Tag Archives: Carl Schmitt

From the German Conservative Revolution to the New Right – Tudor

“From the German Conservative Revolution to the New Right” by Lucian Tudor (PDF – 261 KB):

From the German Conservative Revolution to the New Right – Tudor

—————–

Tudor, Lucian. “From the German Conservative Revolution to the New Right.” In: Lucian Tudor, From the German Conservative Revolution to the New Right: A Collection of Essays on Identitarian Philosophy, pp. 136-165. Santiago, Chile: Círculo de Investigaciones PanCriollistas, 2015.

Note: This essay has the same title as the book in which it was published and should not be confused with the book itself. It is, however, the most defining and comprehensive essay in Tudor’s book.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under New European Conservative

Geopolitics of Leviathan – Rix

Geopolitics of Leviathan

By Edouard Rix

Translated by Greg Johnson

 

“Nur Meer und Erde haben hier Gewicht.”
(Only sea and land matter here.)
—Goethe

This article is less concerned with geopolitics than with thalassopolitics, a neologism coined by professor Julien Freund “to call into question certain conceptions of geopolitics that privilege telluric phenomena over maritime phenomena.”

“World history is the history of the fight of maritime powers against continental powers and of continental powers against maritime powers” writes Carl Schmitt in Land and Sea. [1]

In the Middle Ages, the cabbalists interpreted the history of the world as a combat between the powerful whale, Leviathan, and the no less powerful Behemoth, a land animal imagined as looking like an elephant or a bull. [2] Behemoth tries to tear Leviathan with its defenses, its horns or its teeth, while Leviathan, for its part, tries to stop with its fins the mouth and the nose of the land animal to starve or suffocate it. A mythological allegory not unrelated to the blockade of a terrestrial power by a maritime power.

The “Sea Power” of Admiral Mahan

Around the turn of the 20th century, the American Alfred T. Mahan in The Influence of Sea Power upon History (1890), the German Friedrich Ratzel in Das Meer als quelle der Volkergrösse [The Sea as Source of National Greatness] (1900), and the British Halford John Mackinder in Britain and the British Seas (1902), attach a paramount importance to the sea as source of power of the nations.

Admiral, historian, and professor at the US Naval Academy, Alfred T. Mahan (1840–1914) is the most famous geopolitician of the sea, his work comprising twenty books and 137 articles. On the basis of the study of European History of the 17th and 18th centuries, he sought to show how maritime power (Sea Power) appeared determinative of the growth and prosperity of nations.

For him, the sea can act against the land, whereas the reverse is not true and, in the long run, the sea always ends up winning any fight against the land. Mahan is deeply persuaded that the control of the seas ensures the domination of the land, which he summarizes with the formula “the Empire of the sea is without any doubt the Empire of the world.” [3] By thus affirming the intrinsic superiority of the maritime empires, he offers a theoretical justification to imperialism, the great expansionist movement of the years 1880–1914.

In The Problem of Asia, published in 1900, Mahan applies his geopolitical paradigm to Asia, insisting on the need for a coalition of maritime powers to contain the progression towards the open sea of the great terrestrial power of the time, Russia. Indeed, he stresses that its central position confers a great strategic advantage on the Russian Empire, because it can extend in all directions, and its internal lines cannot be crossed.

On the other hand—and here lies its principal weakness—its access to the sea is limited, Mahan seeing only three possible axes of expansion: toward Europe, to circumvent the Turkish blockade of the straits, toward the Persian Gulf, and toward the China Sea. This is why the admiral recommends damming up the Russian tellurocracy through the creation of a vast alliance of the maritime powers, thalassocracies, which would include the United States, Great Britain, Germany, and Japan, the Americans asserting themselves as the leaders of this new Holy Alliance.

Halford John Mackinder

Inspired by Admiral Mahan, the British academic Halford John Mackinder (1861–1947) also believed that the fundamental geopolitical reality is the opposition between continental powers and maritime powers. A fundamental idea run throughout his work: the permanent confrontation between the Heartland, i.e. the central-Asian steppe, and the World Island, the continental mass Asia-Africa-Europe.

In 1887, Mackinder delivered a short public speech to the Royal Geographical Society that marked his resounding debut on the geopolitical stage, declaring in particular “there are two types of conquerors today: land wolves and sea wolves.” Behind this allegorical and somewhat enigmatic utterance is the concrete reality of Anglo-Russian competition in Central Asia. In fact, Mackinder was obsessed by the safety of the British Empire vis-à-vis the rise of Germany and Russia. In 1902, in Britain and the British Seas, he noted the decline of Great Britain and concluded from it that she must “divide the burden” with the United States, which would take over sooner or later.

In his famous essay of 1904, “The Geographical Pivot of History,” he formulates his geopolitical theory. One can summarize it in two principal points: (1) Russia occupies the pivotal zone inaccessible to maritime power, from which it can undertake to conquer and control the Eurasian continental mass, (2) against Russia, maritime power, starting from its bastions (Great Britain, the United States, South Africa, Australia, and Japan) that are inaccessible to terrestrial power, encircles the latter and prohibits her from freely reaching the open sea.

Studying the “pre-Colombian” epoch, Mackinder contrasted the Slavs, who inhabited the forests, with the nomadic riders of the steppes. This semi-desert Asian steppe is the Heartland, surrounded by two densely populated crescents: the inner crescent, encompassing India, China, Japan, and Europe, which are territorially adjacent to the Heartland, and the outer crescent, made up of various islands. The inner crescent is regularly subject to the pressures of nomadic horsemen from the steppes of the Heartland.

Everything changed in the “Colombian” age, which saw the confrontation of two mobilities, that of England which began the conquest of the seas, and that of Russia which advanced gradually in Siberia. For the academic Mackinder, this double European expansion, maritime and continental, found its explanation in the opposition between Rome and Greece. Indeed, he affirms that the Germans were civilized and Christianized by the Roman, the Slavs by the Greeks, and that whereas the Romano-Germans conquered the oceans, the Slavs seized the steppes on horseback.

Mackinder made the separation between Byzantine and Western Empires in 395, exacerbated by the Great Schism between Byzantium and Rome in 1054, the nodal point of this opposition. He emphasized that after the fall of Constantinople to the Turks, Moscow proclaimed itself the new center of Orthodoxy (the Third Rome). According to him, in the 20th century, this religious antagonism will lead to an ideological antagonism, between Communism and capitalism: Russia, heiress of the Slavic country village community, the Mir, will choose Communism, the West, whose religious practice privileges individual salvation, for capitalism . . .

For Mackinder, the opposition Land/Sea is likely to lean in favor of the land and Russia. Mackinder noted that if the United Kingdom could send an army of 500,000 to South Africa at the time of the Boer Wars, a performance saluted by all the partisans of the maritime power, Russia at the same time had succeeded in an even more exceptional exploit by maintaining an equivalent number of soldiers in the Far East, thousands of kilometers of Moscow, thanks to the Trans-Siberian Railroad. With the railroad, the terrestrial power was henceforth able to deploy its forces as quickly as the oceanic power.

Enthralled by this revolution in land transportation, which would make it possible for Russia to develop an industrialized space that is autonomous from and closed to trade with the thalassocracies, Mackinder predicted the end of the “Colombian” age and concluded that the telluric power is superior, summarizing his thought in a striking aphorism: “Whoever holds continental Europe controls the Heartland. Whoever holds the Heartland controls the World Island.”

Indeed, any economic autonomy in central-Asian space leads automatically to a reorganization of the flow of trade, the inner crescent thus having an interest in developing its commercial relations with the center, the Heartland, to the detriment of the Anglo-Saxon thalassocracies. A few years later, in 1928, Stalin’s announcement of the implementation of the first Five Year Plan would reinforce the British thinker, who did not fail to stress that since the October Revolution, the Soviets built more than 70,000 kilometers of railways.

Shortly after the First World War, Mackinder published Democratic Ideals and Reality, a concise and dense work in which he recalls the importance of the Russian continental mass, that the thalassocracies can neither control from the seas nor invade completely. Thus, concretely, it is imperative to separate Germany from Russia by a “cordon sanitaire,” in order to prevent the union of the Eurasiatic continent. This prophylactic policy was pursued by Lord Curzon, who named Mackinder High Commissioner in “South Russia,” where a military mission assisted the White partisans of Anton Denikin and obtained from them the de facto recognition of the new Republic of Ukraine . . .

To make impossible the unification of Eurasia, Mackinder never ceased recommending the balkanization of Eastern Europe, the amputation from Russia of its Baltic and Ukrainian glacis, the “containment” of Russian forces in Asia so that they could not threaten Persia or India.

Karl Haushofer’s Kontinentalblock

It was in Germany, under the decisive influence of Karl Haushofer (1869–1946), that geopoliticians, diplomats, and National Revolutionary and National Bolshevik theorists (the Jünger brothers, Ernst Niekisch, Karl-Otto Paetel) would oppose thalassocratic pretentions with greatest force.

