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The Metapolitics of Arktos – Morgan

The Metapolitics of Arktos

By John Morgan

 

The following is the text of a speech delivered by Arktos Editor-in-Chief John Morgan at Identitarian Ideas VII in Stockholm, Sweden on 7 November 2015.

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Thanks for having me back. It’s great to be back in Sweden. The fact that Sweden, a country which has come to be identified with the most extreme forms of liberalism, has managed to develop one of the most thriving nationalist movements in Western Europe is a fact that is inspirational to activists all over Europe and North America. So it’s an honor to be addressing some of those who made that happen here today.

I want to say a few words about the project that Daniel Friberg and I have dedicated most of our time, energy, and dedication towards over the past few years – specifically, what it is that we are trying to do with Arktos. As many of you are no doubt aware, Daniel Friberg and I, and also Mick Brooks who is here with us today, founded Arktos Media six years ago, at the end of 2009. Since then we’ve published over 100 unique titles in eight languages. For the first four years of our operations, we were based in India as a way of reducing our overhead costs, but since the beginning of 2014 we’ve been based in Budapest, Hungary in order to make it easier to connect with our core readership.

I imagine a question that exists in many people’s minds is, why are we doing all of this, and what are we trying to accomplish? This is something that really needs to be clarified, since many people have been more than happy to answer this, uninvited, on our behalf. To name but a few theories I’ve come across online, I’ve learned that Arktos is a Christian publishing company, a neo-pagan publishing company, a Eurasianist publishing company, an American conservative publishing company, a liberal publishing company, and a fascist publishing company. Likewise I’ve read that Arktos is “controlled” by American paleoconservatives like Paul Gottfried, by the Kremlin, by the CIA, by the Ukrainian nationalists, by the Indian government, by the international Zionist conspiracy, by Greg Johnson of Counter-Currents, and my personal favorite, by the Soviet KGB. It’s unfortunate that I need to do this, but for the purposes of clarity, I state for the record that none of these is in fact true.

While several of those ideas are obviously crazy, and some of them clearly designed as a pathetic attempt to try to discredit us, I think part of the confusion stems from the fact that Arktos is involved in so many different types of projects. Indeed, while we are often thought of as a political publishing house, only perhaps half of our books could be described as overtly political in nature, and we have always envisioned Arktos as being much more than merely a political venture. Many are works of pure philosophy or literature, or relate to various forms of traditional spirituality. In terms of political thought, we have published many works from the European “New Right” school, but we have also published works from both Christian and non-Christian perspectives (including works related to Hindu nationalism), by the identitarians, by Alexander Dugin of Russia’s Eurasia Movement, and by American and English conservatives.

The truth is that there is no single ideological, philosophical, religious, or any other system of belief that we are trying to propagate through Arktos. As I once expressed it, what Arktos is trying to do could perhaps be summarized as trying to find alternatives to modernity – which basically means alternatives to the current liberal order based on individualism and materialism and the dominance of the state over every aspect of the lives of its people, and which runs contrary to anything traditional or communitarian, that has spread everywhere across the world. This can take many forms. Some of our authors would like to see us return to the ways of life of some previous age. Some of them, such as Mr. Faye, advocate for nationalists embracing the most radical forms of new technology and radical social thought and producing a new synthesis with the traditional values that first made our civilization great that will represent something entirely new in Europe. Many of them fall somewhere in between.

Arktos’ idea is that we should take a broad approach to the desire to seek an alternative to liberalism. While we think that each and every one of our authors has something valuable to contribute to this quest, we do not seek to win converts to any particular cause or way of thinking, especially since it remains unclear at this stage as to which ideas will take root in order to bring about the revival of the West. Rather our books should be seen as points of inspiration to hopefully inspire a challenge to new ways of thinking, even if it may sometimes take the form of opposition in some regards, among our readers. Adopting a specific belief system would limit what we can do and also limit the number of people to whom we can appeal.

