Julius Evola asserts that “a true Right without the monarchy ends up deprived of its natural centre of gravity and crystalisation”, since the Crown in traditional societies is the principle reference point. Hence, in any situation in which a Right takes form, its function needs to correspond to that of the system characterized by loyalty to the crown. In the context of Italian Fascism, Evola undertakes this analysis. (For Evola’s more general view on monarchy, please see The Meaning and Function of Monarchy.
Even for Mussolini, the monarchy was the fundamental element of national unity. Evola brings up an interesting side point. After 1943, the Germans established the Salo Republic in northern Italy with Mussolini as its head. Since it no longer had a relationship to the monarchy, there is nothing of interest for Evola in it. Hence from this comment, we may presume that Evola’s fundamental loyalty was to the Crown, and not to Fascism in itself.
For those unfamiliar with Italian history, Mussolini did not seize power, but received it from the King. In the remainder of Chapter V, Evola argues, with historical examples, for the legitimacy of a titular king while the state is actually under the management of a strong leader. We defer to his judgment in this area. He concludes with an interesting personal revelation. After the invasion of Italy by the Allies, Evola escaped to Germany, where he was spent time at Hitler’s headquarters in Rastenburg, and was there when Mussolini arrived there prior to establishing the Salo Republic. From Evola’s perspective, that republic—detached from the kingdom—was a degeneration and a regression, based solely on Mussolini as an individual. Nevertheless, he conceded that there was some basis for those who felt loyalty to Fascism. Interestingly, Evola complained about the vulgar anti-monarchical attitude of the National Socialists, that made them more like revolutionaries than representatives of the Right.
Evola next points out that the role of Fascism, after its initial revolutionary phase, should have been the reestablishment of “normality and unity”. An obstacle was the Fascist party itself, which became a state within a state. A true state is not ruled by parties, which is restricted to democratic, parliamentary regimes. Hence, even a “one party” state makes no sense, since it asserts that the “part” wants to be the “whole”. Evola claims that instead of a “party”, what was need was an “order”, like the nobility, that embodied the “idea” of the state.
Fascism could not overcome its origins as a party with democratic ideas and its desire to become a mass party. Instead of consolidating and purifying itself, making membership a “difficult privilege”, it extended membership horizontally. This led to superficial adherents, opportunists, and conformists. Instead, Evola wished that the creation of an Order should have been the goal after gaining power.
There is little point to publishing or reviewing this book, unless we can extract some contemporary lessons from it. First of all, it is clear, as he often insisted, that Evola was not a Fascist since his first loyalty was to King and country. Fascism was merely a contingency that should have led to the establishment of a traditional state, as it faded away as a party in favour of a superior order. Obviously, things did not work out that way.
We also see, in the minor resurgences of most soi-disant rightist groups, often under the guise of identitarian movements, the same party attitude. This is little attention paid to “quality”, as participants are accepted willy-nilly, with wildly varying spiritual, political, ethical, and ethnic world conceptions. The hope, apparently, is that they share a common goal and the differences will somehow work out after the “revolution”. That is quite far from what Evola has described. When personal bonds have been established, it can be difficult to make the decision to exclude certain members, i.e., to purify the movement. However, sometimes there is no place for sentimentality.
Curiously, Evola has left out of the discussion anything concerning the spiritual atmosphere of the country, seeing in the King alone the symbol of its unity. In Evola’s conception, the dux, or leader, receives his legitimacy from the King, or rex. However, he neglects to point out that the legitimacy of the king himself derives from the spiritual authority.
In contrast, we can consider Maurras’ solution. Although non-religious and a Positivist, he recognized that the real France was the creation of the 40 Catholic kings of France. Like Evola, he agreed that the King was the symbol of the unity and identity of the nation. As a thought experiment, you could compare how the contemporary Frenchman regards what it means to be “French”, keeping in mind the Republic’s commitment to the secular state and universal human rights.
For Maurras, there was little difference between the Catholic and Positivist France, since they were, or would be, based on the natural law. Hence, the laws of the state would generally be acceptable to both groups. Since then, and considering Benoist’s early adherence to Maurras and then his subsequent rejection, there has been nothing to replace it. Without a king, without a real religious tradition, without a natural law, on what basis can a new state arise? The only options are some sort of zoological camaraderie or else despair and nihilism. Yes, I suppose there is also “wishing and hoping”.
The closest example today, I believe, is in Iran. There the Supreme Leader is the religious authority with the power of veto and setting the general direction of affairs. The President would have the duties of running the government. This is analogous to Evola’s distinction between the rex and the dux, except in this case, their is a legitimate spiritual authority. Certainly, this organization would have appeal in the West. Nevertheless, the Pope used to play a similar role, but that was rejected over time, often in very bloody ways.