A Bavarian artillery officer and professor at the War Academy, Karl Haushofer was sent to Japan in 1906 to reorganize the Imperial Army. During his return to Germany on the Trans-Siberian railroad, he became vividly aware of the continental vastness of Russian Eurasia. After the First World War, he earned a doctorate and became professor of geography in Munich, where connected with Rudolf Hess. In 1924, Haushofer founded the famous Zeitschrift für Geopolitik (Journal of Geopolitics). He was the direct intellectual heir to his compatriot Friedrich Ratzel and the Swede Rudolf Kjellén.

To begin, let us set aside the black legend of Haushofer as fanatical Hitlerist who used geopolitics to justify the territorial conquests of the Third Reich, a legend based in “American propaganda efforts,” according to Professor Jean Klein.[4] This diabolization will astonish only those who are ignorant of the anti-thalassocratic orientation of Haushofer’s geopolitics . . .

Haushofer wished to rise above petty nationalisms. Thus, beginning in 1931, in Geopolitik der Pan-Ideen (Geopolitics of Continental Ideas), he advocated the constitution of vast continental spaces as the only means to go beyond the territorial and economic weakness of traditional States. The first stage could be the sub-continental gatherings theorized in 1912 by the geographer E. Banse, who recommended 12 large civilizational regions: Europe, Greater Siberia (Russia included), Australia, the East Indies, Eastern Asia, the “Nigritie” (the “black lands,” i.e., Africa), Mongolia (with China, Indochina, and Indonesia), Greater California, the Andes, America (Atlantic North America), and Amazonia.

Haushofer’s radically continentalist and anti-thalassocratic thought came into focus in 1941, when he published Der Kontinentalblock-Mitteleuropa-Eurasien-Japan (The Continental Bloc Central Europe-Eurasia-Japan). Written after the Germano-Soviet pact, this work argued for a Germano-Italo-Soviet-Japanese alliance that would radically reorganize the Eurasian continental mass. He stressed that the permanent fear of the Anglo-Saxons is the emergence of a Berlin-Moscow-Tokyo axis, which would completely escape the influence of the commercial thalassocracies, which, he writes, practice the policy of the anaconda, which consists in gradually encircling and slowly suffocating its prey. But a unified Eurasia would be too large for the Anglo-American anaconda. Thanks to its gigantic mass, it could resist any blockade.

The idea of a tripartite alliance first occurred to the Japanese and Russians. At the time of the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, when the British and Japanese united against the Russians, some of the Japanese leadership—including Hayashi, their ambassador in London, Count Gato, Prince Ito, and Prime Minister Katsura—desired a Germano-Russo-Japanese pact against the English seizure of global sea traffic. The visionary Count Gato recommended a troika in which the central horse, the strongest one, flanked by two lighter and more nervous horses, Germany and Japan. In Russia, the Eurasian idea would be incarnated a few years later by the minister Sergei Witte, the creative genius of the Trans-Siberian Railroad who in 1915 advocated a separate peace with the Kaiser.

Needless to say, Haushofer disapproved of Hitler’s wars of conquest in the East, which went against his historical project of creating a Eurasian continental bloc.

The Anaconda Strategy of Spykman and Brzezinski

The fundamental idea, posed by Mahan and Mackinder, to prohibit Russia’s access to the open sea, would be reformulated by Nicholas John Spykman (1893–1943), who insisted on the pressing need for controlling the maritime ring or Rimland, the littoral zone bordering the Heartland and which runs from Norway to Korea: “Whoever controls the maritime ring holds Eurasia; whoever holds Eurasia controls the destiny of the world.”[5]

Interpreting this maxim at that onset of the Cold War, the United States tried by a policy of “containment” of the USSR, to control the Rimland by means of a network of regional pacts: NATO in Europe, the Baghdad Pact then the Organization of the central treaty of the Middle East, SEATO and ANZUS in the Far East.

With the collapse of the Soviet bloc, one might have expected a strategic redeployment of the USA and a break with Mackinderite orthodoxy. But that was not to be. So much so that still today, the (semi-official) foreign policy adviser most heeded by President Obama proves to be a dedicated disciple of Mackinder: none other than Zbigniew Brzezinski, a friend of David Rockefeller, with whom he co-founded the Trilateral Commission in 1973, and Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor from 1977 to 1980. His major theoretical work, The Grand Chessboard, appeared in 1997, at the time of the wars in Yugoslavia undertaken mainly under his initiative, under the aegis of the Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Brzezinski’s strategic analysis cynically reprises Anglo-Saxon geopolitical doxa: Eurasia, which comprises half the planet’s population, constitutes the spatial center of world power. The key to control Eurasia is Central Asia. The key to control Central Asia is Uzbekistan. For this Russophobe of Polish origin, the objective of the American Grand Strategy must be to fight against a China-Russia alliance. Considering that the principal threat comes from Russia, he recommends its encirclement (the anaconda, always the anaconda) by the establishment of military bases, or, in the absence of friendly regimes in the former Soviet republics (Ukraine included), insisting in particular on the necessary utilization of Islamists. Paradoxically, it is in the name of the fight against these same Islamists that American forces were deployed Uzbekistan after September 11th, 2001 . . . Machiavelli is not dead!

Notes

1. C. Schmitt, Terre et Mer (Paris: Le Labyrinthe, 1985), p. 23. [See the English translation available on this website here. — Trans.]

2. The names of Leviathan and Behemoth are borrowed from the Book of Job (chapters 40 and 41).

3. A. T. Mahan, The Problem of Asia and its Effect upon International Policies (London: Sampson Low-Marston, 1900), p. 63.

4. Jean Klein, Karl Haushofer, De la géopolitique (Paris: Fayard, 1986).

5. N. Spykman, The Geography of the Peace (New York: Harcourt-Brace, 1944), p. 43.

 

Source: Edouard Rix, Terre & Peuple, No. 46 (Winter Solstice 2010), pp. 39–41. Online: http://tpprovence.wordpress.com/2011/07/07/geopolitique-du-leviathan/

—————

Rix, Edouard. “Geopolitics of Leviathan [Parts 1 & 2].” Counter-Currents Publishing, 10 & 11 August 2011. <http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/08/geopolitics-of-leviathan-part-1/ > ; <http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/08/geopolitics-of-leviathan-part-2/ >.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under New European Conservative

Schmitt’s Theory of the Partisan – Johnson

The Political Soldier: Carl Schmitt’s Theory of the Partisan

By Greg Johnson

So powerful is the civilizing genius of European man that, for a brief time, we even managed to tame war itself. But not all wars could be civilized, only those between civilized European states. The rules of war did not apply to wars against non-state actors, such as colonial wars against savages, civil wars and revolutions in which the state is up for grabs, and irregular warfare against partisans or guerrillas, which is the subject of Carl Schmitt’s Theory of the Partisan (1962).[1]

Theory of the Partisan & The Concept of the Political

Schmitt subtitles Theory of the Partisan, an “Intermediate Commentary on the Concept of the Political,” thus linking it to his classic treatise The Concept of the Political (1932), in which Schmitt both defines the political and defends it from forms of anti-political utopianism.

For Schmitt, the political arises from the fact of human diversity: there are many different peoples and subgroups with distinct identities and ways of life that can, in principle, conflict with one another. These differences give rise to enmity, which is a serious matter because it can lead to war. Politics arises out of enmity, and one of the chief aims of politics is to manage enmity. For Schmitt, therefore, the political does not refer to routine “domestic” politics but rather to grander, potentially bloody affairs: foreign policy, warfare, civil war, and revolution. Domestic relations can become political in Schmitt’s sense if they become sufficiently polarized, but they cease being domestic if they give rise to civil war or revolution.

Schmitt defends the political against anti-political forms of utopianism, including liberalism, anarchism, pacifism, and global capitalism. Of course in ordinary parlance, these are “political” ideologies, but in Schmitt’s sense of the political they are anti-political because they aim at the elimination of enmity, the underlying condition of which is diversity. Such utopianism is doomed, however, because utopians have enemies too, namely political realists like Schmitt and all those who wish to preserve their distinct collective identities from global homogenization.

Furthermore, Schmitt argues that attempts to eliminate enmity actually intensify it, for the enmity between finite peoples can be contained by the rules of warfare and concluded by a treaty of peace. Utopians, however, claim to fight in the name of all humanity. Their enemies are thus the enemies of humanity. But one cannot sign a peace treaty with the enemies of humanity. Thus war can only end with the enemy’s defeat and complete annihilation as an independent people, whether through assimilation or outright extermination.

Theory of the Partisan is a commentary on The Concept of the Political insofar as civilized warfare, one of the great achievements of European politics, is defined in contradistinction to non-civilized warfare, including partisan warfare, which Schmitt examines in detail, for it not only throws light on the nature of civilized warfare but also on its collapse into the uncivilized warfare of the 20th century and beyond.

