichten belohnt wird“, und der auch dafür sorgt, daß vom Rechten möglichst nur Zerrbilder kursieren. „Rechts“ ist, wen er als solchen definiert, und wie er ihn definiert.

Es geht an dieser Stelle natürlich um den Rechten als Typus. Was die personifizierten Vertreter beider Lager angeht, so gibt es leider genug abschreckende Beispiele. Doderer sah sie als „Herabgekommenheiten“ – nicht etwa der nicht minder verabscheuungswürdigen „Mitte“ – sondern

jener Ebene, darauf der historisch agierende Mensch steht, der immer konservativ und revolutionär in einem ist, und diese Korrelativa als isolierte Möglichkeiten nicht kennt.

Mit einem Schlagwort: „konservative Revolution“. Das war für Mohler nicht nur das Etikett für ein bestimmtes, zeitlich eingegrenztes politisches Phänomen, sondern eine ganz grundsätzliche Idee, die er gerne vieldeutig schillern ließ. Seine Begriffe haben oft etwas bewußt Unscharfes, „Stimmungen“ Evozierendes, Wandelbares – sie müssen der jeweiligen konkreten Situation angepaßt werden.

Ich bin nun selber ein Initiat jener verschworenen Bruderschaft, die durch Mohler ihre entscheidenden politischen Impulse und Erweckungserlebnisse erfahren hat. Mit 25 Jahren verschlang ich in einer Nacht die Essaysammlung „Liberalenbeschimpfung“. Als ich das Buch zuklappte, war mir klar: wenn das nun „rechts“ ist, dann ist es nicht nur völlig legitim „rechts“ zu sein, dann bin ich es auch. Mir war bislang nur vorenthalten worden, daß es ein solches „Rechtssein“ auch gab – und das hatte mit einer Art zu denken ebenso wie mit einer Art zu schreiben und zu sprechen zu tun. Letztlich würde es aber vor allem, das betonte Mohler immer wieder, auch auf eine „Haltung“ und eine Art zu handeln ankommen, wobei er zugab, daß die Schreiber auch selten gleichzeitig „Täter“ sind.

Und hier fand ich nun die Quelle der „Freude“, von der ich oben sprach. Man erkennt, daß die Sprache eine Waffe ebenso wie ein Gefängnis sein kann, und daß ihre Grenzen schier unendlich erweiterbar sind. Dadurch stürzen die Begriffsgötzen und die falschen Autoritäten und die Laufgitter reihenweise ein und der Weg ins Freie wird sichtbar.

krd10.jpgFortan tat sich mir eine völlig neue und aufregende Welt auf. Zunächst war das nur eine Sache zwischen mir und meinem Bücherschrank. Ich suchte jahrelang keinerlei persönlichen Kontakt zu rechten oder konservativen „Milieus“, zum Teil aus Desinteresse, zum Teil aus weiterhin bestehenden Vorurteilen. Stattdessen ackerte ich sämtliche Hefte des „Criticón“ in der Berliner Staatsbibliothek durch, dem bedeutendsten Organ des konservativen Binnenpluralismus der 70er und 80er Jahre, und stieß dort auf die Namen all der konservativen Fabeltiere: neben Mohler auch Caspar von Schrenck-Notzing, Hans-Dietrich Sander, Günter Rohrmoser, Hellmut Diwald, Hans-Joachim Arndt, Günter Zehm, Wolfgang Venohr, Salcia Landmann, Robert Hepp, Gerd-Klaus Kaltenbrunner, Bernard Willms, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Günter Maschke oder Alain de Benoist.

Und auf die großen Vordenker – Jünger, Blüher und Spengler waren mir schon bekannt, nun aber lernte ich Namen wie Carl Schmitt, Ernst Niekisch, Julius Evola, Edgar Julius Jung, Georges Sorel, Arnold Gehlen oder auch Donoso Cortés, Edmund Burke, Vilfredo Pareto usw. kennen. Ganz zu schweigen von all den schillernden Figuren, den Dichtern und Träumern, darunter eine erkleckliche Anzahl von poètes maudits, die ein verlockender Hauch des Hades umgab: Drieu La Rochelle, Yukio Mishima, Ezra Pound, Gabriele d‘Annunzio, Emile Cioran, Lucien Rebatet, Curzio Malaparte, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Friedrich Hielscher, Alfred Schmid… man konnte wahrlich nicht klagen, daß es drüben am „rechten Ufer“ langweilig war.

Natürlich half auch das Internet enorm weiter, und früher oder später landete jeder mit einschlägigen Interessen bei der Jungen Freiheit, deren Netzarchive ich geradezu plünderte. Bald war ich begeisterter Abonnent, und entdeckte „neue“, aktuelle Stars:  Thorsten Hinz, Baal Müller (was für ein Name!), Manuel Ochsenreiter, Claus-Michael Wolfschlag, Angelika Willig. Viele Ausgaben der JF von 2002/3 habe ich heute noch aufgehoben und bewahre sie geradezu liebevoll und nostalgisch auf.

Bei der JF allein blieb es freilich nicht. Um den schwarzen Kontinent zu erobern, las ich zu diesem Zeitpunkt wie ein Scheunendrescher alles, wirklich „alles, was recht(s) ist“, frei nach einem Buchtitel von Karlheinz Weißmann, heute ein selbsterklärtes „lebendes Fossil der Neuen Rechten“, [4] der ebenfalls rasch in mein stetig wachsendes Pantheon aufgenommen wurde.

Besonders fielen mir jene Artikel in der JF und bald auch schon der Sezession auf, die von den Namen Ellen Kositza und Götz Kubitschek gezeichnet waren. Beide waren nur um wenige Jahre älter als ich, hatten markante Gesichter (dergleichen ist für mich bis heute von Bedeutung) und ihre Beiträge erklangen in einem frischen und zupackenden Ton  – unverkennbar die Mohler’sche Schule. Vor allem wurde darin nicht fade herumgeschwätzt, es ging darin um etwas: um unser jetziges, wirkliches Leben, um unsere Gegenwart und Zukunft, und ich erkannte, daß all dies auch etwas mit mir und meinem Leben zu tun hatte.

Gewiß war das Netz auch damals schon voll von Antifaseiten, die mal mehr, mal weniger offensichtlich ideologisch zugespitzt auftraten. Zentraler Anlaufpunkt war eine Seite namens „IDGR“- „Informationsdienst gegen Rechtsextremismus“, die freilich auch ganz hilfreich war, wenn man neue „Lesetips“ suchte. Was mich damals besonders empörte, war die Diskrepanz zwischen der hetzerisch-dummen, schablonenartigen, immer-gleichen Sprache dieser Seiten und dem, was die denunzierten Autoren tatsächlich geschrieben und gemeint hatten. Ich konnte nur krasse Desinformation, Verleumdung und Verzerrung erkennen, und das bestärkte mich umso mehr in dem Gefühl, auf der richtigen Spur zu sein.

Das fiel besonders bei Mohler auf. Es gab einerseits den Antifa-Popanz, andererseits den Autor, der mir freier, „liberaler“ und, ja, „toleranter“ und menschlicher erschien, als irgendeine rote Schranze, die ihre Säuberungswütigkeit mit hochtrabenden Ansprüchen schmückte. Besonders nahm mich seine Kunstsinnigkeit ein. Nicht nur vermochte er es, handfest und subtil zugleich über Belletristik, Lyrik und Malerei zu schreiben – er hatte auf jedes Thema, das er behandelte, einen unverwechselbaren Zugriff.

Und es gab ein Gebiet, wo Mohler eine besonders befreiende Wirkung ausübte: nämlich in seinen Betrachtungen zum Komplex der „Vergangenheitsbewältigung“ (ein Begriff, der heute kaum mehr benutzt wird, was der Praxis, die er bezeichnete, allerdings keinerlei Abbruch tut.) Diese Bücher, insbesondere „Der Nasenring“, haben endgültig mein Klischee von einem „Rechten“ zerstört. Ihre Argumentation erschien mir gescheit, realistisch, vernünftig, erwachsen, im besten Sinne humanistisch, auch wenn ich nicht immer d‘accord war.

Ich glaube, daß jeder denkende und fühlende Mensch, der in Deutschland oder Österreich geboren ist, irgendwann einmal mit der Geschichte seines Landes und den daraus folgenden Belastungen ins Klare kommen muß. Es ist wohl kein Zufall, daß Mohler gerade dieses Schlachtfeld wiederholt aufgesucht hat, denn keines ist dichter von „All-Gemeinheiten“, ahistorischen Abstraktionen, falschen Moralisierungen, „schrecklichen Vereinfachungen“, pauschalen Urteilen und so weiter umzäunt als dieses. Wohlfeile und wohlkalkulierte oder zur Gewohnheit eingerastete Instrumentalisierungen gehen hier mit deutschen Identitätsstörungen und unverarbeiteten Traumata einher, der nationale Selbsthaß mit dem „Klageverbot“ (so Hans-Jürgen Syberberg), die politische Erpressung mit der Unfähigkeit, zu trauern.

Mohlers Ausweg aus diesem Dschungel war genial. Er leitete sich aus seiner lebenslangen Begeisterung für die schöne Literatur [5]ab, die ihm als ein unentbehrlicher Weg zur „Welterfassung“ erschien.  Er lautete: dort wo, die Zangenbacken der ideologischen Abstraktionen und der moralistischen All-Gemeinheiten zubeißen wollen, dort soll man eine Geschichte erzählen.

Etwa die eines einzigen Menschen, der die Zeit des Dritten Reichs und des Zweitens Weltkriegs erlebt hat. Von Anfang an und nach der Reihe. Und dann die eines anderen, der genau das Gegenteil erlebt, und genau gegenteilig gedacht und gehandelt hat. Und dann eine dritte und eine vierte. Allmählich können wir auch wieder von Moral sprechen und von „Tätern und Opfern“, aber auf einer völlig veränderten Ebene. Diese Geschichten können Lebensberichte und Memoiren ebenso wie durchgestaltete Romane und Erzählungen sein.