We do not even see ourselves as being exclusively a “Right-wing” publisher. Indeed, the dichotomy of Left and Right seems today as something outdated and meaningless, particularly as many mainstream Rightists today are essentially liberals and thus not on our side, and some Leftists share many of our concerns about the modern world and liberalism. I would suggest that the dichotomy of liberal and anti-liberal is a more useful classification today. This is something we embrace in Arktos. We seek to create an alternative to liberalism, but not necessarily a new ideology, and we are open to anyone who has something useful to contribute.

Of what importance is this intellectual work in a struggle which is primarily taking place in the real world, one may ask? I would answer that the political struggle is only the outward form of a battle that is really more cultural, and culture rests on what lies within the soul of each individual who participates in it. In order to build individuals willing to sacrifice the comforts of modern life for the sake of an ideal, a solid sense of identity and purpose must first be present. This is the essence of metapolitics: it is the attempt to redefine culture, or one might more accurately say in the case of nationalists and traditionalists an attempt to restore culture, by making a particular set of suppositions seem entirely natural to the people in a society. One can find out more about this in the books New Culture, New Right by Michael O’Meara andAgainst Democracy and Equality by Tomislav Sunic. This is what the Left has been doing so well over the past half century. In fact, the entire West today is in the grip of a radical political ideology which has set the average individual against the traditions of his forefathers, against the needs of his community, and even against the interests of himself and his people. It is quite amazing, in fact. Two centuries ago it would have seemed like something strange, if not insane. And yet by establishing control over the cultural institutions of our nations, the radical liberals have managed to convince the vast majority of people that the mode of life we are in today is something completely normal, and in fact superior to anything that came before it, when in fact we are in a time in which Western man is more alienated from his society and his fellow man than ever before.

Therefore, what we need to do is to imitate their example in our own way. This means waging war on the cultural as well as the political level. It may be difficult to discern on the surface how books of political philosophy, or on spirituality or literature, help in this endeavor. And yet I would argue that it is very difficult to motivate people simply using straightforward political arguments, and certainly not merely by criticizing society as it is (something the Right is all too good at). Something positive is needed as well. People need a vision of the future that can inspire them and give them something not only to fight for, but to give them motivation in their daily lives. I believe that books remain the best way of instilling this sort of vision in people. And given the enthusiastic response we’ve received from many of our readers over the years, I think this strategy is working.

As should be clear by now, there is no single label that one could apply to Arktos with any accuracy, given the vast range of ideas that we engage with. If I had to pick one, however, I would borrow the term “true Right,” which was first coined by the Italian traditionalist philosopher Julius Evola, who defined it as “those principles which were accepted and seen as normal by every well-born person everywhere in the world prior to 1789.” I can think of no better definition than that. It is obviously very different from the false Right that participates in the meaningless spectacle that passes for politics throughout much of the West today. Of course, one could point out that Arktos benefits from many of the features of the world of globalist liberalism: given the sort of technology that our operations rely on, such as the Internet and easy international travel, it would have been unimaginable even just 15 years ago. But I believe it is possible to use the tools of modernity against it, in an effort to reform it.

The other question that I frequently get is why Arktos is based in such exotic locales as India and Hungary. In the case of India, where we were based for the first five years of our corporate existence, the short answer is simply that we needed to be in a place where we could afford to operate with the meager funds we had at our disposal in our early days. Although at the same time it was good to be in a place where daily life is still for the most part an expression of the traditional spirit rather than a liberal one. But after doing this for a while, we began to grew tired of the many challenges that everyday life in India presents (imagine what it’s like to try to get somebody to come out and fix your Internet in a country where you don’t know the language and where cows and other livestock are wandering in the street outside your apartment), and we also had a growing desire to strengthen our connection to where most of our readers are.