Limited & Unlimited Warfare

The rules of European limited or “bracketed” warfare evolved slowly over centuries, establishing clear distinctions between war vs. peace, combatants vs. non-combatants, and enemies vs. criminals. Schmitt’s point of departure, however, is the Congress of Vienna of 1814–1815, the post-Napoleonic restoration which codified what he calls the “classical” laws of limited warfare, which remained in effect to the end of the First World War.

Regular warfare is waged between state actors that recognize one another as bearers of a jus belli, the right to conduct war. The other side of the jus belli is the right to conclude peace. Bearers of the jus belli are not criminals; otherwise it would not be possible to conclude peace with them. A criminal must simply be defeated and destroyed as an independent agent if not altogether.

The rules of regular warfare did not apply to what Schmitt calls “colonial warfare,” which is directed against peoples who were regarded as savages and sometimes against other European colonizers.

When European powers wished to conclude peace with savages whom they could not destroy, they were capable of recognizing them as sovereign peoples, e.g., the Maori in New Zealand and the various Indian tribes of North America, which were treated as nations that could sign treaties. They may have been conquered peoples, but they were still recognized as peoples.

Of course, unless they are assimilated or exterminated, conquered peoples remain distinct peoples whether or not they are recognized as such by their conquerors. Anti-colonial warfare is simply a matter of a conquered people re-asserting its sovereignty and fighting to regain its independence.

Schmitt’s notion of colonial warfare seems to subsume all wars of conquest and assimilation or extermination, in which the enemy ceases to exist as a distinct people—even a conquered people—and a bearer of the jus belli. One cannot sign a peace treaty with an enemy that no longer exists, which is the only possible end of “unlimited” warfare.

Civil war is a war between multiple parties for control of a single state. Each party demands to be recognized as a state actor, but it cannot extend that recognition to its rivals, which have to be treated as rebels and criminals. Civil wars end when one party is left in control of the state and the others are dissolved or destroyed. If the parties to a civil war recognize each other as legitimate state actors, this amounts to the partition of the state, in which case we no longer have a civil war, but a war of partition or secession.

A revolution is pretty much the same thing as a civil war. When a civil war begins, the party in power regards its rivals as revolutionaries who seek to overthrow it, and when a revolution is launched, the outcome is generally decided by civil war, unless the existing state is too weak to resist and simply collapses or the revolutionaries are so weak that they can be quashed simply by the police.

The American Revolution was not really a revolution or a civil war but an anti-colonial war of secession. The American Revolutionaries never contemplated overthrowing George III altogether. They merely wished to secede from his empire. Indeed, the American revolutionaries had to recognize the legitimacy of the British throne, because the colonies needed the British to recognize them back, as legitimate states with which a peace treaty could be concluded.

Regular & Irregular Troops

Theory of the Partisan is based on two lectures delivered by Schmitt in March of 1962 in Franco’s Spain. Because of his Spanish audience, Schmitt begins his discussion of partisan warfare with the Spanish guerilla war against Napoleon from 1808–1813.

The term “partisan,” however, appears as early as 1595, in French decrees regarding enemy invasions which use the terms “partisan” and “parti de guerre” (p. 17, n23). In his Translator’s Introduction, G. L. Ulmen quotes Johan Heinrich Zedler’s 1740 dictionary definition of Parthey, Parti:

. . . a group of soldiers on horseback or on foot, which is sent out by a general to do damage to the enemy by ruses and speed, or to investigate his condition. . . . It has to have valid passports, letters of marque, or salviguards, otherwise they are considered highway robbers. The leader of such a party is called a Partheygänger [party-follower] or partisan. (p. X.)

Here we have two of the chief characteristics of the partisan in Schmitt’s terms: (1) the partisan is an “irregular” soldier, which means that he has an ambiguous legal status vis-à-vis regular soldiers, hence the risk of being treated as a mere criminal and the need to maintain some connection to regularity in order to avoid summary execution, and (2) the partisan is characterized by mobility and guile.

Partisan warfare played a large role in the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763), particularly in the American theater, where it was known as the French and Indian War. The partisan techniques of the French and Indian War were later used to great effect by the colonists in the American Revolutionary War.

Johann Ewald (1744–1813), who fought in Europe in the Seven Years’ War and in America during the Revolutionary War as a company commander in the Hessian Field Jaeger Corps, published a treatise on partisan warfare in 1785 entitled Über den kleinen Krieg (On Small War), which has been translated as Treatise on Partisan Warfare.[2]

Four Characteristics of the Partisan

Schmitt discusses four traits of the partisan: (1) irregularity, (2) “intense political engagement,” (3) tactical versatility and speed, and (4) a “telluric” character.

Irregularity: Regular troops have four main traits: (1) responsible officers, (2) symbols that are visible (uniforms, flags) and fixed (one cannot wear enemy uniforms or fly enemy flags), (3) open display of weapons, and (4) observance of the rules of warfare, which would include, for example, taking prisoners and tending the wounded. Irregular or partisan warfare violates some or all of these rules, particularly the second and third.

Political Engagement: The original sense of “partisan” is simply someone who participates in warfare in an irregular way. Soldiers, of course, participate in warfare, but they are supposed to, so they are not called partisans. But when somebody participates in warfare who should not, such as an armed peasantry, they are called partisans. When regular soldiers participate in warfare in an irregular fashion, they are called partisans as well.

Schmitt, however, wishes to characterize partisans as political partisans, by which he means they fight for a particular political ideology. Of course ideological partisans, such as Marxist guerrillas and Muslim jihadists, have been very prominent since the Second World War. But I see no reason why partisans need necessarily to be particularly politically conscious or engaged, for they can simply fight to repel invaders from their homelands.

Schmitt claims that the political engagement of the partisan is one of the marks distinguishing him from a mere member of a criminal gang. But one could say the same thing about the partisan who fights merely for hearth and home.

Tactical Versatility and Speed: Partisans are often characterized as “light” troops: lightly armed, lightly armored, and lightly provisioned. Partisans travel and fight light because they put a premium on speed, which gives them a tactical advantage when engaging heavily armed regular troops. Partisans are also characterized by strategic flexibility, moving rapidly from attack to retreat. To offset the advantages of more heavily armed opponents, partisans also use guile, disguising themselves as civilians or even as enemy soldiers, carrying concealed weapons, laying traps and ambushes, etc. Schmitt saw that all of these traits can only be enhanced by technological progress, particularly in transportation and communications.

“Telluric” Character: Schmitt also characterizes partisans as having a “telluric,” i.e., earth-related, character. Specifically, the partisan is tied to his homeland, which he defends from invaders. Schmitt, however, recognizes that the partisan loses his telluric character if he is committed to an aggressive global ideology (e.g., Communism, Islam, liberal democracy) and takes advantage of modern advances in transportation and communication.

Guerrillas, Terrorists & Mercenaries

There is no real difference between a partisan and a guerrilla. The Spanish word for partisan warfare, “guerrilla,” simply means “small war.” In Spanish, guerrilla fighters are called “guerrilleros,” but in English as early as 1809, they were called “guerrillas.”

What is the relationship of partisan warfare to terrorism? Schmitt does not deal with this question, but I would like to suggest an answer that is consistent with his position. It is very tempting to conflate partisans with terrorists, since the terrorists we see on TV fit the partisan model. But that strikes me as a mistake.

The distinctive trait of terrorism is that it does not respect the distinction between combatants and non-combatants. Terrorists target non-combatants in order to terrorize them, in the hope that it will demoralize their enemies and break their will to fight.

Thus defined, there is no necessary connection between terrorists and partisans. Terrorism can be used both by regular armies and partisan groups. Indeed, states rather than partisans are the greatest terrorists of all, because they have the greatest capacity to do violence. The pinnacle of terrorism, thus far, are Anglo-American innovations: the mass killing of enemy civilians through starvation and disease imposed by economic blockades and “sanctions” and through incineration by atomic and conventional bombing.

The conventional image of mercenaries, like that of terrorists, makes it easy to confuse them with partisans as well. But what distinguishes mercenaries is not their manner of waging war but their motive. Mercenaries fight for money. They will fight as regular troops or irregular troops, if the price is right. Furthermore, although mercenaries can operate like partisans, they lack the telluric character and political commitment of partisans. If a mercenary fights for his own homeland or a cause in which he believes, that is merely an accident of commerce.

Prussians & Partisans

The second chapter of Theory of the Partisan, entitled “Development of the Theory,” opens with a discussion of the relationship between the Prussian military and partisan warfare. According to Schmitt, the Prussian military was intensely committed to the classical rules of regular warfare. But because of this commitment to regular warfare, the Prussians reacted with particular savagery toward partisans.

This was the case during the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871). After Napoleon III was defeated at Sedan, his government was overthrown, and the new republic under Leon Gambetta proclaimed a war of national liberation against the Prussians, including widespread partisan warfare, which the Prussians fought savagely to suppress with summary executions, hostage taking, and reprisals against civilians. One wonders if the same dynamic led to similar anti-partisan measures on the Eastern Front in the Second World War.