Wer all dies wirklich in sich aufgenommen hat, wird zunehmends davor zurückscheuen, den Stab über vorangegangene Generationen zu brechen. Gerade die Deutschen müssen aufhören, über ihre Mütter und Väter, ihre Großmütter und Großväter, zu urteilen – sie sollten stattdessen versuchen, sie verstehen zu lernen.  Wir müssen unsere ganze Geschichte annehmen, und wir brauchen uns dazu auch nicht die schlechten Dinge schönzureden.

Schließlich aber, und hier war Mohler sehr scharf, kann ein richtiges Verhältnis zur eigenen Vergangenheit nicht gewonnen werden, wenn die historische Forschung zu stark politisiert wird, wenn Fragestellungen tabuisiert werden, wenn Historiker die Ächtung fürchten müssen (und es traf auch einen Diwald, einen Nolte, nicht nur einen Irving, der indes noch in den frühen Achtzigern mit Vorabdrucken im Spiegel rechnen konnte) und wenn per Gesetz entschieden wird, was historische Wahrheit ist und was nicht. Jeder Wissenschaftler, der hier noch seine Siebensachen beisammen hat [6], wird zugeben müssen, daß eine solche Praxis äußerst problematisch ist, und daß nicht damit geholfen ist, wenn man auf die Exzesse des lunatic fringe verweist.

Nun könnte man natürlich, etwa mit Egon Friedell, sagen, daß es eine rein „objektive“ und „interessenlose“ Geschichtsschreibung nicht gibt und nicht geben kann, daß man Historiographie, die wie die Künste einer Muse unterstellt ist, nicht so betreibt wie Naturwissenschaft – aber gerade dieser Gedanke ist in alle Richtungen hin gültig. Eine Buchveröffentlichung wie Stefan Scheils jüngster Kaplakenband „Polen 1939″ [7] steht von vornherein in einem politischen Raum, da die Vorgeschichte des Weltkriegs im Staatshaushalt der Bundesrepublik kein neutrales, sondern vielmehr ein mit politischer Bedeutung hoch aufgeladenes Feld ist. Dies gilt völlig unabhängig davon, ob sich Scheils Thesen als richtig oder falsch erweisen – sie bleiben so oder so ein Politikum.

Das nun also ist auch das eigentliche Thema von Mohlers Notiz 11 (5. August 1994), die sich in vermintes Gelände vorwagte, und darum von JF-Chefredakteur Dieter Stein von einer redaktionellen Infragestellung und einer Replik von Salcia Landmann [8] eingerahmt wurde. Man kann das alles im Kaplaken-Band nachlesen, darum will ich es an dieser Stelle nicht breittreten. Landmanns Antwort fiel, bei allem Respekt, zum Teil unterirdisch undifferenziert aus und schoß meilenweit und halbmanisch am eigentlichen Thema vorbei. Mohler kannte die sehr alte und sehr eigenwillige Dame noch aus Criticón-Tagen und nahm ihr selbst den Angriff nicht übel.

Anders erging es ihm allerdings mit dem Verhalten Dieter Steins. Dieser hatte im Grunde die „Notiz“ mit großen, roten Distanzierungsrufzeichen versehen, die vielleicht ein Spur zu dick aufgetragen waren. In seinem redaktionellen Beiwort wurde Mohler als eine Art seitenverkehrter, ebenfalls auf die Täter fixierter Habermas hingestellt, der lediglich die Deutschen exkulpieren wolle, wo der andere sie in pauschale Geiselhaft nahm.

Tatsächlich hatte Mohler in seiner „Notiz“aber genau vor diesem Ping-Pong des einseitigen Anschuldigens als auch einseitigen Exkulpierens gewarnt. Freillich hatte Stein das Recht, seine eigene Position zu markieren. Es ging hier aber vor allem um das „Wie“ des Vorgangs. Mohler fühlte sich verraten und in ungerechter Weise bloßgestellt, und schrieb an den noch sehr jungen Chefredakteur:

Was ist das für ein Kapitän, der einen aus der Mannschaft dem Feind zum Fraß vorwirft?

In der aktuellen JF [9] findet sich ein wie immer ausgezeichneter Leitartikel von Thorsten Hinz über die „Macht des Wortes“. Darin zeigt Hinz an konkreten Beispielen, was Gómez Dávila mit zwei Sätzen auf den Punkt gebracht hat.

 Wer das Vokabular des Feindes akzeptiert, ergibt sich ohne sein Wissen. Bevor die Urteile in den Sätzen explizit werden, sind sie implizit in den Wörtern.

Auf der Titelseite ist ein mir nicht bekannter Schauspieler namens Hannes Jaenicke zu sehen, der ein Buch mit dem Titel „Die große Volksverarsche“ geschrieben hat, in dem er „mit deutschen Journalisten abrechnet“, Zitat in der Schlagzeile: „Eure Blätter lese ich nicht mehr.“

Im Kulturteil ist skurrilerweiser versehentlich ein Old-School-Antifa-Bericht über den zwischentag [10] abgedruckt worden, der eigentlich in der taz erscheinen sollte. Der Autor, vermutlich ein Praktikant, legt darin den „Rechten“ die Freuden der sozialistischen Selbstkritik ans Herz. Er meint es gewiß nur gut, fragt sich bloß, mit wem. Vielleicht weiß auch die rechte Hand nicht mehr was die linke tut, oder irgendjemand ist mal wieder so listig wie die Tauben und so sanft wie die Schlangen, zu welchem Zweck auch immer.

Mein Artikel sollte aber von ganz anderen Freuden handeln. Aus diesem Grund will ich mit dem diesjährigen Neujahrsgeleitwort von Michael Klonovsky enden:

Lang leben die Völker dieser Erde! Es leben ihre Religionen, ihre Sitten, ihre Sprachen! Es lebe die traditionelle Familie! Es lebe die Ehe! Es leben die Geschlechterrollen! Es lebe die Weiblichkeit und die Männlichkeit! Vive la Mademoiselle! Es lebe die Monarchie! Es leben die Rassen und ihre fundamentalen Unterschiede! Es leben die Klassenschranken! Es lebe die soziale Ungerechtigkeit! Es lebe der Luxus! Es lebe die Eleganz! Es leben die Kathedralen, Kirchen und Tempel! Es lebe das Papsttum! Es lebe die Orthodoxie! Es leben die Atomkraft und die bemannte Raumfahrt! Es lebe der private Waffenbesitz! Es lebe der Aberglaube, der Geschichtsrevisionismus und der Biologismus! Es leben die Vorurteile und die Gemeinplätze! Es leben die Mythen! Es lebe alles Ehrwürdig-Althergebrachte! Es lebe die Meisterschaft in Kunst und Handwerk! Es lebe die Gewohnheit und die Regel! Es lebe der Alkohol, das Rauchen und das Fett im Essen! Es lebe die Aristokratie!  Es lebe die Meritokratie! Es lebe die Kallokratie! Es lebe das Versmaß, die Hochkultur und die Distinktion! Es lebe die Bosheit! Es lebe die Ungleichheit!

Ich sage dazu, auch mitten im Jahr, Ja und Amen, und Prost, Cheers, Sláinte, Skøl und Masel tov!

lundi, 03 décembre 2012

T. E. Hulme: The First Conservative of the Twentieth Century

T. E. Hulme: The First Conservative of the Twentieth Century

Ex: http://www.imaginativeconservative.org/

[significantly modified and expanded from a previous post at STORMFIELDS]



History should never have forgotten T.E. Hulme, and we would do well to remember him and what he wrote. Indeed, the German shell that took his life in the early autumn of 1917 might have changed a considerable part of the twentieth century by removing Hulme from it. Our whole “Time of Troubles” as Kirk defined it, might have been attenuated by the presence, personality, and witness of this man.

Eliot, certainly one of the greatest of twentieth-century men, understood the importance of Hulme in 1924. Eliot saw him as the new man—the twentieth-century man. In April 1924, he wrote: “When Hulme was killed in Flanders in 1917 . . . he was known to a few people as a brilliant talker, a brilliant amateur of metaphysics, and the author of two or three of the most beautiful short poems in the language. In this volume [the posthumous Speculations, edited by Herbert Read] he appears as the forerunner of a new attitude of mind, which should be the twentieth-century mind, if the twentieth century is to have a mind of its own.”

Hulme is, Eliot continued, “classical, reactionary, and revolutionary; he is the antipodes of the eclectic, tolerant, and democratic mind of the end of the last century . . . . A new classical age will be reached when the dogma. . . of the critic is so modified by contact with creative writing, and when the creative writers are so permeated by the new dogma, that a state of equilibrium is reached. For what is meant by a classical moment in literature is surely a moment of stasis, when the creative impulse finds a form which satisfies the best intellect of the time, a moment when a type is produced.”

Eliot continued to praise Hulme in his private letters. In one, he stated bluntly to Allen Tate, “Hulme has influenced me enormously.” In another, Eliot claimed Hulme to be “the most remarkable theologian of my generation.”

Historian Christopher Dawson believed that Hulme, almost alone in his generation, understood the dangers of progressivism: “The essentially transitory character of the humanist culture has been obscured by the dominance of the belief in Progress and by the shallow and dogmatic optimism which characterized nineteenth-century Liberalism. It was only an exceptionally original mind, like that of the late T.E. Hulme, that could free itself from the influence of Liberal dogma and recognize the sign of the times—the passing of the ideals that had dominated European civilization for four centuries, and the dawn of a new order.”

