Tonight, we are posting the first point of Julius Evola’s Orientations and will continue for the next ten Sundays. This is a project we have had in mind for quite some time and it is opportune in conjunction with the translation of the letters to Carl Schmitt. Although the same topics were eventually treated in more depth in Men among the Ruins and Ride the Tiger, it is useful to explore the points in their basic form. The eleven points were originally written in 1950 and led both to Evola becoming the de facto leader of “reaction”, as well as the criminal charge against him of “promoting Fascism”. Point 1 can certainly be read that way in its open support for the axis powers against the allies; nevertheless, as he said in his own defense, Evola is promoting the “healthy and normal” values of “well bred men”, not Fascism per se.
Nevertheless, the points were intended to be metapolitical, not tied to contingent events and thus adaptable to different conditions and times. Perhaps an exploration of the points will bring some order to the “Right”, which is in disarray. Carl Schmitt held that the fundamental political concept is the identification of the “enemy”. The various rights seem to be locked in various incompatible attempts to define that enemy. In Europe, we see the Right sometimes as pro-Israel and anti-Islam, and also as its opposite. The Right is pro-pagan and anti-Catholic, or else it is pro-Catholic and anti-Jewish. Usually, they simply oppose each other.
In the USA, the enemy of the right is Africans or Mexicans. Or else, the enemy includes liberals and anti-Capitalists, or even more commonly, anti-Zionists. There are elements of the so-called New Right who are progressives and support practices that no well-bred men would have considered healthy and normal. The various movements of the right and of self-described conservatives are divided against themselves. The Left, on the other hand, is united. It understands the spirit it opposes, usually with only nominal opposition. This first point must be read in the light of the Birth and Essence of the Modern Myth. Progress is the continuation of this process of the degeneration of castes. The Left knows this, the Right does not, or else forgets it.
There is a decided lack of imagination in the isolated attempts to bring back the “glory” of National Socialism or Fascism—systems which had their own serious flaws, as a quick reading of this point may indicate. To continue to hold to that is to ignore historical and current reality and misses the ideal of the eleven points as metapolitical. Instead, the “inner meaning of the battle” must be understood; there needs to be a return to the spiritual forces that Evola alludes to here: the spirits of Rome and of the Middle Ages. The text follows.
It is useless to create illusions with the pipe dream of any optimism whatsoever: we find ourselves today at the end of a cycle. Already for centuries, at first unfelt, then with the surge of a mass that caves in, numerous processes in the West have destroyed every normal and legitimate ordering of men, and distorted every higher conception of living, acting, knowing, and struggling. And the impulse of this downfall, its speed and its dizziness, is called “progress.” And hymns were sung to “progress” and we were deluded that this civilization is — a civilization of matter and machines — civilization par excellence. The entire history of the world was preordained to it: until the ultimate consequences of this whole process was such as to bring a few to an awakening.
Where, and under what symbols, those who sought to organize the forces for a possible resistance, is well-known. On the one hand, there is a nation [Italy] which, from when it became unified, had known only the mediocre climate of liberalism, democracy, and constitutional monarchy — dared take up again the symbol of Rome [the eagle] as the basis for a new political conception and for a new ideal of virility and dignity. Analogous forces were awakened in the nation [Germany] that had made in the Middle Ages the Roman symbol of the Imperium as its own, to reassert the principle of authority and the supremacy of those values that have their root in blood, in race, and in the deepest strength of a people. And while in other European nations some groups were already oriented in the same direction, a third force in the Asian continent [Japan] added itself to the alliance, the nation of samurai, in which the adoption of exterior forms of modern civilization did not compromise the fidelity to a warrior tradition centered on the symbol of the solar Empire of divine right.
We do not pretend that in these currents the distinction between the essential and the incidental is clear cut, that in them it made to the ideas by the opposing party an adequate persuasion and qualification of persons, that there were various outdated influences affected by the same forces that had to be combatted. The process of ideological purification would have been able to take place a second time, so that some immediate and non-deferrable political problems were solved. But it was also clear that an alliance of forces was taking form, representing an open challenge to “modern” civilization: both to that of the democracies inherited from the French Revolution and to the other, representing the extreme limit of the degradation of Western man: the collectivistic civilization of the Fourth Estate, the communist civilization of the mass-man without a face.
The rhythms accelerated and the tensions increased finishing in an armed conflict of these forces. What prevailed was the massive power of a coalition that did not back down in the face of the most hybrid of their agreements, and of the most hypocritical of this ideological mobilization in order to crush the world that was rising up and that intended to assert its right. Whether or not our men were equal to the task, if errors were committed in regard to timeliness, complete preparation, or measure of risk, that is beside the point, that is not something that compromised the inner meaning of the battle that was fought. Likewise, it does not interest us, that today history is avenged on the victors, that the democratic powers which, having formed a coalition with the forces of red subversion just to conduct the war up to the senseless extremism of a unconditional surrender and total destruction, today sees come back to roost against the allies of yesterday a danger more terrible than the one they wished to avoid.
The only thing that counts is this: we find ourselves today in the middle of a world of ruins. And the problem to be posed is: do men still exist on their feet within the middle of these ruins? And what should they, what else can they still do?
Point 2 ⇒