But Schmitt points out, ironically, that the Prussians were no strangers to partisan warfare. Even Otto von Bismarck himself, when facing defeat in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, wanted to “mobilize the underworld” (Archeronta movere), “to take every weapon in hand to be able to unleash the national movement not only in Germany, but also in Hungary and Bohemia” (Bismarck quoted in Schmitt, p. 40). In the end, however, Bismarck triumphed through classical limited warfare.

The Prussians also contemplated partisan warfare in 1812–1813, when the Prussian General Staff decided to mobilize the people in the struggle against Napoleon. The Prussian Landsturm (national militia) edict of April 21, 1813, signed by the king himself, ordered every subject to resist the enemy with every available weapon, explicitly mentioning axes, pitchforks, scythes, and hammers. Subjects were ordered not to cooperate with enemy attempts to restore public order. The Spanish guerrilla war against Napoleon was expressly invoked as the model. The end of national liberation “sanctifies all means” of resistance. A few months later, however, the edict was purged of all partisan elements and resistance was assigned to the regular army.

From Limited to Total War

The example of the Franco-Prussian War makes it clear that limited warfare is a product of monarchy, specifically of feudal monarchy. In monarchical systems, kings and their cabinets fight wars over honor, territory, and wealth. Wars are simply duels and jousts writ large, which makes it possible to keep them contained. Both parties to the duel, moreover, follow the same code of honor. They recognize one another as being worthy opponents and worthy friends when the contest has ended. The feudal model allows the defeat of an enemy without his destruction as a distinct political entity. The defeated ruler simply bends his knee to the victor, swears fealty, and pays tribute. The classical limited European war thus takes on a ritualistic or game-like quality, much like the Aztec “wars of the flowers.”

When the Prussians defeated Napoleon III in the Franco-Prussian War, according to the rules of limited warfare, he should have retained his sovereignty and signed a peace treaty. But before that could happen, Napoleon III was overthrown by a popular government which launched its people’s war against Prussia.

In short, if limited warfare goes along with the principle of monarchy, unlimited warfare—including partisan warfare—goes along with the principle of popular sovereignty. For example, when kings, their cabinets, and their armies fight wars, it is possible to make neat distinctions between combatants and non-combatants. But when peoples fight wars—by means of mass levees and partisan tactics—the distinction between combatant and non-combatant is no longer so clear.

Furthermore, as the examples of the Napoleonic Wars and the Austro-Prussian War indicate, kings and their cabinets, when faced with defeat within the rules of limited warfare, are not above the temptation to appeal to the people and license partisan warfare. Thus when war loses its game-like quality and gets existentially serious—a matter of survival for whoever wages it—then limited warfare goes out the window, the underworld is mobilized, and all hell breaks loose.

Granted, partisan warfare existed before the rise of popular sovereignty, but whenever the people make war, they are performing sovereign functions. Thus partisan warfare is implicitly revolutionary. This may be why the Prussian monarchy ultimately resisted using partisan warfare, for once the principle of popular sovereignty is established, monarchy’s days are numbered.

According to Schmitt, the man who saw this most clearly was Vladimir Lenin, who was a careful student of Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz (1780–1831). In his notes on Clausewitz’s On War, Lenin distinguished real war (Voina) from mere military play (Igrá). Limited warfare is mere play because it is not existentially serious. Yes, people die in limited wars, but the state actors do not; the fundamental political system remains intact.

Lenin, of course, was a revolutionary who wanted to overthrow the existing system, and revolution has never been a form of limited warfare. Revolution has always had the utmost existential seriousness, because one can win only by destroying all other pretenders to sovereignty. Furthermore, Lenin was a Communist revolutionary. He fought in the name of the people, through totally mobilizing the people, which makes it difficult to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants. Finally, Communism, like Islam and liberal democracy, is a universal political ideology, which means that it denies the legitimacy of all other forms of government all over the globe. Such an ideology can lead only to unlimited, global warfare until all distinctions are obliterated.

Types of Enmity

The friend-enemy distinction is the foundation of the political. In war, the enemy is obviously the most important category. Schmitt distinguishes at least four different types of enemy in Theory of the Partisan: (1) the legal enemy vs. (2) the real enemy, and (3) the relative enemy vs. (4) the absolute enemy.

One of the functions of the sovereign is to declare the enemy. This is the legal enemy. However, enmity is not merely conventional. There are real enemies and real friends based on real conflicts and harmonies of interest. Thus the legal enemy can be different from the real enemy. For example, in 1812, Prussia was allied with Napoleon against Russia. Thus, legally speaking, Russia was the enemy and France the friend. However, in terms of fundamental values and interests, France was the true enemy and Russia the true friend. Thus, in December of 1812, the Prussian General Hans von Yorck, who commanded the Prussian division of Napoleon’s army in Russia, defected to the Russians. In a letter to his king, Frederick William III, Yorck asked the king to decide whether to condemn him as a rebel for usurping his sovereign role of determining the enemy or to ratify his decision by moving against the real enemy, Napoleon.

For Schmitt, the relative enemy is the enemy of a limited, bracketed war, i.e., the sort of enemy with which one can make peace. The absolute enemy is the enemy in a colonial, civil, or revolutionary war, i.e., an enemy with which one cannot make peace and who must therefore be destroyed as a distinct being, either by absorption or extermination.

Morality & Enmity

Civilized war is not the same as moralized war. In fact, civilized war is rather morally cynical. States can make war and peace out of the basest of motives. If you shoot 10 innocent hostages in reprisal for one murdered soldier, you are civilized. If you shoot 11, you are a barbarian. But in spite of this moral cynicism, bracketed warfare did serve the higher good by making it possible to limit the scope of warfare and conclude wars with peace.

According to Schmitt, injecting morality into warfare merely intensifies enmity thus widening the scope and prolonging the duration of warfare. We cannot afford this in a world with weapons of mass destruction:

. . . the ultimate danger exists not even in the present weapons of mass destruction and in a premeditated evil of men, but rather in the inescapability of a moral compulsion. Men who use these weapons against other men feel compelled morally to destroy these other men as offerings and objects. They must declare their opponents to be totally criminal and inhuman, to be a total non-value. Otherwise they themselves are nothing more than criminals and brutes. The logic of value and non-value reaches its full destructive consequence, and creates ever newer, ever deeper discrimination, criminalizations, and devaluations, until all non-valuable life has been destroyed. (p. 94)

The Future of the Partisan

Schmitt’s nightmare, like Heidegger’s, is the fulfillment of our ongoing “progress” toward a completely homogenized, global technological civilization. His deepest hope seems to be that the partisan, because of his telluric nature, can resist this future: “. . . the partisan, on whose telluric character we have focused, becomes the irritant for every person who thinks in terms of purpose-rationality and value-rationality. He provokes nothing short of a technocratic affect [by which Schmitt seems to mean “rage”]” (pp. 76–77). (Interestingly, in his later writings, such as “The Origin of the Work of Art” and “The Thing,” Heidegger also appeals to the telluric as a force of resistance to the technological drive toward complete transparency and availability.)

Schmitt’s hope is that globalization and homogenization will not be completed because they will give rise to partisans who will resist the process in the name of their own particularity: their distinct homelands, cultures, and ways of life. Schmitt also hopes that partisans will appropriate modern technology to resist modern technocracy, that they will turn every modern “advance” into a new means and opportunity for resistance. In a rather apocalyptic, Road Warrior turn of imagination, he even speaks of partisans who will spring up after a nuclear war or other form of catastrophic civilizational collapse to inaugurate a new phase of world history.

Schmitt’s great fear, however, is that even the telluric, identitarian nature of the partisan can be coopted by the technological world system. For example, he devotes a great deal of space to discussing the development of Marxist theories of guerrilla warfare from Lenin to Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, and Che Guevara, noting how masterfully Communists were able to exploit even rooted and nationalistic partisans in order to advance a homogenizing global ideology.

* * *

Theory of the Partisan is a melancholy little book, by turns illuminating and obscure, nostalgic and revolutionary.

On the one hand, Schmitt clearly mourns the loss of classical bracketed warfare. In a rare moment of petulance, he blames Lenin for “blindly” destroying “all traditional bracketing of war” (p. 89). With all due contempt for Lenin, in this case he was not blind. His eyes were wide open.

Lenin saw quite clearly that classical bracketed warfare was a relic of the age of monarchy, and although it was indeed civilized, it was never all that serious. It was merely the expression of the petty politics of prestige and dynastic intrigue: the game of thrones.

The game of war never replaced real war. It simply drove it to the margins. Real war is existentially serious: the stakes are global and the penalty for loss is biological extinction. This is what Nietzsche called “Grand Politics.” This is our fight, and we need to see it for what it is, with eyes unclouded by nostalgia and tears.