In hindsight, the praise of such magnitude from both Eliot and Dawson should give any twenty-first century conservative pause. Who was this man who profoundly shaped the thought of two of the most recognized conservatives of the last century. Unfortunately, the name of “Hulme” no longer rolls off the tongue when we think or our lineage. We might think: Godkin, Babbitt, More, Nock, Eliot, Dawson, Kirk . . . . But, rarely does a conservative mention the name of Hulme.

Yet, at one time, few would have questioned his shaping of a movement.

In 1948, the Jesuit periodical, America, proclaimed Hulme as the model—mostly in thought, if not in person—for a literary revival. The English poet offered a “charter,” as the author put it, of Catholic arts and literature.

A writer in the New York Times in 1960 summed up Hulme’s influence nicely: “T.E. Hulme had modified the consciousness of his age in such a way that by 1939 his name had become part of a myth.”

It is a myth that we—those of us writing and reading the Imaginative Conservative, Ignatius Insight Scoop, Front Porch Republic, Pileus, etc.—would do well to revive.

Hulme, from all accounts, possessed a rather powerful personality, able to form communities of thought and art around himself. As just mentioned, he might well serve as a model for our own conservatism as we think about rebuilding what two decades have torn apart in terms of our coherence as an intellectual movement and what centuries have deconstructed in terms of culture and the rise of Leviathan and Demos.

If Hulme is remembered, he’s best remembered as a poet of influence. Most credit Hulme with founding Imagist poetry.

Imagism, as our own John Willson has argued, connected the horizon and the sky, the vertical and horizontal, time and eternity.

F.S. Flint, a companion of Hulme’s, remembered the creation of the Imagist movement in 1908, in the May 1, 1915, issue of THE EGOIST:

“SOMEWHERE in the gloom of the year 1908, Mr. T. E. Hulme, now in the trenches of Ypres, but excited then by the propinquity, at a half-a-crown dance, of the other sex (if, as Remy de Gounnont avers, the passage from the aesthetic to the sexual emotion. . . the reverse is surely also true), proposed to a companion that they should found a Poets' Club. The thing was done, there and then. The Club began to dine; and its members to read their verses. At the end of the year they published a small plaquette of them, called For Christmas MDCCCCVIII.”

Hulme’s poem “Autumn” appeared.

“A touch of cold in the Autumn night—
I walked abroad,
And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge
Like a red-faced farmer.
I did not stop to speak, but nodded,
And round about were the wistful stars
With white faces like town children.”

While this poem doesn’t strike me as anything profound in terms of its theme (though, maybe I’ve not spent enough time with it), I can readily see its influence on the work of Eliot. Could Eliot have produced The Wasteland, The Hollow Men, or the Four Quartets without the influence of Hulme and the school of poetry he founded? The Four Quartets is arguably the greatest work of art of the twentieth century. If for no other reason, I’m truly thankful Hulme contributed what he did simply in offering this new form of poetry.

Like Eliot, Hulme adopted and accepted modernist forms of art while rejecting the meaning and essence of modernity. In one of his most powerful essays, defining the nature of humanism, properly understood, Hulme argued that all scholarship and art must begin with the premise (fact) of original sin. “What is important, is what nobody seems to realise--the dogmas like that of Original Sin, which are the closest expression of the categories of the religious attitude. That man is in no sense perfect but a wretched creature who can yet apprehend perfection.”

Rousseauvian/enlightenment thinking had moved society away from understanding this fundamental truth of the human person. As Hulme saw it, Rousseauvianism is a “heresy, a mistaken adoption of false conceptions.” By focusing on feelings and individual desires and blind lusts (and glorifying them) it attempts to allow man to become a God—and, as a result, “creates a bastard conception of Personality.”

The human person only overcomes his depravity though heroic virtue, Hulme argued: “From the pessimistic conception of man comes naturally the heroic task requiring heroic qualities. . . virtues which are not likely to flourish on the soil of a rational and skeptical ethic. This regeneration can, on the contrary, only be brought about and only be maintained by actions springing from an ethic which from the narrow rationalist standpoint is irrational being not relative, but absolute.”

When Hulme received a commission in the British Army during the Great War, he embraced what he had preached, and he gave his life as a patriot of western civilization.
Even in the trenches, before his death, Hulme continued to shape his contemporaries. “In all this [group of poets] Hulme was ringleader. He insisted too on absolutely accurate presentation and no verbiage; and he and F. W. Tancred, a poet too little known, perhaps because his production is precious and small, used to spend hours each day in the search for the right phrase. Tancred does it still; while Hulme reads German philosophy in the trenches, waiting for the general advance.” [EGOIST, May 1, 1915]

Critically, Hulme published a series of war notes from France. In one, he attempted to explain to the liberals that their version of history rested on dubious assumptions.

“Similarly our Liberal friends may be reminded that the lines now making a map of Europe are the result in every instance of local circumstances governable by men; and as they were determined by men they can be changed by men. Europe, in short, is a creation, not a blind evolutionary product; and nothing connected with its mental features is any more fixed than the present relations, as expressed in the trench-lines, between the Allies and the enemy.

Another prevalent Liberal assumption, hostile to a proper appreciation of the significance of the war, is that progress is both inevitable and of necessity in one direction. That change, like the girl in the play, may of itself or by the intention of those who bring it about, take the wrong turning seems never to enter the heads of some of our most popular doctrinaires. All that is not Liberal in Europe or elsewhere is in their opinion not even fundamentally anti-Liberal or other-than-Liberal,—it is merely an arrested development of an evolution which in any case must needs be Liberal in the end, or a reaction against, but still upon the line of Liberalism. This, I need not say after stating it, is not only an error, but a particularly insular error. In the first place, evolution in our sense of the word—that is, evolution towards democracy—is not only not inevitable, but it is the most precarious, difficult and exigent task political man has ever conceived. And, in the second place, far from it being the predestined path of every nation and race, only one or two nations have attempted to pursue it, while the rest deliberately and even, we might say, intelligently, pursue another path altogether as if that were progress, and are thus sincerely hostile to our own.” [Quoted from Karen Csengeri, ed., THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF T.E. HULME (1994), 333]

If only Hulme’s mind—per Eliot’s wishful thinking in 1924—had become the “twentieth-century mind.” We might very well have avoided a “progressive” world immersed in ideological terror on one side and in flabby citizens demanding unearned health care and subsidies for big businesses (so-called stimulus packages) on the other.

 

mercredi, 31 août 2011

Armin Mohler, l'homme qui nous désignait l'ennemi!

mohler.jpg

Thorsten HINZ:

Armin Mohler, l’homme qui nous désignait l’ennemi

 

Le Dr. Karlheinz Weissmann vient de sortir de presse une biographie d’Armin Mohler, publiciste de la droite allemande et historien de la “révolution conservatrice”

 

Armin Mohler ne fut jamais l’homme des demies-teintes!

 

Qui donc Armin Mohler détestait-il? Les libéraux et les tièdes, les petits jardiniers amateurs qui gratouillent le bois mort qui encombre l’humus, c’est-à-dire les nouilles de droite, inoffensives parce que dépouvues de pertinence! Il détestait aussi tous ceux qui s’agrippaient aux concepts et aux tabous que définissait leur propre ennemi. Il considérait que les libéraux étaient bien plus subtils et plus dangereux que les communistes: pour reprendre un bon mot de son ami Robert Hepp: ils nous vantaient l’existence de cent portes de verre qu’ils nous définissaient comme l’Accès, le seul Accès, à la liberté, tout en taisant soigneusement le fait que 99 de ces portes demeuraient toujours fermées. La victoire totale des libéraux a hissé l’hypocrisie en principe ubiquitaire. Les gens sont désormais jugés selon les déclarations de principe qu’ils énoncent sans nécessairement y croire et non pas sur leurs actes et sur les idées qu’ils sont prêts à défendre.

 

Mohler était était un type “agonal”, un gars qui aimait la lutte: sa bouille carrée de Bâlois l’attestait. Avec la subtilité d’un pluvier qui capte les moindres variations du climat, Mohler repérait les courants souterrains de la politique et de la société. C’était un homme de forte sensibilité mais certainement pas un sentimental. Mohler pensait et écrivait clair quand il abordait la politique: ses mots étaient durs, tranchants, de véritables armes. Il était déjà un “conservateur moderne” ou un “néo-droitiste” avant que la notion n’apparaisse dans les médiats. En 1995, il s’était défini comme un “fasciste au sens où l’entendait José Antonio Primo de Rivera”. Mohler se référait ainsi —mais peu nombreux étaient ceux qui le savaient— au jeune fondateur de la Phalange espagnole, un homme intelligent et cultivé, assassiné par les gauches ibériques et récupéré ensuite par Franco.

 

Il manquait donc une biographie de ce doyen du conservatisme allemand d’après guerre, mort en 2003. Karlheinz Weissmann était l’homme appelé à combler cette lacune: il connait la personnalité de Mohler et son oeuvre; il est celui qui a actualisé l’ouvrage de référence de Mohler sur la révolution conservatrice.

 

Pour Mohler seuls comptaient le concret et le réel

 

La sensibilité toute particulière d’Armin Mohler s’est déployée dans le décor de la ville-frontière suisse de Bâle. Mohler en était natif. Il y avait vu le jour en 1920. En 1938, la lecture d’un livre le marque à jamais: c’est celui de Christoph Steding, “Das Reich und die Krankheit der europäischen Kultur” (“Le Reich et la pathologie de la culture européenne”). Pour Steding, l’Allemagne, jusqu’en 1933, avait couru le risque de subir une “neutralisation politique et spirituelle”, c’est-à-dire une “helvétisation de la pensée allemande”, ce qui aurait conduit à la perte de la souveraineté intérieure et extérieure; l’Allemagne aurait dérogé pour adopter le statut d’un “intermédiaire éclectique”. Les peuples qui tombent dans une telle déchéance sont “privés de destin” et tendent à ne plus produire que des “pharisiens nés”. On voit tout de suite que Steding était intellectuellement proche de Carl Schmitt. Quant à ce dernier, il a pris la peine de recenser personnellement le livre, publié à titre posthume, de cet auteur mort prématurément. Dans ce livre apparaissent certains des traits de pensée qui animeront Mohler, le caractériseront, tout au long de son existence.