Given the fact that our profits had been steadily increasing from the beginning, by 2014 we finally had enough funds to make this a reality. So, why Hungary, you may ask? Part of it is certainly the fact that it is possible to operate inexpensively there as well, and also simply because those of us on the Arktos staff have been charmed by the country’s beautiful aesthetics and culture, and its excellent cuisine, among other aspects. But we were also drawn to it due to the fact that Hungary has established itself as the greatest opponent to liberalism in the European Union today. Indeed, Hungary’s current Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, who has recently garnered a great deal of praise due to his handling of the migrant crisis, gave a speech last year in which he called for Hungary to become what he termed an ‘illiberal democracy’, citing China, Turkey, and Russia as examples. Indeed, we have made fruitful contacts with people in Orbán’s ruling Fidesz party; the more radical nationalist party, Jobbik; and even with the Magyar Munkáspárt, or Hungarian Workers’ Party, which is the Communist party. It is important to stress that the latter party, while Communist in name, could more accurately be described as a National Bolshevik party, meaning that it combines elements of nationalism with Communism; while it retains Communist economic ideas, it remains a staunch opponent of immigration and globalism. Such syntheses are not unusual in Hungarian politics; indeed, Marton Gyöngyösi, the International Secretary of Jobbik, said to me recently that many of the parties in Hungary today, and even in other countries, escape easy classification along the Right/Left spectrum, and similar to what I said earlier, he suggested that liberal and non-liberal is a more constructive way of understanding European politics today.

People associated with all of these parties have expressed enthusiasm for the work that Arktos is doing, and we in turn have been inspired by their commitment and originality in pursuit of a better Hungary. They are actually enacting the sort of metapolitics that Arktos is also working with in its own way, and with great success, as indicated by the fact that two-thirds of Hungary’s voters selected either Fidesz or Jobbik in the last election. Hungarian politicians are also frequently visionary in how they understand how Hungary’s struggle against liberalism must fit into the struggle of similar parties across the globe. To cite an example close to home, in 2013, while we were still in India, we facilitated a meeting between representatives from Jobbik and the BJP, the Hindu nationalist party which was swept to power on a tide of enthusiasm from voters the following year. And I think it is correct that if we are to defeat our liberal globalist enemy, we ourselves must adopt an alternative form of globalism, seeking alliances and common ground with individuals and groups who share our desires everywhere, even outside of Europe. While we stand for the traditions and interests of our own people, we must put aside our differences and open ourselves to those taking a similar approach from among other peoples. The narrow, ethnocentric viewpoint is a relic of the past. Only together, by working with nationalists and traditionalists everywhere, can we succeed. Toward this end, Arktos seeks to represent as many of these facets of the struggle as possible, which is one reason why we have published several books pertaining to the traditions of India, for example.

Some of you may wonder what our most popular titles are. Generally, our bestselling titles tend to be those by Guillaume Faye, whom you met here today; Alain de Benoist, the founder and leader of the French New Right movement, and the inventor of the concept of Right-wing metapolitics; Alexander Dugin, the Russian philosopher and geopolitician, and former advisor to Vladimir Putin; the Italian traditionalist philosopher Julius Evola, who sought to re-establish the mindset and wisdom of the ancient world amidst the ruins of the modern world; Markus Willinger, the Austrian identitarian author; Brian Patrick, a professor at the University of Toledo who specializes in the science of propaganda and the American gun rights movement; and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who is India’s most popular yoga guru today. Recent titles that have done well also include Dominique Venner’s The Shock of History. Venner was a renowned historian and veteran paratrooper of the Algerian War and the OAS who infamously committed suicide in Notre Dame Cathedral in May 2013 as a protest against mass immigration and the increasing liberalization of France, and he actually wrote The Shock of History specifically for Arktos as a means of introducing his worldview to the audience outside of France, so we were quite honored to be the ones to present that in English. And I would be amiss if I didn’t mention The Real Right Returns by my friend and colleague Daniel Friberg, which became an instant bestseller; in fact it sold more copies in the first three days of this month than any other book of our has sold in any three-day period to date. And soon we will be publishing a Swedish translation of How to be a Conservative by the English author Roger Scruton, who is the most important philosopher of conservatism today. (I understand that the Chairman of the Sweden Democrats is a fan of Scruton.)