On the other hand, Schmitt’s vision of the identitarian partisan has genuine revolutionary potential. Perhaps the best contemporary examples of identitarian partisans are the defenders of biological rather than cultural diversity: Greenpeace, Earth First!, the Earth Liberation Front, and sundry freelance monkeywrenchers, tree-spikers, and animal protectors and liberators. These partisans take their telluric rootedness seriously. When white racial preservation* inspires the levels of organization, idealism, and moral and physical courage displayed by partisans of trees, birds, and lab rats, I will no longer fear for our future.

Notes

1. Carl Schmitt: Theory of the Partisan: Intermediate Commentary on the Concept of the Political, trans. G. L. Ulmen (New York: Telos Press, 2007).

2. Johann Ewald, Treatise on Partisan Warfare, ed. and trans. Robert A. Selig and David Curtis Skaggs (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1991).

—————–

Added Note:

* Instead of “white racial preservation”, it is preferable to invoke the idea of European Identitarianism and European ethnic life. Although our views do include a racial component, it is preferable not to limit ourselves to that alone. And naturally, European Identitarians can also stand with non-European Identitarians in the struggle against world homogenisation; a mutual cooperation which could lead to the establishment of the Multipolar World (an idea already presented by Schmitt in his The Nomos of the Earth, and further developed by Alain de Benoist and Alexander Dugin).

————–

Johnson, Greg. “The Political Soldier: Carl Schmitt’s Theory of the Partisan.” Counter-Currents Publishing, 20 July 2012. <http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/07/the-political-soldier-carl-schmitts-theory-of-the-partisan/ >.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under New European Conservative

Schmitt’s Concept of the Political – O’Meara

Carl Schmitt’s The Concept of the Political

By Michael O’Meara

 

However it is posed, the question of the political is always about the most important issue facing every people.

The political, though, is not to be confused with “politics” or “party-politics,” which speaks to individual or special interest in parliamentary gas houses.

“Politics” is tied to rationalism, materialism, economism, and the rule of Mammon, all of which undermine authority, tradition, and the imperatives of the “political.”

One.

The political addresses the state in its highest manifestation as the agent of its inner peace and outer security.

Only after liberal society reformed the state — to enable private individuals to maneuver for positions of power and influence, once particular interests superseded the polity’s collective interest — did politics and the political begin to diverge. (In the Unites States, the first liberal state, politics was a business from the very beginning).

The political for Schmitt is thus not about what is conventionally thought of as politics, but rather about those situations, where the state (”the political status of an organized people in an enclosed territorial unit”) is separate from and above society, especially in situations when it is threatened with destruction by a superpersonal movement or entity and must therefore act to defend itself and the community it is dedicated to defending.

Two.

The polar categories defining the political are, as such, those of the friendenemy distinction — a distinction implying the possibility of physical killing between rival states. This distinction is based on antithetical categories distinct to the political — distinct in the way that the categories of good and evil are specific to morality, the beautiful and the ugly to aesthetics, the profitable or unprofitable to economics, etc.

Three.

Who is the enemy? For Schmitt, it is the superpersonal other, the stranger, the existential outsider, whose intense hostility and readiness for combat threatens the state and the relations of friendship internal to it.

The enemy is thus designated not on the basis of personal feelings or moral judgments (inimicus), but only in face of an intensely hostile power (hostis), which menaces the state’s existence.

An enemy, in this sense, exists wherever one fighting-collectivity poses an existential threat to another collectivity.

In order to identify the enemy, it is necessary to experience it as a live-threat — in a way no rational analysis, no discursive logic, no objective judgment, no normative standard can possibly anticipate — for this experience is of a people, which knowingly senses whenever its existence is endangered.

The enemy here is defined in terms of criteria, not content or substance — which means it takes the form of something that is always specific and concrete and very intense — not being, then, just something symbolic or metaphorical.

“What always matters is only the possibility of conflict.”

Usually the enemy is the alien “other,” whose threat comes from the exterior.

But the enemy can also emerge from internal differences, such as when domestic social, religious, sectional, etc., differences become so antagonistic that they weaken the unity of the state and the common identity of the citizenry, polarizing them into friends and enemies — i.e., into a state of civil war, as internal politics become primary.

Another, rarer example of an enemy situated in the interior (an example distinct to the United States,) is found whenever foreign culture elements take control of the state at its citizens’ expense (becoming what Yockey called “an inner enemy”).

Four.

Friends, by contrast, share a commitment to a way of life that binds them together, that gives them a sense of solidarity, a sense transcending matters of economics or morality, something that resembles a shared, homogenous identity reaching beyond the imperatives of private life — even if these “friends” do not know one another.

Friendship — the condition of amity between those making up a large socially or communally cohesive association — is always prior to enmity. For it is impossible to have a life-threatening “them” without first having a life-affirming “us.”

Indeed, it is only in face of the death and destruction posed by an enemy that “we” become fully conscious of who we are and learn what is truly “rational” for us.

This friendship implies that the “particular” trumps the “universal” and that a compromised convergence of interest, based on qualities shared with the enemy, is inconceivable.

Five.

The political is ultimately, then, a question of life or death — a question that presupposes the existence of an enemy — an enemy comprehended independent of other antitheses (e.g., the moral antitheses of good v. evil) and with conceptually autonomous categories of thought.

In presupposing the political, the state in the Schmittian sense orients to external threats rather than to internal structures of government or social-economic activity (the realms of party politics). The state anchors itself, instead, in its willingness to defend — with arms, if necessary — its distinct existence.

This gives the state the “right,” in exerting its jus belli authority, to call on its individual members to kill and to risk being killed.

Such an authority makes the state “superior” to all other associations, for it alone compels its members to kill and risk being killed.

Weak peoples afraid of the “trials and risks” that come with the political inevitably disappear from history

It is this determination, implying life or death, that specifically constitutes what Schmitt sees as the essence of the political.

Whoever, moreover, makes this determination, deciding whether an enemy is to be fought or not, possesses the decisive, authoritative political power: Sovereign power.

When the imminent threat of war subsides, so too does the political.

This doesn’t mean that war in itself is the “aim, purpose, or content” of the political, only that the “mode of behavior” — the individual responsibility — the sovereign exercise of authority — that perceives the danger and decides to resist it — constitutes the political.

To be political in Schmitt’s sense requires, then, not just a prior commitment to domestic relations of friendship and the social solidarity it engenders, but also to a particular form of life in which group identity is valued, in the last instance, above physical existence.

Six.

The political, which “neither favors nor opposes war,” is thus not necessarily a function solely of war (the highest expression of the friend-enemy polarity) nor can it be said that it is per se a bellicose nihilism. Rather it is more like something determined by the possibility of armed enmity — even in cases where the parties belligérantes legitimate their belligerency in the name of freedom, justice, or some other abstraction.

War is simply an “ever present possibility,” which Schmitt recognized and designated as the core of the political sphere.

But if war for Schmitt is, above all, a reaction to an external threat, not a sought-after aggression, what does this imply existentially? (On the surface, at least, it suggests a rejection of l’esprit de conquête and the will to power, which one comrade thought was a liberal vestige in Schmitt’s thought and I thought was a Catholic moral one. In any case, Schmitt never actually came to terms with Nietzsche.)

Seven.

Liberalism cannot distinguish between friend and enemy because its individualist, universalist, and pluralist ideology (”conceived in liberty and dedicated to the [abstract] proposition that all men are created equal”) denies that such a designation is conceivable in a world understood in market or moralist terms, where there are only competitors and moral entities, with whom one negotiates or reasons on the basis of universal rights and interests.

Compromise, not conflict, is accordingly the principal aim of the liberal state. Hence, its propensity for exchange, negotiation, and business.

But however it may try, liberalism cannot elude the “political.”

In cases where it is forced to designate an enemy, it is conceived as being outside “humanity” and thus something not simply to be defeated, but ruthlessly annihilated — for, by definition, the liberal’s enemy is non-human.

Eight.

Because it sees the state as essentially an instrument of society and economy, dedicated to the greatest happiness (material well-being) of the greatest number, liberalism lacks a political theory – having, in effect, only a critique of the political.

Indeed, liberal individualism and universalism negate the very possibility of the political, at least in principle. For nothing in its view should compel an individual to die for the sake of the state, which it understands in economic and ethical, instead of political terms.

Such a compulsion, it holds, would not only violate the individual’s freedom, it would make his nation/state association primary — whereas liberalism, in its humanism and rationalism, irrationally and inhumanely claims that only individualistic matters of ethics and economics are primary.

The liberal state, as such, is ethically committed to the rights and interests of individuals seen as self-contained units, whose sum is humanity — and economically, committed to untrammeled production and trade.

In practice, this has meant that the old ordered estates, along with the “prerogatives” of tradition, were forced to bow to the wishes of formless, manipulable masses, as quantity trumped quality and money overthrew the divine right of kings — a right, incidentally, that subsequently passed to the money men, this ethnic minority whose rule has proven to be more devastating than that of any former tyrant.

It has also meant that the usurer could evoke property rights to dispossess farmers of their land; that the personal interests represented by politicians takes priority over the nation’s Destiny; and that the brotherhood of man entails the greatest, most violent, and vigilant of wars to stifle expressions of political polarity.