 

L’Allemagne est devenue pour le jeune Mohler “la grande tentation”, tant et si bien qu’il franchit illégalement le frontière suisse en février 1942 “pour aider les Allemands à gagner la guerre”. Cet intermède allemand ne durera toutefois qu’une petite année. Mohler passa quelques mois à Berlin, avec le statut d’étudiant, et s’y occupa des auteurs de la “révolution conservatrice”, à propos desquels il rédigera sa célèbre thèse de doctorat, sous la houlette de Karl Jaspers. Mohler était un rebelle qui s’insurgeait contre la croyance au progrès et à la raison, une croyance qui estime que le monde doit à terme être tout compénétré de raison et que les éléments, qui constituent ce monde, peuvent être combinés les uns aux autres ou isolés les uns des autres à loisir, selon une logique purement arbitraire. Contre cette croyance et cette vision, Mohler voulait opposer les forces élémentaires de l’art et de la culture, de la nationalité et de l’histoire. Ce contre-mouvement, disait-il, et cela le distinguait des tenants de la “vieille droite”, ne visait pas la restauration d’un monde ancré dans le 19ème siècle, mais tenait expressément compte des nouvelles réalités.

 

Dans un chapitre, intitulé “Du nominalisme”, le Dr. Karlheinz Weissmann explicite les tentatives de Mohler, qui ne furent pas toujours probantes, de systématiser ses idées et ses vues. Il est clair que Mohler rejette toute forme d’universalisme car tout universalisme déduit le particulier d’un ordre spirituel sous-jacent et identitque pour tous, et noie les réalités dans une “mer morte d’abstractions”. Pour le nominaliste Mohler, les concepts avancés par les universalismes ne sont que des dénominations abstraites et arbitraires, inventées a poteriori, et qui n’ont pour effets que de répandre la confusion. Pour Mohler, seuls le concret et le particulier avaient de l’importance, soit le “réel”, qu’il cherchait à saisir par le biais d’images fortes, puissantes et organiques. Par conséquent, ses sympathies personnelles n’étaient pas déterminées par les idées politiques dont se réclamaient ses interlocuteurs mais tenaient d’abord compte de la valeur de l’esprit et du caractère qu’il percevait chez l’autre.

 

En 1950, Mohler devint le secrétaire d’Ernst Jünger. Ce ne fut pas une époque dépourvue de conflits. Après l’intermède de ce secrétariat, vinrent les années françaises de notre théoricien: il devint en effet le correspondant à Paris du “Tat” suisse et de l’hebdomadaire allemand “Die Zeit”. A partir de 1961, il fut le secrétaire, puis le directeur, de la “Fondation Siemens”. Dans le cadre de cette éminente fonction, il a essayé de contrer la dérive gauchisante de la République fédérale, en organisant des colloques de très haut niveau et en éditant des livres ou des publications remarquables. Parmi les nombreux livres que nous a laissés Mohler, “Nasenring” (= “L’anneau nasal”) est certainement le plus célèbre: il constitue une attaque en règle, qui vise à fustiger l’attitude que les Allemands ont prise vis-à-vis de leur propre histoire (la fameuse “Vergangenheitsbewältigung”). En 1969, Mohler écrivait dans l’hebdomadaire suisse “Weltwoche”: “Le ‘Républiquefédéralien’ est tout occupé, à la meilleure manière des méthodes ‘do-it-yourself’, à se faire la guerre à lui-même. Il n’y a pas que lui: tout le monde occidental semble avoir honte de descendre d’hommes de bonne trempe; tout un chacun voudrait devenir un névrosé car seul cet état, désormais, est considéré comme ‘humain’”.

 

En France, Mohler était un adepte critique de Charles de Gaulle. Il estimait que l’Europe des patries, proposée par le Général, aurait été capable de faire du Vieux Continent une “Troisième Force” entre les Etats-Unis et l’Union Soviétique. Dans les années 60, certaines ouvertures semblaient possibles pour Mohler: peut-être pourrait-il gagner en influence politique via le Président de la CSU bavaroise, Franz-Josef Strauss? Il entra à son service comme “nègre”. Ce fut un échec: Strauss, systématiquement, modifiait les ébauches de discours que Mohler avait truffées de références gaulliennes et les traduisait en un langage “atlantiste”. De la part de Strauss, était-ce de la faiblesse ou était-ce le regard sans illusions du pragmatique qui ne jure que par le “réalisable”? Quoi qu’il en soit, on perçoit ici l’un des conflits fondamentaux qui ont divisé les conservateurs après la guerre: la plupart des hommes de droite se contentaient d’une République fédérale sous protectorat américain (sans s’apercevoir qu’à long terme, ils provoquaient leur propre disparition), tandis que Mohler voulait une Allemagne européenne et libre.

 

Le conflit entre européistes et atlantistes provoqua également l’échec de la revue “Die Republik”, que l’éditeur Axel Springer voulait publier pour en faire le forum des hommes de droite hors partis et autres ancrages politiciens: Mohler décrit très bien cette péripétie dans “Nasenring”.

 

Il semble donc bien que ce soit sa qualité de Suisse qui l’ait sauvé de cette terrible affliction que constitue la perte d’imagination chez la plupart des conservateurs allemands de l’après-guerre. Par ailleurs, le camp de la droite établie a fini par le houspiller dans l’isolement. Caspar von Schrenck-Notzing lui a certes ouvert les colonnes de “Criticon”, qui furent pour lui une bonne tribune, mais les autres éditeurs de revues lui claquèrent successivement la porte au nez; malgré son titre de doctorat, il n’a pas davantage pu mener une carrière universitaire. La réunification n’a pas changé grand chose à sa situation: les avantages pour lui furent superficiels et éphémères.

 

La cadre historique, dans lequel nous nous débattions du temps de Mohler, et dans lequel s’est déployée sa carrière étonnante, freinée uniquement par des forces extérieures, aurait pu gagner quelques contours tranchés et précis. On peut discerner aujourd’hui la grandeur de Mohler. On devrait aussi pouvoir mesurer la tragédie qu’il a incarnée. Weissmann constate qu’il existait encore jusqu’au milieu des années 80 une certaine marge de manoeuvre pour la droite intellectuelle en Allemagne mais que cet espace potentiel s’est rétréci parce que la gauche n’a jamais accepté le dialogue ou n’a jamais rien voulu apprendre du réel. Le lecteur se demande alors spontanément: pourquoi la gauche aurait-elle donc dialogué puisque le rapport de force objectif était en sa faveur?

 

Weissmann a donc résussi un tour de force: il a écrit une véritable “biographie politique” d’Armin Mohler. Son livre deviendra un classique.

 

Thorsten HINZ.

(article paru dans “Junge Freiheit”, Berlin, n°31/32-2011; http://www.jugefreiheit.de/ ).

vendredi, 04 février 2011

Alexander Dugin talks about the Conservative Revolution at Moscow State University

Alexander Dugin talks about the Conservative Revolution at Moscow State University

samedi, 29 janvier 2011

Götz Kubitschek - Konservative Subversive Aktion (KSA)

Götz Kubitschek

Konservative Subversive Aktion

KSA

 

dimanche, 06 décembre 2009

Armin Mohler: discipulo de Sorel e teorico da vida concreta

arminmohler.jpgArmin Mohler: discípulo de Sorel e teórico da vida concreta

Ex: http://europapatrianostra.wordpress.com/

O “mito”, como a “representação de uma batalha”, surge espontaneamente e exerce um efeito mobilizador sobre as massas, incute-lhes uma “fé” e torna-as capazes de actos heróicos, funda uma nova ética: essas são as pedras angulares do pensamento de Georges Sorel (1847-1922). Este teórico político, pelos seus artigos e pelos seus livros, publicados antes da primeira guerra mundial, exerceu uma influência perturbante tanto sobre os socialistas como sobre os nacionalistas.

Contudo, o seu interesse pelo mito e a sua fé numa moral ascética foram sempre – e continuam a sê-lo apesar do tempo que passa – um embaraço para a esquerda, da qual ele se declarava. Podemos ainda observar esta reticência nas obras publicadas sobre Sorel no fim dos anos 60. Enquanto algumas correntes da nova esquerda assumiram expressamente Sorel e consideravam que a sua apologia da acção directa e as suas concepções anarquizantes, que reclamavam o surgimento de pequenas comunidades de “produtores livres”, eram antecipações das suas próprias visões, a maioria dos grupos de esquerda não via em Sorel mais que um louco que se afirmava influenciado por Marx inconscientemente e que trazia à esquerda, no seu conjunto, mais dissabores que vantagens. Jean-Paul Sartre contava-se assim, evidentemente, entre os adversários de Sorel, trazendo-lhes a caução da sua notoriedade e dando, ipso facto, peso aos seus argumentos.

Quando Armin Mohler, inteiramente fora dos debates que agitavam as esquerdas, afirmou o seu grande interesse pela obra de Sorel, não foi porque via nele o “profeta dos bombistas” (Ernst Wilhelm Eschmann) nem porque acreditava, como Sorel esperara no contexto da sua época, que o proletariado detivesse uma força de regeneração, nem porque estimava que esta visão messiânica do proletariado tivesse ainda qualquer função. Para Mohler, Sorel era um exemplo sobre o qual meditar na luta contra os efeitos e os vectores da decadência. Mohler queria utilizar o “pessimismo potente” de Sorel contra um “pessimismo debilitante” disseminado nas fileiras da burguesia.