What I think Arktos’ success indicates is that we are presenting a message that resonates with people. People in Europe and America are getting tired of the same old slogans presented by liberals that go against what everyone sees with their own eyes. They haven’t been able to come up with anything new since the 1960s; they just keep harping on the same old tired clichés that are falling into ruin around them. The attempt of liberals to convert the world into a gigantic shopping mall where everyone is the same is ending in failure. Intellectual and cultural vigor is passing, if it hasn’t already passed, to the Right. We can see this in the rising popularity and electoral success of Rightist parties across Europe. This is a trend we can ride. The future belongs to us. In Arktos and Motpol, and similar organizations, we are forging a new vision for the West. Many difficult challenges yet lie ahead of us, but we shouldn’t despair; rather, we should welcome the fact that we are presented with an opportunity for adventure. Please join us as we forge a new world.

 

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Morgan, John. “The Metapolitics of Arktos.” Speech delivered at the “Identitarian Ideas VII” Conference, held in Stockholm, Sweden, 7 November 2015. Text of transcript retrieved from <https://www.righton.net/2015/11/22/the-metapolitics-of-arktos/ >.

 

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Interview with John Morgan – Leonard

A Blaze through the Gloom; an Interview with Arktos Media’s John Morgan by Nathan Leonard

 

Introductory Note: One of the byproducts of living in this highly technological age is that we are so constantly flooded with information from such a variety of media around us that we often become confused. Although our ability to communicate ideas has developed a phenomenal reach, when we stop to examine much of the information that takes up our time, we find that it is composed of fleeting ideas which are designed for short-term consumption of passing fads in which we get caught up for a short time and then remember later with nostalgia and a dash of ironic disdain. Much of what is promoted to us is a commercial transaction in some form or another. This is why it doesn’t last. Yet, part of our identity becomes intrinsically tangled in every shallow trend that sweeps us away.

John Morgan is Editor-in-Chief of Arktos Media, which publishes books that ask deeper questions about our identity and that challenge us to think differently about our role in history. Arktos has utilized innovations of globalism to provide information much different than what usually bombards us on a daily basis; ideas that cannot be blown away by winds of change for they are established in the very nature of life itself. We were fortunate to conduct the following interview with Mr. Morgan by way of email correspondence. – Nathan Leonard (from Heathen Harvest), 7 July 2014.

***

Heathen Harvest: Thank you for accepting this interview, John. To start, what does the name “Arktos” mean, and how does it relate to the types of books Arktos publishes?

John Morgan: Arktos is a centaur in Greek mythology. It is also the Greek word for bear, and was additionally the Greek name for the constellation of Ursa Major (Ursa is Latin for bear), which contains the Big Dipper, and which can guide one toward the North Star. Arktos was also the root of the word “arctic”. We wanted a name that was evocative of the ancient European tradition and also of “northernness”, to borrow a term coined by C. S. Lewis to describe Wagnerian art. While in Arktos we are interested in all traditional cultures, we do see ourselves as being primarily rooted in our own European heritage, and we could think of nothing more poetic than Arktos to convey that. Also, it is much less of a mouthful than Integral Tradition Publishing, which was the name of the company some of my colleagues and I had previously! As one can see from perusing the sorts of books we have published to date, many of them deal with aspects of myth and tradition, both European and otherwise.

HH: Arktos will be co-sponsoring the 2014 Identitarian Congress in Budapest this October. What is this event going to be about?

JM: We’re still working on the overall theme, as we haven’t confirmed all the speakers and participants yet. Essentially, we want to discuss the issues that unite all traditionalists, nationalists and identitarians across North America and Europe. There are so many groups, movements and thinkers across the world that are pursuing similar goals, but they rarely have the opportunity to gather in one place to compare notes and ideas, and simply to network. So, our event will be an attempt to fill that need. We also want to explore the idea of Europe as something beyond the petty nationalisms of the past, which led to the tragedy of 1914 (among others), the consequences of which are still being seen today, and also beyond the type of liberalism that has been imported here from the United States. All of our speakers will be addressing these issues, albeit in very different and unique ways.

