The cause of all wars and revolutions—in a word, of all violence—is always the same: negation of hierarchy. ~ Valentin Tomberg
In the essay Transcendence and the Aristocratic Principle, published in Aristokratia III, Edwin Dyga gives us an excellent overview of traditional reactionary thinkers, that is, those of the “Old Right”. Specifically, he identifies the “Throne and Altar” as the essential criteria for civilization or, as we would say, the political power and spiritual authority in their proper relationship. He also touches on some so-called New Right thinkers, but, as far as I understand his point, they are defective in dealing with these criteria in a new way.
The opposite, then, of the Throne and Altar paradigm is “Revolution”. Mr. Dyga then identifies two propositions resulting from the rejection of the paradigm:
- The spirit of the Revolution involves a rejection of an order symbolized by “Throne and Altar”
- The ideology of the Revolution are demotic and materialist in essence
The first proposition is axiomatic, but the second requires an explanation. The two terms, demotic and materialist, are not connected by happenstance, but rather by necessity. Valentin Tomberg explains why:
Without an Emperor, there will be, sooner or later, no more kings. When there are no kings, there will be, sooner or later, no more nobility. When there is no more nobility, there will be, sooner or later, no more bourgeoisie or peasants. This is how one arrives at the dictatorship of the proletariat, the class hostile to the hierarchical principle which, however, is the reflection of divine order. This is why the proletariat professes atheism.
The demotic essence, therefore, is atheistic, anti-hierarchical, materialistic. Since there are New Right movements that themselves are atheistic, anti-hierarchical, and materialistic, this just shows the power the modernity holds over some minds. Such movements as typically “identitarian”, often on a biologically racial basis, which then becomes the defining paradigm rather than Throne and Altar. That is because such movements are themselves demotic and therefore unwilling to acknowledge or unable to recognize the hierarchy within the group itself.
Real and Ideal Relations
The philosopher Timothy Sprigge has given us the useful distinction between real and ideal relations. Real relations are related materially or historically; that is, there is a direction relationship on the horizontal plane. An ideal relationship is vertical; two ideas are not historically connected, yet they derive their similarity from the same transcendent principles.
So, for example, the Old Right derived from opposition to the French revolutionary spirit. Old Right thinkers are then Joseph de Maistre, de Bonald, Donoso Cortes as well as the more contemporary thinkers Mr. Dyga mentions. They are in a real relationship.
The New Right, on the other hand, is not in that tradition. Rather, it uses modern and post-modern thought to define a new understanding of the right that is not tied to the restoration of Throne and Altar. To the extent it that it defines a homologous alternative, it is in an ideal relationship to the Old Right. Specifically, it needs to define an alternative political power arrangement and a legitimate spiritual authority. Failing that, it devolves into a pale imitation of modernism.
An example is the Old and New Lefts. The Old Left saw the rejection of order solely in economic terms: the proletariat would take over the means of production. The New Left likewise sought a rejection of hierarchical order. However, they defined this first in racial terms, followed later by sexual relationships and so on. So, historically they arose from different motivations. However, since they are both revolutionary, demotic, and materialistic movements, they are in an ideal relationship to each other.
Julius Evola uses the term “homology” in a similar sense. For example, he recognizes three main civilizations descending from the Hyperboreans: the Vedic, the Greco-Roman pagan, and the Nordic-Roman medieval civilizations. In them, the same patterns repeat, i.e., they are homologous. For example, they are socially hierarchical with a spiritual, warrior, and producing classes. Georges Dumezil recognized this as common to Indo-European civilizations.
There is no need to belabor this here, since we have provided sufficient examples already. The point is that any new right movement needs to explain how the civilization it envisions is homologous to other traditional civilizations.
The Illusion of the Modern World
Mr. Dyga points out that
In this critique of the modernist world, Rene Guenon accordingly states that the foundational assumptions of the modern world are a contradiction of the cosmic order.
The real impact of this claim is seldom noted. First of all, the corollary is that the traditional world is based on the cosmic order. Hence, it is incumbent on all rebels and soi-disant “aristocrats of the soul” to understand what that order is and how it manifests in a particular place at a particular time.
The second corollary is that the modern world is unreal, as it is based on an illusion. Just as a chemist cannot deny the law that water boils at 100?, neither can a political scientist deny the cosmic order. Hence, the dispute between the modernist and the traditionalist is not an intellectual battle of ideas, but rather the difference between illusion and truth.
Degeneration or the Third Dimension
The real battle then is spiritual, not intellectual. Specifically, it is ultimately futile to try to trace the degeneration of civilization as a logical sequence of ideas, with one proposition leading to the next. This is just a form of historicism.
In fact, the degeneration begins in the people, or demos, themselves, not in the ideas they hold. Specifically, certain ideas can only take hold in minds that are already degenerate. The recognition of the spiritual or demonic origin of certain streams of thought constitutes the third dimension of history. Mr. Dyga also recognizes this, if not always consistently:
It is not the details that are of primarily interest to us but the animating force behind them, the current which emanates from an ephemeral realm yet whose force shapes the nature of temporal phenomena.
After all that theorizing, the temptation is to create a political program of some sort. How, then, can you arrive at the opposite of a revolution? It cannot be demotic (i.e., a mass movement); hence it requires an elite who understand the traditional principles and axioms. It cannot be atheistic or materialistic.
In his dialog with the New Right, Mr. Dyga walks a tightrope. If identity is primary, as the New Right presumes, then any spiritual movement is merely instrumental: it either supports or opposes the identity in question. Mt. Dyga tries, contrarily, to demonstrate that the hierarchical spiritual authority will create identity as a consequence. The principle of subsidiarity guarantees this. Historically, of course, this has been true. Christian Europe simultaneously repelled outsiders on the one hand, while simultaneously respected a Europe of 100 flags.
It was only the widespread rejection of Christianity, particularly in its most Traditional manifestation (specifically the Nordic-Roman Medieval Church), that threatened that understanding. To his credit, Mr. Dyga refutes the worst impulse of the New Right in a reasoned and calm manner. He often appeals to Julius Evola in rejecting the most absurd claims of zoological racism. Nevertheless, he recognizes that there are differences between peoples, but that they are the result of group spiritual and psychical/cultural factors.
When Peter was fleeing Rome to avoid persecution, he encountered the risen Christ. “Quo Vadis?” Peter asked. (“Where are you going?”) Jesus replied, “I am going to Rome.” Hearing that, Peter turned around and returned to Rome. That seems to be the response of Mr. Dyga.
Postscript on Tragedy
Since the essay refers to Jean Raspail’s Camp of the Saints, given the timing of current events, it merits a comment. Raspail’s book should not be understand as a racist screed, but rather as a satire of the political and religious leaders of France. Curiously, life imitates art, and the events foreseen in the novel are actually coming to pass. There is even the South American pope that Raspail predicted. There are Asian refugees entering Europe by the hundreds of thousands. There are the same horrible scenes, both in the book and in life, of children drowning in the sea.
Yet, it goes on, whatever the cost. And the political and religious leaders speak the same words as though Raspail were feeding them their lines. The Tragedy of Life arises from certain features of the players, called “hamartia”, whether good, bad, or comic. While the audience can anticipate how the whole thing will play out, the actors are oblivious to the consequences of their decisions. They cannot do otherwise. That is the Tragedy.