Rapidamente Mohler criticou a “concepção idílica do conservantismo”. Ao reler Sorel percebeu que é perfeitamente absurdo querer tudo “conservar” quando as situações mudaram por todo o lado. A direita intelectual não deve contentar-se em pregar simplesmente o bom-senso contra os excessos de uma certa esquerda, nem em pregar a luz aos partidários da ideologia das Luzes; não, ela deve mostrar-se capaz de forjar a sua própria ideologia, de compreender os processos de decadência que se desenvolvem no seu seio e de se desembaraçar deles, antes de abrir verdadeiramente a via a uma tradução concreta das suas posições.

Uma aversão comum aos excessos da ética da convicção

Quando Mohler esboça o seu primeiro retrato de Sorel, nas colunas da revista Criticón, em 1973, escreve sem ambiguidades que os conservadores alemães deveriam tomar esse francês fora do comum como modelo para organizar a resistência contra a “desorganização pelo idealismo”. Mohler partilhava a aversão de Sorel contra os excessos da ética da convicção. Vimo-la exercer a sua devastação na França de 1890 a 1910, com o triunfo dos dreyfusards e a incompreensão dos Radicais pelos verdadeiros fundamentos da Cidade e do Bem Comum, vimo-la também no final dos anos 60 na República Federal, depois da grande febre “emancipadora”, combinada com a vontade de jogar abaixo todo o continuum histórico, criminalizando sistematicamente o passado alemão, tudo taras que tocaram igualmente o “centro” do tabuleiro político.

Para além destas necessidades do momento, Mohler tinha outras razões, mais essenciais, para redescobrir Sorel. O anti-liberalismo e o decisionismo de Sorel haviam impressionado Mohler, mais ainda do que a ausência de clareza que recriminamos no pensamento soreliano. Mohler pensava, ao contrário, que esta ausência de clareza era o reflexo exacto das próprias coisas, reflexo que nunca é conseguido quando usamos uma linguagem demasiado descritiva e demasiado analítica. Sobretudo “quando se trata de entender elementos ou acontecimentos muito divergentes uns dos outros ou de captar correntes contrárias, subterrâneas e depositárias”. Sorel formulou pela primeira vez uma ideia que muito dificilmente se deixa conceptualizar: as pulsões do homem, sobretudo as mais nobres, dificilmente se explicam, porque as soluções conceptuais, todas feitas e todas apropriadas, que propomos geralmente, falham na sua aplicação, os modelos explicativos do mundo, que têm a pretensão de ser absolutamente completos, não impulsionam os homens em frente mas, pelo contrário, têm um efeito paralisante.

Ernst Jünger, discípulo alemão de Georges Sorel

Mohler sentiu-se igualmente atraído pelo estilo do pensamento de Sorel devido à potencialidade associativa das suas explicações. Também estava convencido que este estilo era inseparável da “coisa” mencionada. Tentou definir este pensamento soreliano com mais precisão com a ajuda de conceitos como “construção orgânica” ou “realismo heróico”. Estes dois novos conceitos revelam a influência de Ernst Jünger, que Mohler conta entre os discípulos alemães de Sorel. Em Sorel, Mohler reencontra o que havia anteriormente descoberto no Jünger dos manifestos nacionalistas e da primeira versão do Coração Aventureiro (1929): a determinação em superar as perdas sofridas e, ao mesmo tempo, a ousar qualquer coisa de novo, a confiar na força da decisão criadora e da vontade de dar forma ao informal, contrariamente às utopias das esquerdas. Num tal estado de espírito, apesar do entusiasmo transbordante dos actores, estes permanecem conscientes das condições espacio-temporais concretas e opõem ao informal aquilo que a sua criatividade formou.

O “afecto nominalista”

O que actuava em filigrana, tanto em Sorel como em Jünger, Mohler denominou “afecto nominalista”, isto é, a hostilidade a todas as “generalidades”, a todo esse universalismo bacoco que quer sempre ser recompensado pelas suas boas intenções, a hostilidade a todas as retóricas enfáticas e burlescas que nada têm a ver com a realidade concreta. É portanto o “afecto nominalista” que despertou o interesse de Mohler por Sorel. Mohler não mais parou de se interessar pelas teorias e ideias de Sorel.

Em 1975 Mohler faz aparecer uma pequena obra sucinta, considerada como uma “bio-bibliografia” de Sorel, mas contendo também um curto ensaio sobre o teórico socialista francês. Mohler utilizou a edição de um fino volume numa colecção privada da Fundação Siemens, consagrado a Sorel e devida à pluma de Julien Freund, para fazer aparecer essas trinta páginas (imprimidas de maneira tão cerrada que são difíceis de ler!) apresentando pela primeira vez ao público alemão uma lista quase completa dos escritos de Sorel e da literatura secundária que lhe é consagrada. A esta lista juntava-se um esboço da sua vida e do seu pensamento.

Nesse texto, Mohler quis em primeiro lugar apresentar uma sinopse das fases sucessivas da evolução intelectual e política de Sorel, para poder destacar bem a posição ideológica diversificada deste autor. Esse texto havia sido concebido originalmente para uma monografia de Sorel, onde Mohler poria em ordem a enorme documentação que havia reunido e trabalhado. Infelizmente nunca a pôde terminar. Finalmente, Mohler decidiu formalizar o resultado das suas investigações num trabalho bastante completo que apareceu em três partes nas colunas da Criticón em 1997. Os resultados da análise mohleriana podem resumir-se em 5 pontos:

Uma nova cultura que não é nem de direita nem de esquerda

1. Quando falamos de Sorel como um dos pais fundadores da Revolução Conservadora reconhecemos o seu papel de primeiro plano na génese deste movimento intelectual que, como indica claramente o seu nome, não é “nem de direita nem de esquerda” mas tenta forjar uma “nova cultura” que tomará o lugar das ideologias usadas e estragadas do século XIX. Pelas suas origens este movimento revolucionário-conservador é essencialmente intelectual: não pode ser compreendido como simples rejeição do liberalismo e da ideologia das Luzes.

2. Em princípio, consideramos que os fascismos românicos ou o nacional-socialismo alemão tentaram realizar este conceito, mas estas ideologias são heresias que se esquecem de levar em consideração um dos aspectos mais fundamentais da Revolução Conservadora: a desconfiança em relação às ideias que evocam a bondade natural do homem ou crêem na “viabilidade” do mundo. Esta desconfiança da RC é uma herança proveniente do velho fundo da direita clássica.

3. A função de Sorel era em primeiro lugar uma função catalítica, mas no seu pensamento encontramos tudo o que foi trabalhado posteriormente nas distintas famílias da Revolução Conservadora: o desprezo pela “pequena ciência” e a extrema valorização das pulsões irracionais do homem, o cepticismo em relação a todas as abstracções e o entusiasmo pelo concreto, a consciência de que não existe nada de idílico, o gosto pela decisão, a concepção de que a vida tranquila nada vale e a necessidade de “monumentalidade”.

Não há “sentido” que exista por si mesmo.

4. Nesta mesma ordem de ideias encontramos também esta convicção de que a existência é desprovida de sentido (sinnlos), ou melhor: a convicção de que é impossível reconhecer com certeza o sentido da existência. Desta convicção deriva a ideia de que nunca fazemos mais que “encontrar” o sentido da existência forjando-o gradualmente nós próprios, sob a pressão das circunstâncias e dos acasos da vida ou da História, e que não o “descobrimos” como se ele sempre tivesse estado ali, escondido por detrás do ecrã dos fenómenos ou epifenómenos. Depois, o sentido não existe por si mesmo porque só algumas raras e fortes personalidades são capazes de o fundar, e somente em raras épocas de transição da História. O “mito”, esse, constitui sempre o núcleo central de uma cultura e compenetra-a inteiramente.

5. Tudo depende, por fim, da concepção que Sorel faz da decadência – e todas as correntes da direita, por diferentes que sejam umas das outras, têm disso unanimemente consciência – concepção que difere dos modelos habituais; nele é a ideia de entropia ou a do tempo cíclico, a doutrina clássica da sucessão constitucional ou a afirmação do declínio orgânico de toda a cultura. Em «Les Illusions du progrès» Sorel afirma: “É charlatanice ou ingenuidade falar de um determinismo histórico”. A decadência equivale sempre à perda da estruturação interior, ao abandono de toda a vontade de regeneração. Sem qualquer dúvida, a apresentação de Sorel que nos deu Mohler foi tornada mais mordaz pelo seu espírito crítico.

Uma teoria da vida concreta imediata

Contudo, algumas partes do pensamento soreliano nunca interessaram Mohler. Nomeadamente as lacunas do pensamento soreliano, todavia patentes, sobretudo quando se tratou de definir os processos que deveriam ter animado a nova sociedade proletária trazida pelo “mito”. Mohler absteve-se igualmente de investigar a ambiguidade de bom número de conceitos utilizados por Sorel. Mas Mohler descobriu em Sorel ideias que o haviam preocupado a ele também: não se pode, pois, negar o paralelo entre os dois autores. As afinidades intelectuais existem entre os dois homens, porque Mohler como Sorel, buscaram uma “teoria da vida concreta imediata” (recuperando as palavras de Carl Schmitt).

Karlheinz Weissmann traduzido por Rodrigo Nunes

causanacional.net

vendredi, 27 mars 2009

Revolutionary Conservative: Interview with Jonathan Bowden

Small_Celtic_Cross-1.jpg

REVOLUTIONARY CONSERVATIVE:

INTERVIEW WITH JONATHAN BOWDEN

Interviewed by Troy Southgate - http://www.rosenoire.org/

REVOLUTIONARY CONSERVATIVE: INTERVIEW WITH JONATHAN BOWDEN As conducted by Troy Southgate

Jonathan Bowden is the Chairman of the New Right and a man I am proud to regard both as a like-minded spirit and a friend. The following interview was conducted in the summer of 2007.