Nine.

The political, though, cannot be done away with or evaded — it is immune to depoliticizing procedure — it is the essence of sovereignty.

In cases of war, the state, as the instrument of the political, is the ultimate authority — above the law — and as long as a state of emergency lasts.

Legal systems are based, in fact, not on legal reason, but on an authority that speaks to an existential/ontological situation needing no justification other than its own existence.

Ten.

“The protego ergo oblige [I protect therefore I oblige] is the cogito ergo sum [I think therefore I am] of the state.”

The state, as such, is the highest form of human association, defending the life of its citizens and expecting that they, in turn, prepare to die for it, if necessary.

Protection and obedience, in healthy bondage to one another, are in this way mutually entwined.

Eleven.

Ultimately, the political is an existential matter of the highest degree.

In the face of death, one is forced to take sides and thus to take responsibility for one’s life. The enemy, in this strife, invariably highlights the true significance of friendship.

At the same time, the enemy defines what it means to be human, for only when faced with death do we confront life as a whole.

The political, then, entails Destiny, for it keeps men in historicity and it takes them beyond their private selves, into the realm of great events.

In the liberal’s envisioned one-world state, in a situation where there is only “humanity” and thus no friend-enemy distinctions (except with extra-terrestrials), there would be no political, only competition between individuals, whose highest concern would be self-enrichment, comfort, and entertainment.

Without the political and the state upon which it rests (i.e., without an existential commitment to a shared identity), there would be, as a consequence, no polarity, no opposition, no transcendent reference, and no way to counter the entertainment of modern nihilism.

The first victim of liberal depoliticization is thus always “meaning.”

If Europeans, then, are ever to regain control of their Destiny, it will only come through a political assertion of the identity that distinguishes them from the world’s other peoples.

All else is simply “politics.”

————-

O’Meara, Michael. “Carl Schmitt’s The Concept of the Political.” The Occidental Quarterly Online, 5 April 2010. <http://www.toqonline.com/blog/carl-schmitts-concept-of-the-political/ >.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under New European Conservative

Vision of a Multipolar World – Tudor

The Vision of a Multipolar World

(Excerpt from “The Philosophy of Identity”)

By Lucian Tudor

 

The theory of a multipolar world has been increasingly popularized in recent times by Alexander Dugin, to whom it is widely attributed.[61] However, it should be remembered that this concept has a longer history, and can be found not only in the thought of other Russian thinkers, but also explicitly in the works of Carl Schmitt and Alain de Benoist, and more implicitly in the works of certain Identitarians such as Pierre Krebs.[62]

The theory of a multipolar world is grounded, in great part, in Carl Schmitt’s ideas in The Nomos of the Earth. In this work, the first nomos refers to the pre-colonial order which was marked by the isolation of nations from each other. The second nomos was the global order of sovereign nation-states established upon the Age of Discovery. The third nomos was the “bipolar” order established after World War II, where the world was divided into two poles (Communist or Soviet and Western or American). With the end of the Cold War, the “unipolar moment” occurred in history, where the United States became the only dominating superpower, and in which the “Western” liberal model spread its influence across the entire Earth. The fourth nomos has not yet developed: it is an open question where, increasingly, the options become either the hegemony of a single power and model (currently the Western one) or the creation of a multipolar world.[63]

The theory of the multipolar world is marked by a rejection of the “West,” which, it must be emphasized, is not a reference to Western European civilization as a whole, but a specific formulation of Western European civilization founded upon liberalism, egalitarianism, and individualism. Alexander Dugin and the present-day Eurasianists, in a manner almost identical to that of the Identitarians, distinguish the liberal “West” from true European culture, posing Europe and the West as two antagonistic entities.[64] Due to globalism and Western cultural imperialism, the system of the liberal “West,” in contrast to traditional European culture, has increasingly harmed not only the identities of European peoples, but also numerous non-European peoples: “The crisis of identity . . . has scrapped all previous identities—civilizational, historical, national, political, ethnic, religious, cultural, in favor of a universal planetary Western-style identity—with its concept of individualism, secularism, representative democracy, economic and political liberalism, cosmopolitanism and the ideology of human rights.”[65] Thus, both the Western European Identitarians and Eurasianists advocate the idea of a genuine Europe which allies with non-Europeans to combat the “Western” system:

Both the French New Right as well as the Russian one advocate a decentralized federal Europe (to a Europe of a hundred flags) and, beyond the Westernized idea of Europe, for a Eurasian Empire formed by ethnocultural regions, putting a view on countries of the Third World which supposedly embody the primitive and original communities, traditional and rooted, which are ultimately conceived as natural allies against the New World Order homogenizer of the universal, egalitarian, and totalitarian liberalism.[66]

The vision of the multipolar world means combating and putting an end to the ideological hegemony of liberalism (as well as its concomitants, individualism, egalitarianism, universalism, and globalism) and to the economic and political hegemony of the West. Multipolarity means that each country and civilization is given the right and freedom to choose its own destiny, to affirm its own unique cultural and ethnic identity, to choose its own form of politics and economics, and to possess its own sovereign existence, free from the hegemony of others. This means that in the multipolar world, each nation has the right to determine their own policies and to join or remain independent from a federalist or imperial state, just as it also means that larger and more powerful states (superpowers) do not have the right to interfere in the affairs of other countries and civilizations.

According to Dugin, “Multi-polarity should be based on the principle of equity among the different kinds of political, social and economic organisations of these nations and states. Technological progress and a growing openness of countries should promote dialogue amongst, and the prosperity of, all peoples and nations. But at the same time it shouldn’t endanger their respective identities.”[67] Part of multipolar theory is the importance of a process called “modernization without Westernization,” whereby the various non-Western peoples of the world scientifically and technologically advance without combining progress with the adoption of the cosmopolitan liberal Western model and without losing their unique cultural identity. Thus, the values of traditional society can be reconciled with what is positive in modern progress to create a new social and cultural order where the basically negative “modernity” is overcome, thus achieving the envisioned “postmodernity.” This model is, of course, also offered to Western European nations as well.[68]

In the multipolar scheme, the true Europe (grounded in the heritage of Celtic, Germanic, Greek, Latin, Slavic, and other traditions) rises to take its place among the other cultures of the world. Each culture will overcome the individualist, cosmopolitan, and universalist West, reassert its own identity, and establish a secure world order where each respects the identity of the other; the universum will be vanquished to create a pluriversum. At its foundation, the theory of the multipolar world means the restoration and defense of ethnocultural identities in the world and defending the values of tradition, ethnos, spirituality, and community.

Therefore, it implies allowing different peoples (ethnic groups, cultures, races) to live autonomously in their own territories and to resist mixing. This further means encouraging the cooperation between all peoples to achieve this world order and to resolve the problems caused by the liberal-egalitarian and globalist system (such as the problems of immigration and “multiculturalism”) in the most practical and humane way. For that reason, the theory of the multipolar world is not only compatible with Identitarianism, it is an essential part of it; Multipolarism and Identitarianism are two sides of the same coin. The ultimate international mission of the Identitarian movement is the creation of a multipolar world order—a world in which, as Alain de Benoist and Charles Champetier declared, we will see “the appearance of thousands of auroras, i.e., the birth of sovereign spaces liberated from the domination of the modern.”[69]

Notes:

[61] Alexander Dugin’s most famous work in this regard is Теория многополярного мира (Мoscow: Евразийское движение, 2012). We should note that this work is currently more accessible to a Western European audience through its French translation: Pour une théorie du monde multipolaire (Nantes: Éditions Ars Magna, 2013). Explanations of the theory of the multipolar world can also be found in German in Dugin, Konflikte der Zukunft: Die Rückkehr der Geopolitik (Kiel: Arndt-Verlag, 2014), and in Spanish in ¿Qué es el eurasismo? Una conversación de Alain de Benoist con Alexander Dugin (Tarragona: Ediciones Fides, 2014), which is the Spanish translation of L’appel de l’Eurasie (Paris: Avatar Éditions, 2013).

[62] See for example Alain de Benoist, Carl Schmitt Today: Terrorism, “Just” War, and the State of Emergency (London: Arktos, 2013), 104, and Krebs, Fighting for the Essence, 20–30. Concerning other Russian thinkers, see Leonid Savin’s comments on multipolar theory in the interview with Robert Steuckers’s Euro-Synergies: “Establish a Multipolar World Order: Interview with Mr. Leonid Savin of the International Eurasian Movement,” Euro-Synergies, March 25, 2013, http://euro-synergies.hautetfort.com/archive/2013/03/22/interview-with-mr-leonid-savin.html.

[63] See Carl Schmitt, The Nomos of the Earth in the International Law of the Jus Publicum Europaeum (New York: Telos, 2003).