HH: Why is Budapest the location for the conference? Is it related to your living there? Is there a movement toward traditional thinking there?

JM: The fact that Arktos is now based here was certainly a factor, yes, since it means that my colleagues and I can take care of some of the advance logistical work involved. However, on a broader level, Budapest, and Hungary more generally, is an ideal location for a gathering of traditionalists and nationalists, since Hungary is probably the country with the most vitality in relation to those fields at the present time, and certainly in Europe. Ideas that are often dismissed out of turn in other Western countries are still being openly discussed and taken seriously here. Not to mention the fact that Budapest is one of the most beautiful capital cities in Europe. So, in every way, this was really the ideal location for an event of this nature.

HH: How did you first get into publishing?

JM: For a long time, I had realized that there was a great need for someone to provide an outlet for ideas such as those of the European New Right, the Conservative Revolution, and traditionalism, among others, in English. Prior to Arktos, such resources were few and far between, and often hard to find. In 2006, some friends who felt the same need managed to raise some capital, which allowed us to start our first venture, the aforementioned Integral Tradition Publishing, at the end of that year. We merged Integral Tradition Publishing into Arktos at the end of 2009, as part of a continuation of our goals. It wasn’t really something I had imagined happening, much less being a part of, prior to that time, so the fact that we were able to get this project off the ground and make it work, and that I’ve been able to dedicate most of my time to it over the past five years, is something I’m quite proud of.

HH: Are there any specific writers that inspired you in the establishment of Integral Tradition Publishing or Arktos, perhaps because you wanted them to have a wider exposure or to be introduced to English language audiences?

JM: Certainly. Going into it, we very much wanted to see more of Julius Evola’s works in English, as well as books by Alain de Benoist (only one of his books had been translated prior to Arktos), Guillaume Faye, and Alexander Dugin (the latter two of which were completely untranslated before we started). All of those authors are now in our catalog. There was already quite a bit of Evola in English before Arktos, but there was still a great deal of material left to do, particularly his political writings, which were largely unavailable before we went to work. As for Benoist, Faye and the other thinkers of the European New Right, I find it unbelievable that no one had attempted to translate them before. Benoist in particular – he’s been writing for half a century, and it’s amazing that no one got to him before us. I strongly suspect it’s due to him being called a “Rightist” (a label he rejects). If he had been a French Marxist, I’m sure everything down to his grocery lists would have been translated long ago.

HH: Are you personally a writer? If so, do you plan to publish any books in the future?

JM: I sometimes enjoy writing, although I haven’t published much apart from a short story that I wrote many years ago. I’ve occasionally written essays for Counter-Currents and a few other websites. I would like to write something more substantial in the future, yes, although my Arktos work takes up a lot of my time and energy as it is. But one of these days, yes, I would like to do something of my own.

HH: The recent election results of Members of European Parliament were described as “a political earthquake” because some members of nationalist or “Euroskeptic” parties gained seats. Do you think this represents a major shift in European thinking? What will the impact of the elections be?

JM: It’s a positive sign, to be sure, but no, I don’t think this indicates a “major shift”. If you look at most of the parties that did well – the National Front in France, Wilder’s Freedom Party, UKIP – these are liberal parties that merely have a degree of “acceptable” nationalism and anti-immigrationism as part of their platform. They don’t represent the values of the “true Right”, as Evola phrased it. Plus, as others have observed, Euroskeptic parties have a tendency to do better in the European elections than they do in the national ones, since everyone knows that the European Parliament has little in the way of real power, so they feel more comfortable doing “protest voting” in it. It’s doubtful you will see these parties do as well in their respective national elections. A French friend of mine told me that he is sure that most of the people who voted for the National Front did so as a protest vote rather than out of a real passion for their platform. So, yes, it’s good that Europeans decided to send a message of discontent to Brussels, but I’m wary of getting too excited about this just yet.