Q1: Your family background is a heady mix of Irish and Mancunian and you were brought up in rural Kent. Would you say that any of this helped to shape your intellectual development in any significant way?

JB: One’s origins obviously influence the way everything turns out in the end. I actually spent many of my formative years in the south Oxfordshire countryside, but I do admit that the Kent coast offers a certain draw. I was born in Pembury maternity hospital in mid-Kent in 1962 and the family later branched out into Bearstead after that. I remember a blue Volkswagen beetle, an extremely low-lying bungalow, roundabouts, that sort of thing… it was all very middle-class. I especially recall a Gothic moment from my own childhood; it concerned a mad woman or witch who lived up the way. She seemed to be a sort of Grendel’s mother – you know the kind. Anyway, rumour had it that she used to sit stark naked behind her letter box, dressed only in a black balaclava helmet, and any woman passing by would then be subjected to ferocious abuse. Scatology wasn’t the word for it, if you take my drift. Then, after a certain time had elapsed, the police would be called and she’d be sat there, dressed up to the nines, with cream teas and all the rest of it. It was essentially an elaborate attempt to flirt with, seduce or just fraternise with the local policemen. Then, as soon as they’d departed and she’d promised to behave, our wired sister would be back at the letter box fulminating. All other women were the object of her hate. No feminist sisterhood in evidence there, then. Its sexual hysteria and related screamings – I remember it all as if it were yesterday. My mother was terrified of her. We always had to go round the other way. Gothic or macabre things like that have always intrigued me – it’s the hint of chaos underneath bourgeois suburban conformism, you see. Life – when you stop to consider it – is really a painting through which people articulate their own death. What interests me is the artistry to it; it’s what our forebears, the Elizabethans, used to call the skull beneath the skin.

Q2: A few years ago now, you published a series of books under a different name. Tell us more about the themes involved and what you were trying to achieve at the time.

JB: Yes, I admit that your question is along the right lines. I’ve written a great deal down in the years and under various names – one of them happened to be John Michael McCloughlin, as I recall. I’ve certainly written between thirty and fifty books – depending on how you choose to look at it. At one level I’ve composed purely for myself – fiction, plays, non-fiction, memoirs, belle lettres, higher journalism, lyrics, prosody, experimental or stream-of-consciousness work, you name it. At present it’s all beginning to appear on the internet. My website – www.jonathanbowden.co.uk – contains one full manuscript. It’s an e-Book in PDF format. It’s entitled Apocalypse TV and consists of at least 100,000 words. It’s approximately 240 pages. A Platonic dialogue between a Christian and a pagan voice, it deals with Turner Prize art or the “Sensation” exhibition, criminology and the murders of Fred and Rose West, the concept of Political Correctness, all sorts of things. A short story, A Ballet of Wasps , also exists on the site. Hopefully – and before too long – a great deal of material will appear in this way. It’s essentially got to be scanned, edited, converted to PDF and then uploaded. A play which you have read, Troy, called Lilith Before Eve , has recently been added to the site. The following three short stories, Golgotha’s Centurion, Wilderness’ Ape and Sixty-foot Dolls , will appear relatively soon. There are also four more plays known as Glock’s Abattoir, We are Wrath’s Children!, Evolution X and ,i>Stinging Beetles, for example. Ultimately, one of my life tasks is to put all of it online and then see if publishers, small outfits, that sort of thing, would be willing to do hard copy versions. One point of interest: the publisher Integral Tradition Publishing has expressed an interest in possibly treating Apocalypse TV in the way I describe – although whether this will ever extend to a desire to publish full novels of mine, such as Al-Qa’eda Moth or The Fanatical Pursuit of Purity, is altogether another issue. But, rest assured, I will bring out everything I’ve ever done over time, even if it’s only in e-Book form on the internet. Politics is just a side-line, you see; artistic activity is what really matters. The one alters effects; the other changes the world. As Bill Hopkins once told me, one man sat writing alone in a room can alter the entire cosmos. It’s the ability – through a type-writer or whatever else – to radically transform the consciousness of one’s time. Cultural struggle is the most interesting diversion of all. There’s a Lancastrian truism that my mother retailed to me: “truth is a knife passing through meat”. Well, in this particular freeway one special coda stands out – you must become your own comet streaking across the heavens – all else is just a matter of flame, spent filament, rock or tissue, en passant, which slopes off to the side. Avoid those stray meteor shoals casting off to one’s left; they are just the abandoned waifs and strays of a spent becoming. Let your life resemble a bullet passing through screens: everything extraneous to one’s task recalls such osmotic filters. (I’d especially like to thank Daniel Smalley and Sharon Ebanks for their manifold assistance with these websites. Sharon’s earlier contribution was the following: www.jonathanbowdenart.co.uk). Do you wish to survey something I’ve just written? It’s a bit of a prosody based on a Futurist painting by Fortunato Depero called Skyscrapers & Tunnel (1930).

Do they make the most Of a tubular scene-scape Designed without cost And collapsing into date Crepe rape spate fate constant ingrate?

Q3: Please tell us how you came to be involved in the Western Goals Institute, a vociferously anti-liberal and anti-communist tendency which originated in 1989 as an offshoot of the American ultra-conservative group of the same name.

JB: Yes, the organisation known as Western Goals was a bit of a shape-shifting entity – it began as Western Goals UK and then transformed itself, eventually, into the Western Goals Institute. Later still it recomposed itself into the British chapter of the World League for Freedom and Democracy; a group which, as it didn’t believe in either freedom or democracy, was rather amusing. I gave them my support – I was actually deputy chairman for a while – because I agreed with a merciless prosecution of the Cold War. Right-wingers of every type and race aligned across the globe against communism. The war had to be fought tooth and branch. I essentially concurred with Louis Ferdinand C’eline’s mea culpa about Marxist-Leninism – after having toured the Soviet Union on the proceeds of Journey to the End of the Night and Death on Credit. Don’t forget that the third world war, to use a different nomenclature for the Cold War, proved to be an alliance between Western hawks or rightist liberals and neo-fascism across the Third World. Groups like Unita, Renamo, Broad National Front (FAN), the Triple A, the United Social Forces, The Konservative Party and HNP, the Contras and Arena – never mind Ba’athism… all of these tendencies were Ultra in character. Had they all been Caucasian in profile, such groups would have seemed indistinguishable from the OAS or VMO. It was vitally necessary to delouse those “communist peons of dust”… to adopt a line from a stanza by Robinson Jeffers. I have always believed with Mephistopheles in Goethe’s Faust, whether paraphrased by Sir Oswald Mosley or not, that in the beginning there is an action.

Q4: Shortly afterwards you founded the Revolutionary Conservative Caucus with Stuart Millson. What were the reasons behind the establishing of this group and, realistically, how much do you think it managed to achieve?

JB: Ah yes, the Revolutionary Conservative Caucus and all that jazz. Where have one’s salad days gone? Anyway, the RCC was set up by Millson and myself as a cultural struggle tendency. Never really conservative, except metaphysically, it wanted to introduce abstract thought into the nether reaches of the Conservative and Unionist party – an area habitually immune to abstract thought, possibly any thought at all. There have always been such ginger groups – Rising, National Democrat and later Scorpion, Nationalism Today, Perspectives, the European Books Society, the Spinning Top Club, the Bloomsbury Forum and now the New Right. The important thing to remember is that these groups are fundamentally similar – irrespective of distinct semiotics. The system of signs may jar, but, in truth, all of them are advocating radical inequality and meaning through transcendence… that’s the key. As to accomplishments or achievements… well, they were really twofold: first, the mixing together of ultra-conservative and neo-fascist ideas; second, a belief in the importance of meta-politics or cultural struggle. By dint of a third or more casual reading, various publications like Standardbearers , Oswald Spengler’s essay Man & Technics , the ‘Revolutionary Conservative Review’, a brief and intermediate magazine called Resolution and the ultra-conservative journal Right Now… all of these formulations came out of this nexus. It’s a creative vortex, you see? Let’s take one example: my interview with Bill Hopkins in Standardbearers… this links right back to the fifties Angry Young Men and to Stuart Holroyd’s productions in Northern World, the journal of the Northern League. This interconnects – like Colin Wilson writing for Jeffrey Hamm’s Lodestar – with not only Roger Pearson but also the fact that members of the SS were in the Northern League.

Sic cum transierint mei Nullo cum strepitu dies Plebeius moriar senex. Illi mors gravis incubat Qui notus nimis omnibus Ignotus moritur sibi.

It’s this which has to be avoided.

Q5: Your first association with the New Right was as a guest speaker at the very first meeting in January 2005. What made you want to become more involved with the group and what role do you think it can play in the future?