[64] Concerning the views of the Identitarians, see: Alain de Benoist, “The ‘West’ Should Be Forgotten,” The Occidental Observer, April 21, 2011, http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2011/04/the-%e2%80%9cwest%e2%80%9d-should-be-forgotten/; Guillaume Faye, “Cosmopolis: The West As Nowhere,” Counter-Currents Publishing, July 6, 2012, http://www.counter-currents.com/2010/07/cosmopolis/; Tomislav Sunic, “The West against Europe,” The Occidental Observer, June 2, 2013, http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2013/06/the-west-against-europe/; Krebs, Fighting for the Essence, 31ff. Concerning Dugin’s views in particular, see his approving reference to Benoist’s distinction between Europe and the West in “Counter-Hegemony in Theory of Multi-Polar World,” The Fourth Political Theory, n.d., http://www.4pt.su/en/content/counter-hegemony-theory-multi-polar-world.

[65] Alexander Dugin, “Civilization as Political Concept: Interview with Alexander Dugin by Natella Speranskaya,” Euro-Synergies, June 13, 2012, http://euro-synergies.hautetfort.com/archive/2012/06/09/civilization-as-political-concept.html.

[66] Jesús J. Sebastián, “Alexander Dugin: la Nueva Derecha Rusa, entre el Neo-Eurasianismo y la Cuarta Teoría Política,” Elementos: Revista de Metapolítica para una Civilización Europea, no. 70 (May 2014): 7. http://issuu.com/sebastianjlorenz/docs/elementos_n___70._dugin.

[67] Alexander Dugin, “The Greater Europe Project,” Open Revolt, December 24, 2011, http://openrevolt.info/2011/12/24/the-greater-europe-project/.

[68] A good overview of the theory of the multipolar world can be found in English in Alexander Dugin, “The Multipolar World and the Postmodern,” Journal of Eurasian Affairs 2, no. 1 (2014): 8–12, and “Multipolarism as an Open Project,” Journal of Eurasian Affairs 1, no. 1 (2013): 5–14. This journal is issued online at http://www.eurasianaffairs.net/.

[69] Benoist and Champetier, Manifesto for a European Renaissance, 14.

 

—————

Excerpt from: Tudor, Lucian. “The Philosophy of Identity: Ethnicity, Culture, and Race in Identitarian Thought.” The Occidental Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 3 (Fall 2014), pp. 108-112.  This essay was also republished in Lucian Tudor’s book, From the German Conservative Revolution to the New Right: A Collection of Essays on Identitarian Philosophy (Santiago, Chile: Círculo de Investigaciones PanCriollistas, 2015).

 

2 Comments

Filed under New European Conservative

Fourth Dimension – Benoist

The Fourth Dimension

By Alain de Benoist

Translated from the French by Tomislav Sunic

 

Modernity successfully gave birth to three major competing political doctrines; liberalism in the eighteenth century, socialism in the nineteenth century and fascism in the twentieth century. Being the last in line, fascism was also the one that disappeared most rapidly. However, the breakdown of the Soviet system has not brought to a halt socialist aspirations and even less so the ideas of communism. Liberalism, for its part, seems to be the biggest winner in this competition. In any case the principles of liberalism, spearheaded by the ideology of human rights, and thriving now within the New Class all over the globe, are today the most widespread within the framework of the process of globalization.

None of these doctrines are totally wrong. Each one of them contains some elements of truth. Let us have a rapid look at this panorama. What needs to be retained from liberalism is the following; the idea of freedom accompanied by the sense of responsibility; the rejection of rigid determinism; the importance of the notion of autonomy; the critique of statism; a certain tendency towards republicanism, anti-Jacobinism and anti-centralism. What needs to be rejected is: possessive individualism; the focus on the anthropological concept of the producer vs. consumer in which everybody searches for his best interest; the principles based on what Adam Smith called “the gift for peddling,” that is, the inclination for tradeoffs; the ideology of progress, the bourgeois spirit, the primacy of utilitarian and mercantile values; the paradigm of the market — in short, capitalism.

What needs to be retained from socialism are the following points: its critique of the logic of the capital in so far as socialism was the first to analyze each of its economic and supra-economic dimensions; the idea that society must be defined as a whole (holism, the original key-concept of sociology); the desire for enfranchisement; the notion of solidarity and the idea of social justice. What needs to be rejected is: historicism; statism; the drive toward egalitarianism and doleful hypermoralism.

From fascism what needs to be retained is the following: the affirmation of the uniqueness of identity of each people and its national culture; the sense of heroic values; the bondage between ethics and aesthetics. What needs to be rejected is: the metaphysics of subjectivity, nationalism, Social Darwinism, racism, primitive anti-feminism and the cult of the leader, and of course, again, statism.

The Interregnum

Will the fourth political theory, the one the twenty-first century so badly needs, be a radically new doctrine, or will it provide a synthesis of what was best in the preceding ones? In any case this project has been a major focus of interest of (what one calls) the “European New Right” for well over 40 years.

The twenty-first century will also be the century of the 4th Nomos of the Earth (general power configuration at the global level). The First Nomos, the one where nations lived relatively isolated from each other, came to an end with the discovery of America. The Second Nomos, embodied by the Eurocentric order of modern states (the Westphalian order), ended with the First World War. The Third Nomos was the one in place since 1945 and it shaped the Yalta regime and the Soviet-American condominium.

What will be the Fourth Nomos? That one may take on the form of a unipolar America-centric world, i.e. a vast global market, that is to say, an immense free trade space, or possibly a multi-polar world where major continental blocks, being both autonomous power actors and hubs of civilizations, play a regulatory role vis-à-vis globalization, preserving thus the diversity of lifestyles and cultures that make up the wealth of mankind.

But it may just as well be said that we have entered now World War IV. World War One (1914–18), which ended for the benefit of the City of London, had brought about the dismantlement of the Austro- Hungarian and the Ottoman empires. The two big winners of the Second World War (1939–45) were the United States and Stalinist Russia. World War III corresponded to the Cold War (1945–89). It ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the Soviet system, mainly to the advantage of Washington. World War IV began in 1991. It means a war led by the United States against the rest of the world; a multifaceted type of war, both militarily and economically; both at the financial, technological and cultural level and inseparable from the world-wide “enframing” and rationalization of everything (‘Gestell’) by boundless capital.

The evolution of warfare depends not only on technological advances in armaments, but also on the succession of political forms and institutions to which they are related. One can say that the well-defined military forms of conflict have gone through four stages in modern times: first came the war of sovereign states — as a fall-out of the birth of modern politics, so well described by Hobbes and Machiavelli. In other words back then we were witnessing the dispossession of the theological in favor of a pure political conception of the sovereign. Henceforth, wars were solely conducted for the interests of each state. These were limited wars — wars against justus hostis (“just enemy”), in which only a specific political order was defended.

In the 18th century surfaced the “democratic war” of nations, who in their turn became sovereign actors. This was also the war that included irregulars while giving birth to guerillas within the context of rising nationalism, and in which what needed to be defended was a given territory as the first priority. In the nineteenth century one could witness the rise of wars conducted in the name of humanity, i.e., wars of a moralizing and criminalizing nature, wars based on an ideology in which abstract principles were defended. This type of war signaled the return of “just war” (its first apparition could be observed during the American Civil War). The fourth form of warfare is now the war against “terror” (or “Star Wars”) — a war of asymmetric and total character.

In many aspects we have already entered the fourth dimension of warfare. Entering this fourth dimension brings us closer to the moment of truth. The question remains as to what will be the general configuration of issues in this century, the major lines of demarcation and the decisive cleavages? For the time being we still live in a kind of interregnum. Yet from now on, the essential issue needs to be addressed: the enigma of the subject in the historical process in a world dominated by Capitalism, in which Capitalism is itself subject to terrible internal contradictions, while at the same time becoming stronger and stronger day after day. Who will be the historical subject to shake things up in life now?

Being a historical subject and not an object of the history of others requires full self-awareness and awareness of how to unfold oneself towards one’s own potential. Heidegger spoke of Being (Dasein), a Being shaped by his time, waiting to unfold. But there is also a Being (Dasein) of peoples in the political sense of this term. All peoples are waiting to see the end of their alienation — as peoples. Facing the objectified forms of their work — which is represented by capital — they need to affirm themselves as historical subjects in the present age — in order to become again the subjects of their own social endeavors.

 

————–

De Benoist, Alain. “The Fourth Dimension.” The Occidental Observer, 30 January 2011. <http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2011/01/the-fourth-dimension/ >.

