As Evola continues his analysis of the German legal scholar Hans Keller, we see recognizable themes. In particular, Keller comes surprisingly close to the New Right idea of Ethnopluralism. In Klemmer’s scheme, each people is free to define themselves, to realize themselves, and live independently of each in their own enclaves. So, the “New Right” is not so new after all, as it merely resurrects stillborn ideas from the past. Evola rejects this conception on several grounds.
The first and most obvious is Keller’s naturalistic starting point. Evola points out that for every Aryan civilization, the authority of their law was based on its relationship to the supernatural, and the lawgivers themselves were considered “divine”. So Klemmer, and by extension the New Right, have nothing at all to do with the self-understanding of the European peoples of the past. Keller regards such claims as fantasies and projections of earthly leaders onto an imaginary plane. Any rightist movement must be related to a transcendental tradition; the pseudo-tradition of neo-paganism would not qualify for reasons that will be made clear in Part III.
The second difficulty with Keller’s thesis is the very problem of defining a “volk”. Keller speaks of nations of destiny or becoming, without specifying their actual destiny or the goal of the becoming. As such, it is not very helpful. Furthermore, it implies that there will be nations in a lesser or greater state of becoming. Would the latter have to treat the former as minors and guide their development?
In common with similar ideas held by new right movements today, Keller blamed “inorganicity and leveling” on the preceding religious Regnum. This thesis, Evola rejects. Keller’s ethnopluralism is itself deracinated, since it lacks any content, or principles, that a supernatural conception of the Regnum would provide. Relations between ethnocentric conclaves are ad hoc, relativistic and, contingent. In contrast, Evola envisions a suprantional Imperium, in which the superior power furnishes the structure to the others. This, he claims, is a real unity, opposed to the merely nominal unity defined by Keller.
The final objection is devastating. Keller sees a pacifistic union of separate peoples, each according to its nature. But Evola asks the question, “what if the nature of a people is to be a warrior race?” This, Evola claims, is an essential part of Indo-European civilizations. This will blow up the ideal of peaceful ethnocentric enclaves, since one (or more) of them will seek to establish an Empire over the others; this is an essential feature and not a historically contingent event that may or may not occur.
We see the Germanic nations to this day adopting most of Keller’s conceptions. The sight of 40,000 Norwegians singing together for peace will not convince another people, whoever they may be, who are of a warrior nature, to leave them in that desired peace. Evola’s text follows:
Keller believes in immanent laws of the people, given by “nature”, respected and followed in themselves, not originating from any power from above or however personified: in any case, having nothing to do with a “beyond”. This is a “faith” like any other. In reality, it would be difficult to adduce a single legal system of ancient peoples, the Aryans included, for whom the authority of the laws was not related to a “divine” origin from above, and was not considered to have been introduced by legislators themselves “divine”. But we already know Keller’s point of view: instead of understanding the order proper to an earthly and temporal Imperium as the reflection of a transcendent order and, from another point of view, the secularization of law and authority purely spiritual in origin, he tends to see in every idea of a spiritual Regnum a type of fantastic projection of the fantastic image of an earthly reign. This stands, more or less, at the intellectual level of Euhemerism .
On the other hand, Keller finds it particularly difficult to define the concept of Volk. In certain cases, it seems that he values the national socialist conception of it as the criterion and measure, corresponding to the formula Volksgemeinschaft. Where he says that the “community of nations”, the hoped for supranational order, will not be able to be realized until all the peoples have been realized according to the Nazi totalitarian social concept, expressed precisely by the formula mentioned. But on the other hand, he concedes:
It is not important to see how the individual peoples conceive themselves, even if each one leaves the other free to form for themselves a given concept of their own essence and to live in conformity with it.