JB: I became involved because of a residual respect for what the New Right and GRECE were trying to achieve. For my own part, this has something to do with the fact that the New Right wishes to bring back past verities in new guises. It ultimately recognises an inner salience; whence the Old Right enjoyed a Janus-faced discourse: whether esoteric or exoteric in character. Do you follow? Because the outer manifestation tended to be conspiratorial, however defined. Whereas the innermost locution rebelled against old forms, postulated a Nietzschean outlook and adopted a pitiless attitude towards weakness in all its forms. Irrespective of this, the New Right recognises that fascism and national-socialism were populist or mass expressions of revolutionary conservative doctrines. Indeed, the Conservative Revolution is tantamount to Marxism on the other side: the truth of the matter is that Evola, Junger, Spengler, Pound, Moeller van den Bruck, Bardeche, Revillo P. Oliver, Rebatet, Brasillach, Jung, Celine, Wyndham Lewis, Yockey, Bill Hopkins and Arthur Raven Thompson, say, are actually to the right of their respective political movements. It’s the same with the extreme left on the other side – whether we’re talking about Adorno, Horkheimer or Althusser. Who’s ever really read Sartre’s The Dialectic of Critical Reason? As to any influence our group might have… well, perhaps it would be best to put it in this manner. I think that the New Right can prove to be a nucleus for illiberal thinking, albeit of a revolutionary and conservative character. Take, for example, Tomislav Sunic’s thesis, Against Democracy; Against Equality – a History of the European New Right. In this purview it becomes obvious that the Conservative Revolution was the seed-bed or think tank for fascism and national-socialism, much in the manner that theoretical Marxism was for communism. In the latter’s case, one only has to think of Adorno and Horkheimer’s The Dialectic of Enlightenment as the forcing house for ‘sixties revolutionism – far more, say, than Marcuse or the Situationists. Percy Bysshe Shelley, in Paul Foot’s terms Red Shelley, once described poets as the unacknowledged legislators of mankind. But, in all honesty, if we were to substitute the word intellectual or philosopher for poet then you might be nearer the mark. (All of which isn’t to take away for a moment the impact of poets like Kipling, Robinson Jeffers or the blind and recently deceased bard John Heath Stubbs, for example). Yet, I say again, one thing that we must deliberate upon is the power of conception. A man who possesses an idea or a spiritual truth is the equivalent of fifty men. Every pundit, tame journalist, academic or mainstream politician is mouthing hand-me-down ideas from a philosopher of yesteryear. At one level artists and intellectuals have no power whatsoever; undertake a parallax view or examine it in a reverse mirror, then you will see that they are matters of the universe. For those who have heard of Mosley, Degrelle, Jose Antonio Primo de Riveria, Mussolini, even at a push Julius Caesar; figures of Bardeche, Thomas Carlyle, Spengler and Lawrence R. Brown will remain forever arcane and mysterious. But fate’s mysterious witching hour knows that you can never have one without the other.

Q6: How did you reconcile your role as Chairman of the New Right, a self-proclaimed elitist and anti-democratic group, with your former position as Cultural Officer of the British National Party (BNP)?

JB: I feel that there was no great contradiction between the New Right and the British National Party. It’s a conundrum that revolves around the exoteric-esoteric fissure mentioned before. The British National Party is a populist or nativist group – it currently has about fifteen percent electoral support across Britain. No campaign and one leaflet garners a tenth of votes. Any sort of campaign nets 15%+; whereas a full-on methodology, Eddy Butler style, can get up to a fifth or a quarter of the vote. Bearing in mind that England is now fifteen per cent non-white then these margins represent an even higher proportion of Caucasia. Given this, the party represents a plebiscitary wing, the organisation’s inner spine are (for the most part) traditional nationalists; whereas their mental fodder needs to be provided by groupings like the New Right. Hierarchically speaking, the new reformats the old, albeit with a new cloak. Let’s put it this way: New Right sensibility sublimates Julius Evola’s The Metaphysics of War into Nietzsche’s The Will to Power. You have to understand that on the doorstep a small proportion of electors can vaguely recollect what country they’re living in… never mind anything else. Philosophy blinds them to a dance of sharp-toothed wolves. My, what large teeth you have, Granny – said little Red Riding Hood. Never mind: the real point is to achieve transcendence or becoming. Let’s begin with Voice of Freedom turning into Identity, inter alia, which leaps upwards to New Imperium – a step to the side of which might really be Bill Hopkins’ essay, Ways Without Precedent, in the volume of essays which served as the Angry Young Men’s manifesto. It was called Declarations. Yet perhaps even a step beyond this actually exists. Doesn’t one of Elisabeth Frink’s sculptures of a Soldier’s massive cranium – or one of her Goggle-heads, perchance – indicate a move ahead into aesthetic puissance? Everything that exists is about to transmute into a superior variant, an intellectual and spiritual speck of light which exists over it. As a BNP activist who’d been electioneering in the streets of East London once told a journalist; “If there’s nothing above you then there’s nothing to aspire to”.

Q7: Is there any real difference between the natural ascendancy of the strong over the weak – a recurring theme in your speeches – and the ruthlessness of capitalist economics?

JB: Again, as before, my answer has to begin and end with a postulation of hierarchy tout court. Do you see? It all has to do with the fact that economics is the lowest level of social reality. It remains purely material. Despising it is no good; what you have to do must be to effectively transcend it. The neo-utilitarian economist, Arthur Marshall, who was active at the turn of the twentieth century once famously described his subject as the dismal science. Just so… literary-minded types have always preferred belletrists of finance, whether J.K. Galbraith or Hilaire Belloc’s Economics for Helen. What you need to do is accept the market as the basis for a national economy that will be mainly privately owned, as Tyndall advocated in the Eleventh Hour, and then impose implacable political ethos on it from above. Politics must master economics; businessmen must be made to be spiritually subordinate to spiritual verities: the supreme expression of which is Art. Money then serves higher interests to which it is beholden – not the other way around. In all vaguely autocratic systems the economy operates in the way I’ve described. Ultimately you have to teach people not that money is the root of all evil – that’s purblind Biblical moralising – but that capital proves to be little more than fuel. To start up your car you need to put the key in the slot. Economic activity then has to serve the national community – not the reverse. As to the alleged ruthlessness of capitalist economics – that’s largely Darwinian romanticism. Does an eagle suffer from pity as it tears its prey to pieces in the stump of a tree? Anyway, do you really suppose that we have an unfettered market after over a century of state intervention or social democratic manipulation of its mechanisms? The only real success the far-left’s ever had was to provide shot-gun marriages for statist institutions in the West. New liberals designed pension, health, credit, insurance and social housing schemes in order to buy off proletarian rebellion from below. It owed as much to the far-right as the accredited Left – hence Skidelsky’s hero-worshipping of Mosley in his biography of that name. (This author moved from being right social democrat to a left conservative at a later date). Likewise, Sir Oswald Mosley’s New Party contained Marxian economists and social commentators like John Strachey – later to be Minister of Food in the post-war Labour government. The real point has to be the metaphysical guiding post behind Mosley’s post-war treatise, The Alternative. Subordinate economics to the meaning of politics not its management. The whole point of a political class is to impose a morality on the market – as Heseltine, of all people, once said, market economics has no ethical system otherwise. Von Hayek’s methodology of the implicit moral goodness of markets (because self-correcting) is flawed. But de Benoist’s attack on an advocacy of jungle law – whether directed at von Mises, Hayek, Friedman, etc… falls sheer. Why so? Because all that’s wrong with primitivism, brutalism and what Ragnar Redbeard called Might is Right has to be an absence of culture. That’s the salient point to remember. No Sistine chapel ceilings would ever have been painted without a systematic metaphysic to master gold. Put it in its proper place, why don’t you? Yet you can only do so after its creation. In this custodianship Sir Digby Jones, the former director general of the CBI, has to find himself subordinated to the manifestation of those eight symphonies by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.

Q8: How ‘new’ is the New Right?

JB: It is clear to me that the New Right is diverse and diachronic in form. Like the refracted sides of a cerulean gem it casts many different slants afoot. All of these shimmer and break against a dark glass. To be truthful, the biggest disjunctions between old and new have to do with reductionism, conspiracy and revisionism. The old accepts the first two categories and could be said to have reformulated itself by virtue of the third. Perhaps we could go as far as to say that Revisionism is the reworking of the Old Right in modern guise – revisionist literature could then be considered to be the Old Right’s research and development. Just so… maybe Butz, Samning, Steiglitz, Baron, Berg, Harry Elmer Barnes, Rudolf, Mattogno, Graf, Faurisson, Zundel, Rassinger, Joachim Hoffmann, Heddessheimer, et al, are really Maurras, Weininger, Brasillach, Drieu la Rochelle, Celine, Barres, Revilo P. Oliver, Yackey, Ezra Pound, Jack London and Rossenberg… all come round again. I think, in these circumstances, that the New Right is a differentiated codex or semiotic – it enables a great deal of radical conservative material to return, maybe in a new guise. Although another point should be made, in that ultra-Right movements tend to have an occult trajectory. They manifest two sides: the esoteric and the exoteric. This can be considered to be a polarity between internal and external. For the masses Jean Respail’s Camp of the Saints or Christopher Priest’s Fugue for a Darkening Island; for the elite Count Arthur de Gobineau’s Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races . To quote yet another example – for mass taste Kolberg or Der Ewige Jude; for elitist consumption Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia or the Italian film industry’s version of Ayn Rand’s We the Living. Even Hans Jurgen Syberberg’s seven hour epic, Hitler: a Film from Germany, strives for neutrality in an area where only negative partisanship is allowed. In this context Steukers, Sunic, Gottfried, De Benoist, Walker, Lawson, Krebs and so forth, are the inner elitism or vertical dimension amidst a general carnival. They are less the meat in the sandwich than the inner pagan and non-humanist core to ideas which the residuum cannot grasp unless they are put in a more basic form. It must only be true the less it is understood, in other words… By virtue of our silk-screening, reductive and metaphysical conspiracies are materialisms. They are explanations on a physical level. New Right discourse internalises and sublimates this doxa; it circulates it as spiritual velocity. Aesthetically speaking, what can be transmuted – for a philistine or mass public – as Max Nordau’s Degeneration becomes Ortega Y Gasset’s The De-humanisation of Art at a more advanced illustrative push. Perhaps, even as a reverse dialectic, Wyndham Lewis’ The Demon of Progress in the Arts provides an overlapping negation to Y Gasset’s thesis – all prior to a new or renewed synthesis. Ethnically speaking, one might aver that The Turner Diaries amount to the outside face of the Bell Curve’s Junction. Artistically again, doesn’t Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead provide a fusion, in mock-libertarian guise, of internal and external messages in a bottle? Whereby the heroic modernist Roark – based loosely on the living example of Mies van der Rohe – overlaps with the neo-classical sculptor ‘Steve’. A character which was loosely based on Gustav Thorak, an artist who’s heroic figurine, Atlas, outside the grand central station in Chicago influenced Ayn Rand’s last right-anarchist novel, Atlas Shrugged. I would go so far as to say that the New Right is a toxic cerebration to the Old Right’s fist: in musical terms it’s Screwdriver becoming Laibach and then morphing into Carl Orff. But isn’t Verese’s noise brought back into focus by Igor Stravinsky’s The Right of Spring? After the performance of which – the master Stravinsky had to be guarded at his concerts, like a prize fighter. Diaghilev strove to remain highly jealous throughout.