The party I find the most relatable to my own perspective in Europe today is Jobbik. They did manage to get 15% of the vote here in Hungary, but that’s actually down from the 20% they got in the national elections just last month, no doubt because part of their platform is to get Hungary out of the EU and thus many of their supporters don’t bother voting. But still, they will be sending three MEPs to parliament again, which is good.

HH: Along these same lines, are you aware of any emerging artistic movements in Europe (literary, musical, visual, or otherwise) characterized by traditionalist, nationalist, or identitarian sentiments?

JM: Unfortunately, no, not many, although that doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t any, but just that I don’t know of any. If there’s something in a language other than English, I may just not know about it. There certainly isn’t much in English, as I’ve looked. The Mjolnir magazine from the UK, which just released its inaugural issue, which contains fiction, poetry and art consistent with our principles, is a step in that direction. Apart from that, no, I can’t think of anything. There are some individual artists and bands working here and there, of course, like Michael Moynihan and Annabel Lee in the U.S., but I wouldn’t call that a movement, and I think that’s a problem. People on the Right are very good at complaining, and of coming up with brilliant critiques of the world as it is, but they aren’t very good at proposing alternatives or of describing exactly what it is they want. A thriving alternative culture could provide that. I always find it discomforting when I go to a Rightist Website and find photos of the “great White men” of the past, which usually includes people such as Goethe and Beethoven, but it always consists entirely of people who are dead. Where are the great artists of our movement today? They are few and far between, and those that there are are shrouded in obscurity. (The American novelist Tito Perdue, who has been published by Arktos, is one of them, in my opinion.) We shouldn’t seek to turn our culture into a museum piece, where we just talk about how great our forefathers were. We need to get creative and produce new and original visions, and that’s something I hope to continue to provide an outlet for through Arktos.

HH: Liberalism controls the arts. I have met some artists who downplay their non-liberal political or philosophical leanings for fear of potential negative consequences. To what extent do you think a traditionalist art movement is stifled by the dominant ideologies of today? Do you think there are historical examples comparable to the present situation that may be instructive in undermining these systems of control?

JM: It depends on what you mean by “traditionalist”. If you’re using it in the sense of the school of Guénon and Evola, then no, I see nothing obstructing artists from utilizing those forms, ideas and symbols. The recently-deceased Sir John Tavener, who produced several works of music openly based on the writings of Frithjof Schuon and René Guénon, as well as works derived from the Orthodox Christian tradition, and who is one of the most highly regarded modern composers in the world, indicates that there is no inherent bias in the “establishment” against that sort of traditionalism. However, if you’re using the word “traditionalist” in the broader sense which also includes things related to conservatism (in the best sense of that term) and the political Right, then yes, I don’t think it’s news to anyone that there is a strong bias against them in the mainstream artistic establishment.

The recent debacle involving the artist Charles Krafft is a reminder of that, as if we needed one. But my response to that is, so what? We’re living in an age in which putting up a website or self-publishing a book are only a few mouse-clicks away. It’s obvious that, because of innovations in technology, everything is becoming much more decentralized and that the “authorities” in the various fields have become much less important in deciding what gets disseminated or what becomes popular. There’s no reason why anyone who has a particular idea or vision can’t get it out there somehow. That’s one of the few advantages, for people of our mentality, in living in a time like this. You can put just about anything out there and find an audience. Even the aforementioned Charles Krafft has said that his business has actually gone up since the “scandal” erupted, since his new-found notoriety has gotten him a customer base he never would have had otherwise. So, no, you may not see million-dollar grants from foundations going to artists who embrace unpopular forms and ideas anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t many, many other avenues and opportunities for expression open to people, if they only want to make use of them. I think the only problem is a lack of creative people in “the movement”, such as it is, or at least of creative people willing to engage with it in a substantive manner. There are some exceptions, of course. If you want to “undermine the systems of control”, there’s nothing stopping you. Technology has already given us that ability.

