A True Empire: Form and Presuppositions of a United Europe
By Julius Evola
In order to head toward a united Europe, the first step should consist of a concerted exit of all European nations from the United Nations, which is an illegitimate, promiscuous, and hypocritical association. Another obvious imperative should be to become emancipated in every aspect and in equal measure from both the United States and the USSR. […]
[…] Here I will only hint at what concerns the form and the spiritual and doctrinal presuppositions of a united Europe. […] The only genuine solution must have an organic character; the primary element should be a shaping force from within and from above, proper to an idea and a common tradition. […]
[…] As I have indicated in another chapter, the concepts of fatherland and nation (or ethnic group) belong to an essentially naturalistic or “physical” plane. In a united Europe, fatherlands and nations may exist […] What should be excluded is nationalism (with its monstrous appendix, namely imperialism) and chauvinism—in other words, every fanatical absolutization of a particular unit. Thus “European Empire,” and not “Nation Europa” or “European Fatherland” should be the right term, in a doctrinal sense. In the Europeans we should appeal to a feeling of higher order, qualitatively very different from the nationalistic feeling rooted in other strata of the human being. […]
The scheme of an empire in a true and organic sense (which must clearly be distinguished from every imperialism, a phenomenon that should be regarded as a deplorable extension of nationalism) was previously displayed in the European medieval world, which safeguarded the principles of both unity and multiplicity. In this world, individual States have the character of partial organic units, gravitating around a unum quod non est pars (“a one that is not a part,” to use Dante’s expression)—namely, a principle of unity, authority, and sovereignty of a different nature from that which is proper to each particular State. But the principle of the Empire can have such a dignity only by transcending the political sphere in the strict sense, founding and legitimizing itself with an idea, a tradition, and a power that is also spiritual. The limitations of the sovereignty of the single national units before an eminent right of the Empire have as their sole condition this transcendent dignity of the Empire; as far as structure is concerned, the whole will appear as an “organism composed of organisms,” or as an organic federalism similar to that realized by Bismarck in the second German Reich, which was not acephalous. These are the essential traits of a true Empire.
What are the conditions and the opportunities for the realization of such an idea in Europe today? […] Because what is needed is an organic unity, the premise should rather be the integration and consolidation of every single nation as a hierarchical, united, and well-differentiated whole. The nature of the parts should reflect the nature of the whole. […] What matters is the synergy and the opportunity for every common action.
Every organic unit is characterized by a principle of stability. We should not expect a stability of the whole, where there is no stability guaranteed in its very components. Even from this point of view, the elementary presupposition of an eventual united Europe appears to be the political integration of the single nations. European unity would always be precarious if it leaned on some external factor, like an international parliament lacking a common, higher authority, with representations from various democratic regimes; such regimes, because they are constantly and mutually conditioned from below, cannot in any way ensure a continuity of political will and direction. […]
What is required is not to impose a common regime on every European nation; however, an organic, hierarchical, anti-individualistic, and antidemocratic principle should be adequately implemented, even though in various forms adopted to different circumstances. Thus, the preliminary condition is a general antidemocratic cleansing, which at the present appears to be almost utopian. Democracy, on the one hand, and a European parliament that reproduces on a larger scale the depressing and pathetic sight of the European parliamentary systems on the other hand: all this would bring ridicule upon the idea of a united Europe. In general, we should think of an organic unity to be attained from the top down rather than from the bottom up. Only elites of individual European nations could understand one another and coordinate their work, overcoming every particularism and spirit of division, asserting higher interests and motives with their authority. […] A well-established “center” should exist in every nation; as a result of the harmony and the synergy of such centers, the higher European unity would organize itself and operate.
Overall, what should be promoted is a twofold process of integration: on the one hand, national integration through the acknowledgment of a substantial principle of authority that is the basis for the organic, anti-individualistic, and corporative formation of the various sociopolitical national forces; on the other hand, supernational European integration through the acknowledgment of a principle of authority that is as super-ordained toward that which is proper of single units (individual States), as it is toward the people included in each of these units. Without this, it is useless to talk about an organically united Europe.
Having put the problem in these terms, there are serious difficulties regarding the spiritual, not merely political, foundations required to implement this European unity. Where should we find these foundations? […]
Obviously, it would be a pure Utopia to yearn to oppose in practical terms all the material aspects of modern civilization: among other things, this would involve surrendering the practical means that are necessary today for every defense and attack. However, it is always possible to establish a distance and a limit. It is possible to enclose that which is “modern” in a well-controlled material and “physical” domain, on the plane of mere means, and to superimpose upon it a higher order adequately upheld, in which revolutionary-conservative values are given unconditional acknowledgment. The Japan of yesterday demonstrated the possibility and the fecundity of a solution of this type. Only in that case could Europe represent something different, distinguish itself, and assume a new dignity among world powers. […] The first European detoxification should concern this obsession with “antifascism,” which is the catchphrase of the “crusade” that has left Europe in a pile of rubble. However, we cannot side either with those pro-European sympathizers who can only refer to what was attempted in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany before the war, toward the creation of a new order. These groups fail to recognize that Fascism and National Socialism were movements and regimes in which different and even contrasting tendencies coexisted; their development in the right, positive, revolutionary-conservative sense could have occurred only if circumstances had allowed for an adequate, further development, which was stricken down by the war they ignited and by their ensuing defeat. This is how we should at least proceed to a precise distinction, if we want to draw reference points from those movements.