This is the conclusion of the analysis of the various ideas of the people, a conclusion that evidently leads to a full indifferentism and a pale norm of reciprocal tolerance on the international plane. The fact that Keller insufficiently acknowledges race to define the people; that he introduced the rather indeterminate concept of the “community of destiny” (this is a greatness that is defined depending on directions and many directions exist in the history of a great people); that, finally, he speaks of a “people in becoming”, without being able to say exactly what will define the terminus ad quem, i.e., the definite form of such a becoming—all that goes to confirm the mythical and weak content of this conception of the Volk. The only coherent solution would be to assert dogmatically that nations as truly such do not exist before being “total nations” according to the national socialist formula of the Volksgemeinschaft.
Nevertheless to want to assume as a provision for the membership with full rights in the orde nationum this political form is not, evidently, to fall short of the principle of respect of every “people”, even to the point of judging them “as minors” and to putting them almost under guardianship, even under a foreign State, when it has not reached such a form?
There is more. Keller, as we saw, blames the inorganicity and the leveling that would be typical of every Roman or religious conception of the Regnum, or Reich if one prefers, of the nations. Such an accusation is even turned against his own conception. In the logic of this, in fact, we don’t encounter any obstacle to not end up in the utopian vision of an order that takes up all the peoples of the earth. And we don’t encounter any obstacle through the fact that this order is rather more abstract and deprived of content of that of the now defunct League of Nations. In it, would be a question of only taking care of the laws of each people, of teaching them, of maintaining peace and the balance of power—in summary, a type of administrative function that does not presuppose any specific vision of the world, no higher point of reference. But, in its turn, the particularistic conception, relativistic, and collectivistic of the Volk, is the cause of that. If the authority of higher values is not recognized, it is evident that among the various “national” unities, only extrinsic relations, “gravitations” and “equilibria” will be able to exist, which do not involve, at its foundation, anything essential. In every way for us, such an ordo nationum as universal order is absurd and undesirable: we conceive of the concrete, differentiated, supranational unity, decentered in a well-defined vision of the world and in well-defined values that give the tone and the internal unity to a given “imperial space”. The superior civilization of a dominating race must furnish the reference point to a succession of political ethnic minors, in order that these, rising up from simply national values, and integrating such values, they find in them the basis to understand and to feel united to each other: to actually unite, and not in the style of an indifferent tolerance of belonging to the same club.
Therefore, these supranational unities, that will put a stop to the period of particularistic, schismatic, anti-European, as well as differentiated nationalism, will be able to even be combative. We see that Keller acknowledges war, but without recognizing in it any specific value, in the same way that he eventually acknowledges the State, in a transitional phase, as an instrument and pedagogue that may help tie “people” to realize themselves, finally, in a “total” form. The general intonation of his view remains pacifistic. Wherever he uses the word “power”, Macht, Keller thinks only of oppression, tyranny, violence, distortion of the people. He barely remembers Moltke’s phrase: “universal peace is only a dream, and not even a beautiful dream.”
Nevertheless, since every people, according to him, should be respected according to their own inclinations, we can certainly think that there exist peoples of a warrior race and calling—we noted everything that was said, starting from Klemm and D’Eichtal, about the typological distinction of “active races” and “passive races”, “conquering races” and slave races”, etc. Keller, it is true, on the other hand, refers to research on savage tribes, where he would demonstrate natural inclinations to reciprocal respect and peace, for the purpose of challenging the idea that the natural state is the war of all against all. But much more documentation would be necessary to show such a thesis, against which, all the great Aryan history already remains: it is true, not a history of eternal war and for war itself, but history, nevertheless, which is consistent with virile and dominating natures, capable of realizing superior values in battle— superior, often, to all that can come from a climate of peace of naturalistic harmony. Among the rights recognized by Keller for the people, he acknowledges the right to “their own development”: it would therefore behoove us to ask why this development must be limited to the bourgeois domain of “culture and economy”, with the exclusion of everything that refers to the “power” factor, where the natural inclination of such people was exactly that of the warrior and heroic type. We think instead that the heroic and warrior elements are of particular importance even as the common basis of an “imperial space”, i.e., of a concrete and well-articulated order between a given group of nations.
⇐ Part I Part III ⇒