HH: Can you explain more fully the distinction between traditionalism as a school of Guénon and Evola versus traditionalism in the broader sense of conservatism and the political Right? For instance, you mentioned earlier that Alain de Benoist rejects his characterization as a Rightest, so how is he to be classified? On the other hand, in what sense should we understand Evola’s “Fascism Viewed from the Right”?

JM: This is something that should be readily apparent to anyone who has read either Guénon or Evola, but I’ll attempt to summarize. There can be no connection between modern-day party politics and Tradition in the sense in which Guénon and Evola understood it. For a traditionalist, only one form of government can be traditional: a monarchy in tandem with a traditional priesthood (traditional meaning from a legitimately revealed source). This, of course, was how all civilizations everywhere in the world were governed prior to 1789, but there can be nothing traditional about any other form of politics, even if elements of it can be utilized. So, conservatism, as it’s understood in the United States today, has no connection to traditionalism, even if here and there we might find some overlap, such as in a concern over certain values. As for the Right, it depends on which Right we’re talking about. When it comes to the “Right” of Republicans and libertarians, of course not, since they are the opposite of everything traditional. Even the European New Right is in no way a “traditionalist” movement, even though its thinkers have derived some inspiration from the traditionalists.

Evola himself sometimes used the term “true Right” to describe his own views, which he once defined as being those principles which were considered correct and normal everywhere in the world before 1789. Guénon, for his part, was completely uninterested in the politics of his day, and there’s no indication that he ever engaged with politics in any way, since he regarded everything of modern extraction to be unworthy of anything apart from rejection to the furthest extent possible. Evola, as is well-known, was a critic of Italian Fascism during its reign, although he himself was never a Fascist, and both during and after the Fascist period he always said that he had only ever supported Fascism insofar as it represented traditional principles – which he felt it largely failed to do. In Evola’s later life, of course, he held that apoliteia was the only sensible course – complete disengagement from the political world, except insofar as how it might be beneficial to an individual’s self-development, by engaging in a manner that was disinterested in any result that might follow from such activity. So, in Evola titling his book Fascism Viewed from the Right, he was making it clear that he was analyzing Fascism from the perspective of the “true Right”, not from that of the Right of our time – a point he makes quite clear in the book itself.

I myself am not advocating this position, as I don’t consider myself to be a traditionalist in the same sense as I described above. However, I always make this distinction because I think there is a lot of confusion about the term, and people often use it in a muddled or confused way these days. There are other perfectly valid uses of the word “traditionalism”, of course, but if one is attempting to use it in the sense that Guénon or Evola did, one must keep what I have just reiterated in mind in doing so.

As for Benoist rejecting the Rightist label, it is factual that the name “New Right” has never been applied by Benoist’s Groupement de Recherche et d’Études pour la Civilisation Européenne to itself, but was foisted upon them by hostile French journalists during the 1970s. Benoist himself has written that he regards himself as being, not neither Left nor Right, but rather both Left and Right. Which makes sense, because he has derived a great deal of inspiration from Marxist and other Leftist intellectuals, as well as from the Rightist tradition. I think it’s important for those who oppose civilization as it is currently constituted to bear in mind that there is just as much opposition to liberalism on the radical Left – among some Marxists, anarchists, ecologists, and postmodernists – as on the radical Right. One shouldn’t limit oneself by imposing artificial barriers to thought and ideas based solely on labels.

HH: Earlier you mentioned Charles Krafft as an artist affiliated with the Right, yet Krafft’s style could be called Pop Art or Post-modern, which seems contradictory to the ideals of traditionalism. Another example might be the paintings of the late Jonathan Bowden. Similarly, I’ve thought it paradoxical that industrial music and noise seem to open a door to martial imagery and “old” values like courage and honor. Do you have an opinion about how this almost hypermodern art relates to the “New Right” and anti-modernism? How would you define great art?