Q9: You have a keen interest in Modernism. Why does this form of artistic expression appeal to you most and what, in your opinion, makes Modernism so superior to Modern Art?

JB: Ah yes, the issue of Modernism… I’m an ultra-rightwing modernist, let’s make that clear. Even though some of my work is traditional, restorationist, historical and semi-classic in spirit… nonetheless, I’m a modernist, even on some occasions an Ultra-modernist. Let’s be definite about this: some of my pictures do relate to Bosch, Redon, Klimt, Bacon, Pacher, ancient Greek sculpture and so on, but primarily I wish to create new and ferocious forms. They must come from within; what you really require is an image the like of which no-one has ever seen before, even dreamt of prior to your conception. Bacon always declared that he wanted to paint the perfect cry, after the fashion of the nurse on the steps facing the White Guards in Battleship Potemkin. I never wished to paint the greatest scream a la Poussin’s Massacre of the Innocents. No. For my part, I wanted to paint the most ferocious image of my time – these works are not neurotic, paranoid, schizoid, disturbed or mentally ill, as some might suggest… they are passionate integers of fury. The effort is to project strength and power. One cares nothing for the aesthetic standards of the masses; they are children who only like what they know or feel comfortable with. What really matters has to be the ecstasy of becoming – early or classic modernism happened to be exactly that. It was an attack on sentimentality; it proved to be an art purely for intellectuals. It was anti-humanist, elitist, inegalitarian, vanguardist, misanthropic, sexist, racist and homophobic – all good things. It gave witness to the neo-classic bias within the Modern that related to the theories of T.E. Hulme, a revolutionary conservative, and Ortega Y Gasset, a mild fascist. In the latter’s Dehumanisation of Art he preaches a new style against the Mass – that notion has always intoxicated me; to trample upon the masses and synthesise them into a new evolutionary surge has to be our object. The failure of extremist conservatism, fascism and national-socialism was material; revolutionary right-wing ideas may only really flourish spiritually: art has to be its vehicle; the stars its limit… homo stultus, the putty. Early modernism found itself penetrated by these ideas… only much later did it become a vehicle for liberal humanism. A move which in and itself related to the academic, restorative and conservative aesthetic tendencies in Soviet and Nazi art. One of the ironies is that revolutionary art becomes liberal wall-paper; while revolutionary movements adopted philistinism as their watchword. Their anti-formalism became a rigid fear of upsetting the majority. Art partly exists to disturb expectations, but liberal anti-objectivism has gradually dissolved this influence. An image like Tato’s March on Rome becomes more and more diffuse… until you end up with a David Hockney sketch, a Yorkshire scene bathed in light, and adorning a corporate office anywhere in the world. But let’s not fall into the trap of talking about the revolution betrayed – that’s such a bore. Also, revolutions are always betrayed; that’s their purpose. It’s only then that we recognise the salient truth: namely, they are part of life’s warp and weft. They have to be taken - to use Truman Capote’s axiom – in Cold Blood. A dilemma which brings us to the exposed issue of post-modernism, I dare say.

Q10: A talented and accomplished artist, you have produced over 200 paintings of your own. What first motivated you to take up painting, and how would you describe your own inimitable style?

JB: Unlucky for some, eh? Well, let’s look at it in this way… between around six or thirteen years of age I used to draw comics or graphic novels. They were my first form. Around two thousand images definitely came into the world as a consequence of these endeavours. They were my first love, I suppose – primarily due to their combination of words and images. A factor which also accounts for my interest in the graphic, the horrific or Gothic, the linear and the pre-formed. Contrary to the desiderata of pure modernism, in graphic work you always know where you’re going but not necessarily where you intend to end up. After a brief gap – grammar school and so on – I started to produce images again. Yet now a subtle change had taken place. The pictures underwent a metamorphosis into full-scale paintings and over around thirty years have mounted up to at least 215 works. Some of the early ones are framed; others not. Around 175 or 177 (depending) are available for viewing on my website (www.jonathanbowden.co.uk), sundry sketches and preliminaries will follow… and the coup de gras shall be those graphic novels which await scanning and upload at a later date. Personally speaking, I find them to be captivating in their allure. They are extremely varied in their focus – some are ferocious, savage and expressionist; others are erotic, playful and sensual; still more have a classic, restorationist or historical bias; while the remainder embody autobiographical and ideological themes. Some pertain to child art or the ramifications of Art Brut: that is, a willing or known primitivism in terms of artistic silence. Certain other paintings are literally portraits of people known to me; whilst early on I experimented with the psycho-portrait – here you illuminate a person’s nature and not their looks. Although eschewing abstraction – unlike Norman Lowell – I’ve never been interested in pure representationality after the invention of photography to do it for you. Do you recall those nineteenth century series of photographs by the master Edward Muybridge? He was one of the great pioneers of slow-motion, frame by frame photography when this art or science was in its infancy. A sequential art motif featuring two men engaged in Graeco-Roman wrestling has to be an early classic. These images in particular had profound influence on Francis Bacon’s oeuvre. Anyway, if we examine it closely then this tradition splits several ways. It leads to the strip cartoon, the cartoon or funny, comics and the story board – a development that prepares the ground for early silent cinema. So inter alia, the fantastical and linear presentation of action becomes art’s necessity. All of which involves going inside the mind so as to furnish provender – imagination then facilitates change, transmutation, forays from within and the custody of inner space. An eventuality which portends Modernism – why don’t you think of me as a heterosexual version of Francis Bacon? Maybe you could construe yourself, Troy, as the famous critic David Sylvester with whom Bacon had a well-known artistic dialogue in Plato’s tradition. Thames and Hudson published it years ago.

Q11: In his recent book, Homo Americanus, the Croatian author Tomislav Sunic notes that “postmodernity is hypermodernity insofar as the means of communication render all political signs disfigured and out of proportion.” (p.150)? What is your view on post-modernism and hyper-modernism?

JB: I actually question whether the concept of hyper-modernity actually exists, but we don’t want to end up in a cul-de-sac of meaning and response. By no means… Do you happen to recall that story by H.P. Lovecraft, Pickman’s Model, where the artist’s baying creature at the end of various Old Bostonian tunnels was taken from life? That’s the point… Anyway, in Tomislav Sunic’s Homo Americanus, which I have to admit that I had a hand in editing, he makes a situational point about post-modernism. Note: Situationism was a literary theory of excess, somewhat ‘terrorist’ in spirit, which grew out of a fragment of late surrealism. Its chief text was Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle. Certainly the notion of a twenty-four hour media circus which penetrates everything, cyclonically, has come to be seen as a cliché. Nowadays , a thinker like Jean Baudrillard just tidied up post-modern excess and evinced an ironic distance over any attachment to left radicalism. Post-modernity is really about patterning. It’s an Asiatic or Oriental deportment; one in which displaced tarot cards are endlessly displaced and new meanings then become attached to them. It self-consciously adopts a mosaic’s inflexions, but variously complex or contradictory currents enter into the mixture here. Yet misnomers abound: Stravinsky’s neo-classicism early on in the twentieth century is definitely post-modern in feel… yet historically it can hardly be described as such. Whereas an extremist modernist text written after the Second European Civil War by Samuel Beckett, Comment C’est (How It Is), could be delineated as a post-modern elixir. In it two forms – vaguely reminiscent of the actors Patrick Magee and Max Wall – drag themselves across plateaus of mud towards an uncertain future, mouthing imprecations all the while. Also, there is a complicated interaction between post-modernist diction and historical revisionism over the Shoah. Its extreme relativism, metaphysical subjectivism and heuristic bias lend itself to micrological analysis, rather like Kracuer’s estimation of the German film industry. Nonetheless, the hermeneutical pea-souper which clings to Paul de Mann’s Blindness & Insight definitely has something to do with his own partiality for writing on behalf of Leon Degrelle-like journals during that conflict. Paradoxically though, deep textual analysis or criminological fare, rather like Faurisson’s exegesis, can quite easily dovetail itself with Thion’s post-structuralism, whereby all media certainties become questionable. As to hyper-modernity, what can one say? Perhaps it relates to the mass media’s electronic self-consciousness – the self-consciousness of its own self-consciousness, if you like. Now post-modernism truly behaves like a serpent devouring its tail, or the Worm Ouroborous. It also betokens those cinema audiences in the ‘fifties, metaphorically, who sat in darkened flea-pits watching in X-Ray specs. Possibly hyper dims post-modernity, if only to provide its apotheosis and defeat. A chimpanzee sits before a Sony Playstation playing a Gulf War game with News 24 alive in the background… maybe the latter scenes in Pierre Boulle’s novel, Monkey Planet, have a certain salience. Particularly when these gestures are interestingly spliced with Christopher Priest’s racialist science-fiction novel, Fugue for a Darkening Island… the one with a piece of Ploog-like fantasy art on the cover. A neglected work – it nevertheless intones values similar to those of a British Camp of the Saints. The point to make throughout all of this, however, is that culture cannot just elicit a significatory response. It must entertain an essentialist or organic bias (even in its existential mists) – otherwise it’s meaningless. One can then look forward to conceptual art replacing an art of concepts; wherein Stewart Home’s interpretation of Manzoni’s cube smears over Kipling’s The Stranger.

Jonathan Bowden may be contacted in writing via BCM Refine, London WC1N 3XX, England.

Home Articles Essays Interviews Poetry Miscellany Reviews Books Archives Links