Besides doctrinal difficulties, which I have examined, a radical European action finds its major obstacle in the lack of something that could represent a starting point, a firm support, and a center of crystallization. Before 1945 we could at least witness the wonderful sight of the principle of a supernational European Army, and the legionary spirit of volunteers from many nations who, having been organized in several divisions, fought on the Eastern front against the Soviets; at that time the foundation was the Third Reich. Today the only concrete, though partial, European initiatives of various governments are taken on a mere economic plane, without any deep ideological and ideal counterpart. Those who are sensitive to the idea of a united Europe in a higher sense are only isolated individuals, and not only are they not supported, but also they are even opposed by their own countries; and much more so, let me add, if their necessary antidemocratic and anti-Marxist profession of faith is openly declared. In effect, a European action must proceed in parallel with the rebirth and the revolutionary-conservative reorganization of the individual European countries: but to recognize this also means to acknowledge the disheartening magnitude of the task ahead.
Despite this, we could suggest the idea of an Order, whose members would act in the various nations, doing what they can to promote an eventual European unity, even in such unfavorable conditions. The enthusiasm of young militants who conduct an active propaganda should be commended, but it is not enough. We should count on people with a specific qualification, who occupied or intended to occupy key positions in their own nations. What kind of men could be up to this task? Assuming bourgeois society and civilization as a reference point, it is necessary to win over to the cause and to recruit people who neither spiritually belong to the bourgeoisie nor are affected by it, or who are already beyond it. A first group should be composed of members of ancient European families that are still “standing” and who are valuable not only because of the name they carry, but also because of who they are, because of their personality. It is very difficult to find such men but there are some exceptions, and even during and after the last World War, some of these figures emerged. Sometimes it is a matter of awakening something in the blood that has not been entirely lost but still exists in a latent state. In these elements we would expect to find the presence of congenital, “racial” dispositions (racial in the elitist and non biological-racist sense of the term) that guarantee an action and a reaction according to a precise and secure style, free from theories and abstract principles, in a spontaneous and complete adherence to those values that every man of good birth considered obvious before the rise of the Third Estate and of what followed it.
In regard to a second and more numerous section of the Order, I have in mind men who correspond to the human type shaped here and there through selections and experiences of an essentially warrior character, and through certain disciplines. Existentially speaking, this type is well versed in the art of “demythologization”: it recognizes as illusion and hypocrisy the entire tenacious legacy of the ideologies that have been employed as instruments, not to bring down this or that European nation, but to deal a deadly blow to the whole of Europe. These men harbor a healthy intolerance for any rhetoric; an indifference toward intellectualism and politicians’ gimmicks; a realism of a higher type; the propensity for impersonal activity; and the capability of a precise and resolute commitment. In the past, in some elite fighting units, today among paratroopers and analogous corps (e.g., Marines and others), some disciplines and experiences favor the formation of this human type, which displays the same traits in various nations. A common way of being constitutes a potentially connective element, beyond nationalities. By winning over these elements to the European cause, we could constitute, with a “force at the ready,” the most active cadres of such an Order. If direct and integrating communications were established between these two groups (which is not as difficult as it may first appear), the foundation would be laid. For these men, the most important concerns should be the European idea in terms of values and of worldview, followed by the Order and then by the nation.
Naturally, the personality of an authentic leader at the center and head of the Order is of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, no such person exists today: it would be dangerous and rash to see him in any of the figures who are currently working here and there, albeit with the best of intentions, selflessly and bravely, to form European groups. One has to consider here that no one could have detected in advance the potential of any of the men who later became leaders of great movements. Nevertheless, it is easy to see the great advantages in the case where such a man, in whom authority and status now became manifest, had been there from the beginning.
We do not need to repeat what the basic requirement is for such a European action to mature and bear any results. One must first get rid of the political class, which holds the power in almost all European countries in this time of interregnum and European slavery. This would be immediately possible if a sufficient mass of today’s peoples could be reawakened from their stupefied and stultified condition that has been systematically created by the prevailing political-social ideas.
But the greatest difficulty for the true European idea is the deep crisis of the authority principle and the idea of the State. This will seem contradictory to many, because they believe the strengthening of that principle and that idea would bring in its wake a schismatic division and thus a rigid, anti-European pluralism. We have already shown why this is not at all the case, when we were speaking of the Männerbünde and indicating the higher level that characterizes the idea of a true State and its authority, in contrast to everything that is merely “folk” or “nation.” For the individual, true political loyalty includes, besides a certain heroic readiness, a certain degree of transcendence, hence something not merely nature-bound. There is no break, but rather continuity when one crosses from the national level to the supernational: the selfsame inner readiness will be required as in the times of Indo-European origins and of the best feudal regimes, in which it was also a matter of the voluntary union of free powers, proud to belong to a higher order of things that did not oppress but rather embraced them. The real obstacles are only fanatical nationalism and the collapse of society and community.
In summary, let it be said that breaking through into more thoughtful minds is the idea that in the current state of affairs, the uniting of Europe into a single bloc is the indispensable prerequisite for its continuation in a form other than an empty geographical concept on the same materialistic level as that of the powers that seek to control the world. For all the reasons already explained, we know that this crisis involves a dual inner problem, if under these circumstances one hopes to establish a firm foundation, a deeper sense, and an organic character for a possible united Europe. On the one hand, an initiative in the sense of a spiritual and psychic detoxification must be taken against what is commonly known as “modern culture.” On the other, there is the question of the kind of “metaphysics” that is capable, today, of supporting both a national and a supernational principle of true authority and legitimacy.
The dual problem can be translated into a dual imperative. It remains to be seen which and how many men, in spite of it all, still stand upright among so many ruins, in order that they may make this task their own.
Excerpted from: Evola, Julius. Men Among the Ruins: Postwar Reflections of a Radical Traditionalist (Rochester: Inner Traditions, 2002), pp. 275-286.
On the concept of empire, see also Alain de Benoist’s “The Idea of Empire.”