JM: I would agree about Charlie’s style, although to my knowledge he’s never called himself a traditionalist. I don’t even know if he would call himself a “Rightist”, for that matter. I cited him as an example since what happened to him shows what can happen if you use themes or motifs in your art that are not officially sanctioned by the establishment’s critics (unless “ironically”, of course), and most especially if you have disapproved friends or affiliations, as Charlie does. But no, it would be ridiculous to call Charlie’s art “traditionalist”, although he does sometimes incorporate traditional elements into his work, from Buddhism and Hinduism in particular. The same goes for Bowden’s art (and I like some of it). At the same time, personally I am not someone who thinks that we have to see Tradition as a static thing that has to be constantly reiterated in the same way and in the same style as it has before. Artistic forms, like reality itself, are constantly evolving and changing, and we shouldn’t always fear the new (although neither should we accept it unreservedly). For example, two of the greatest traditionalist (in a non-doctrinal sense) artists of recent decades for me would be the filmmakers Andrei Tarkovsky and Hans-Jürgen Syberberg. They were operating in a medium which is entirely a product of modernity in every way, and which, let’s face it, 99% of the time is used for degenerative purposes. And both of them, Syberberg in particular, are not only filmmakers, but avant-garde filmmakers who used highly unorthodox methods of a style that were often similar to that of the heights of “liberal” cinema (Surrealism, the French New Wave, and so forth). And yet for me, Tarkovsky’s Stalker, Nostalgia, and The Sacrifice, as well as Syberberg’s Parsifal, rank as some of the most spiritual works of art I have ever experienced. I think they communicate the essence of what Tradition is, even though they are entirely modern in conception and assume a form that is non-traditional. If something can convey such an experience of meaning, or open up new vistas of meaning and new ways of viewing reality, then it’s good in my judgment, even if it may be unorthodox. The modern itself can be used to undo, or perhaps alter is more accurate, itself.

HH: What types of books has Arktos been publishing recently? Are there any that you believe to be particularly noteworthy?

JM: Arktos has been a bit slow the past few months, although that’s about to pick up dramatically. Of recent titles, The Dharma Manifesto is quite interesting. This is an attempt to apply Vedic principles to the political situation in America today by a noted Hindu teacher, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya, and is unique of its kind. We also reprinted the complete run of H. P. Lovecraft’s The Conservative, a political and cultural journal he edited and contributed to that’s not very well-known and has been unavailable for a long time. We’ve been issuing editions of Markus Willinger’s Generation Identity in other languages, as that was one of our most popular books in English and German last year. We also have published a number of books by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar through an agreement with his Art of Living Foundation. Sri Sri is one of the most popular gurus in India at present, and we are pleased to be able to make his books more accessible in the West. Also, my friend Brian’s book Zombology: Zombies and the Decline of the West (and Guns) will be out soon. That’s a study of the sociopolitical implications of the zombie phenomenon, what it says about our contemporary culture and how it has manifested, particularly in relation to American gun culture. We also have new books by Alexander Dugin (Putin vs. Putin, his critique of Putin as a leader), Alain de Benoist (On the Brink of the Abyss, his book on the 2008 financial crisis), Guillaume Faye (Sex and Perversion, his study of modern sexuality), and some titles by the well-known writer on Paganism, Richard Rudgley, among many others, coming out soon.

HH: We look forward to reading some of those. Thank you for the interview.

JM: Thanks for having me. We’re doing this work for people like you!

 

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Morgan, John B. “A Blaze through the Gloom; an Interview with Arktos Media’s John Morgan.” Interview by Nathan Leonard. Heathen Harvest Periodical, 7 July 2014. <http://heathenharvest.org/2014/07/07/a-blaze-through-the-gloom-an-interview-with-arktos-medias-john-morgan/ >.

 

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