As to tolerance, it is surprising how far removed from the equity and prudence of the Church are those who profess what is called Liberalism. For, in allowing that boundless license of which We have spoken, they exceed all limits and end at last by making no apparent distinction between truth and error, honesty and dishonesty. ~ Pope Leo XIII (On Human Liberty)
It is not our intent here to debate the irrefutable facts of history, but rather the spiritual roots of liberalism. Intolerance, which is not equivalent to totalitarianism, is a fact of life. Any healthy social body will resist influences that threaten it, including spiritual as well as material threats. Christians from time to time forced conversions, contrary to its alleged principles. Pagans tortured Christians, not to mention waged all out wars between each other. It is hardly a novelty and it is absurd to think it will never happen again. Ruling powers almost always use force to maintain themselves. When an American politician claims that Assad is “killing his own people”, I would like to ask him how many of his own people did Abraham Lincoln kill? Such actions are always felt justified by someone.
Benoist writes that Christianity and liberalism are spent forces and hopes for a new paganism to fill the vacuum. Perhaps it will, but I think we have demonstrated that ancient paganism was not quite what he envisions.
The meme we dispute is the New Right claim that liberalism is secularized Christianity. Benoist, given his early involvement with Maurras’ thought, certainly knows the long standing opposition between the two points of view. To combat that meme, we took the trouble to edit and format Donoso’s book on the topic. Leo XIII is closer to understanding liberalism than is Benoist. The former recognizes that in liberalism, there is no difference between truth and error, right and wrong … they all assert and demand equal rights. But that is precisely the Nietzschean view espoused by Benoist: there is no truth, there are only perspectives.
The ethics of liberalism are not at all those of Catholicism, at least when it was Traditional. Instead, we claim, with much more justification than Benoist’s thesis, that it is actually the vision of Charles Maurras that is secularized Catholicism. If we accept Evola’s claim that the historico-material world is a reflection of spiritual reality, then a secularized version of that would be to take the reflection itself as the sole reality without reference to its spiritual underpinning.
That is precisely what Charles Maurras, following the lead of Auguste Comte, did. Positivism in their hands proposed a political and social program that was compatible with, if not identical to, what any Catholic government would have implemented. Benoist certainly knows this, but neglects to mention it; his sycophants are ignorant of it. But Benoist rejected Maurras along with the latter’s counter-revolutionary program. What he would replace it with is far from clear; however, it is necessarily not the counter revolution.
We don’t know the purpose of the memes spread by Benoist, other than to stifle logical thinking and replace it with easily assimilable slogans. We suggest that those on the right who are uncomfortable with theological language and reject the supernatural put aside Benoist’s books for a time. Check out Comte and Maurras; perhaps you will find more useful ideas.
The volkisch meme persists in some quarters; this is only a concern when they claim to be speaking for Tradition. In Tradition, the folk are lunar and passive. While there may be some sort of folk soul, it is changeable over time, just as is their material and biological constitution. As passive, the folk are absorbers of ideas, not creators. Ancient peoples believed they were founded by a divine being, usually an ancestor, who formed them, promulgated their laws, taught them their rites, and gave them a spiritual vision. This was subsequently developed by their priests, poets, and others from their spiritual and political elite.
From the Traditional perspective, then, we are not so concerned about what the folk believed, but rather about what the elite understood. We have heard recently commentators claim that “our people” are Baptists, and others say “our people” are Odinsts; they are speaking of the same people. That is a sentimental attitude, but lacking in spiritual depth. Lasting change requires a real conversion; then there will be a vision without which the people will perish.