Note: This article was originally published in French in Elements, Nr. 136, June 2011.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under New European Conservative

Geopolitics Today – Benoist

Geopolitics Today

By Alain de Benoist

 

Geopolitics has long been frowned upon by public opinion. Following World War II, it became the most unpopular of the social sciences. It had been accused of being a “German science” which didn’t really mean much, except that it owes its initial impetus to the political geography principles enunciated by the German geographer Friederich Ratzel – the term “geopolitics” being used for the first time by the Swedish geographer Rudolf Kjéllen in 1889. In his book “Politische Geographie oder die Geographie der Staaten, des Verkehrs und des Krieges (1897)” Ratzel analyzed the interactions of the state, considered as a living body, in terms of its geography and its space. One of his disciples was the Bavarian General Karl Haushofer, founder of the “Zeitschrift für Geopolitik”. It was only by an obvious confusion between space in the geopolitical sense and “Lebensraum” that a connection/ proximity between Karl Haushofer and National Socialism was brought into question. This was wrongly so, and not only because Haushofer never was an ideologue of the 3rd Reich. More importantly, Hitler had much more sympathy for the Anglo Saxons than he had for the Slavs. He waged a war against Russia, a continental power, yet he would have preferred to ally with Great Britain, a sea power. Had he subscribed to the thesis of geopolitics he would have done the exact opposite.

Moreover, the definition of this discipline’s field of study or its status has never ceased to be a problem. Geopolitics studies the influence of geography on politics and history, that is to say, the relationship between space and power (political, economic or other). Yet the definition remains fuzzy, which explains that the reality of both the concept and the relationship to its objective have been disputed. It has therefore been described as a discipline aiming to legitimize retrospectively historical events or political decisions.

These criticisms do not, however, go to the bottom of things: That we can identify through history, geographical constants of political action is, as a matter of fact, indisputable. Geopolitics remains thus, a discipline of great value and great importance. It is, even, essential to refer to it in a world in transition, where all the cards are being redistributed worldwide. Geopolitics puts into perspective the weight of merely ideological factors, unstable by definition, and recalls the existence of large constants that transcend political regimes as well as the intellectual debates.

Of all the concepts specific to Geopolitics, one of the most significant is undoubtedly the dialectical opposition between Sea and Land. ” World history, said Carl Schmitt, is the story of the fight of maritime powers against continental powers and of continental powers against maritime powers.” It was also the Admiral Castex’ opinion as well as that of many other geopoliticians. Halford Mackinder, for example, defines the power of Great Britain by the domination of the oceans and seas. He perceives the planet as a whole composed of a ” Global Ocean” and a “Global Island”, corresponding to the entire Eurasian space as well as Africa , and ” peripheral islands” , America and Australia. In order to dominate the world, we must seize the global island and primarily its “heart” , the Heartland, the real world’s geographical pivot stretching from Central Europe to Western Siberia and towards the Mediterranean, from Middle-East and South Asia. One of the first English great navigators, Sir Walter Raleigh, used to say: ” Whoever controls the seas controls world trade; whoever controls world trade holds all the treasures of the world in his possession, and in fact, the whole world.”

In the history of mankind, the confrontation between Land and Sea is the age-old struggle between the European continental logic and the “insular” logic embodied nowadays by the US. But the opposition between Land and Sea goes well beyond the perspectives offered by Geopolitics. The Land is a space formed by territories differentiated by borders. Its logic is based on sharp distinctions between war and peace, combatants and non-combatants, political action and trade. It is therefore the place of politics and history par excellence. ” Political existence is pure telluric nature” (Adriano Scianca). The sea is an homogenous area/stretch, the negation of differences, limits and borders. It is a space of indistinctness, the liquid equivalent of the desert. Being centre-less, it only knows ebb and flow and this is how it is related to postmodern globalization. The actual world is indeed a “liquid” world (Zygmunt Bauman), which tends to eliminate everything that is “earthly”, stable, solid, consistent, sustainable, and differentiated. It is a world of flux carried by networks. Trade itself, as well as the logic of is also formed in the manner of ebb and flow.

Geopolitics has regained its legitimacy with the various conflicts that have arisen since the 1970′ s. Most of these conflicts have been carried out by the US. Marked from their puritan origins by the conviction of being the “new chosen people” the Americans have intended to establish themselves as a universal model, which would bring to the world the benefits of “the American way of life” that is to say a model of a commercial civilization, based on the primacy of exchange value and the logic of profit. This planetary mission would be their “Manifest Destiny” . Geopolitics is precisely the discipline which helps to explain the constants of their foreign policy.

The disbanding of the Soviet system, has at the same time made globalization possible and marked the disappearance of a tremendous competitor for American power which has then had the temptation to shape a unipolar world under its hegemony. (What has been called “The New World Order” ) In the aftermath of the Soviet disbanding the US find themselves as an “Empire without shadow” (Eric Hobsbawn). Confident in their technological superiority, in their military power, in the benefits given by the dollar system, they have thought that an ” American century” was about to be forthcoming. Convinced to be from this point forward the world’s only superpower, they have pretended to play the role of the “world police”. The neo-conservatives were at the forefront of this project. This was the time Francis Fukuyama thought he could announce the “End of History”, namely the triumph of liberal capitalism and the democracy of human rights as the unsurpassable horizon of our time.

At the end of the 1990s, Gorbachev’s advisor Arbatov declared to the Americans: “We are dealing you the worst blow: we are going to deprive you of your enemy.” Significant words. The disappearance of the Soviet “Evil Empire” threatened to eradicate all ideological legitimization of American hegemony over her allies. This meant that, from then on, the Americans needed to find an alternative enemy, which provided a threat, real or imaginary, that would allow them to establish themselves as the masters of the “New World Order”. It is radical Islam, something they constantly encouraged in previous decades that will play the role of a foil. But in reality, their fundamental objective remains unchanged. This is to prevent, anywhere in the world, the emergence of a rival capable of competing with them and most importantly to control the Heartland, the “global island.”

In his book The Grand Chessboard, published in 1997 Zbigniew Brzezinski enumerates explicitly the “geostrategic imperatives” the US must meet to maintain their global hegemony. Describing a project of “global management” of the world, he warns against the “creation or the emergence of an Eurasian coalition” that “could seek to challenge America’s supremacy.” In 2001, Henry Kissinger was already saying:” America must retain a presence in Asia, and its geopolitical objective must remain to prevent Asia’s coalescence into an unfriendly bloc.” Brzezinski recalled in his turn:” Who controls Eurasia, controls the world.”

To control Eurasia, means, first of of all, adopting a strategy of encirclement of Russia and China. The encirclement of Russia strategy includes the installation of new military bases in Eastern Europe, the establishment of anti missiles defense systems in Poland, Czech Republic and Romania, supporting the accession of Ukraine and Georgia to Nato, and pursuing an aggressive policy aiming to dislocate Russia’s influence in key regions around the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus. In terms of energy supply, this strategy leads to the control of Central Asia’s pipelines – Central Asia being transformed into an American protectorate – encouraging the development of pipelines in the Caspian to bypass Russia and to reach Turkey, as well as limiting as much as possible the access of Russian tankers to the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits. It is within this context that we must put the ” colour revolutions” in Serbia (2000), Georgia (2003), Ukraine (2004) and Kyrgyzstan. Far from being spontaneous movements, these were organized and supported from the outside with the endorsement of the National Endowment for Democracy, a convenient front for the CIA.

The establishment of an “arc of crisis” to destabilize Russia’s traditional sphere of influence in the Caucasus, Afghanistan and Central Asia can only be understood in this context. Using the alleged “War against Terror”: in Afghanistan the US and her allies have set up military bases in the former Soviet republics, including, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. The objective can be summed up in three words: encircle, destabilize, balkanize.

In parallel and simultaneously, they endeavoured to massively expand NATO in Eastern Europe and in the Balkans as far as the Russian border, even within the former Soviet Union. As of Sep 11 2001, President George Bush took a stand in favor of ” a large NATO from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea ” to pave the way from the Caspian and the Black Sea. That is to go from a relatively static structure to an expeditionary model of neocolonial interventions in all directions, global geostrategic centers of gravity slipping, thus, to the Middle East and Asia.

Maintaining NATO has two other goals. The first one is to continue to dissuade the EU to build up a a common and autonomous European defense force. Americans have always considered that European defense meant to them “the set up of NATO’s European pillar”. The second goal is to weaken the relations between Russia and Western Europe. Germany is particularly targeted, given the extent of its technological, energy and economical exchange with Russia. In this project, the EU becomes a simple American bridgehead in Eurasia.

In Middle East, where they are facing serious challenges due to the instability of the region, the failure of their military interventions and the growing isolation of their unswerving Israeli ally, the US are developing an aggressive strategy to counter the rise of Iran, which worries them because of its energy resources, its privileged relationship with China and Russia, and its increasing influence in Iraq and in the Gulf countries where there are significant Shiite minorities. Finally, they are currently engaged in a spectacular return to Africa, for two reasons, to counterbalance China’s influence and to take into account the growing importance of Africa in terms of global energy supplies.

To develop this aggressive policy, the US are not short of technological and financial means. Despite their financial difficulties and their exceptional deficits, their military budget, which is constantly increasing, is now close to $700 billion, a colossal amount, and equivalent to more than 40% of all military budgets combined in the world.

However, the question arises whether the United States have not reached the limits of their Imperial expansion capacity. Their domestic issues worsen. The dollar system, which they capitalize on, teeters on the brink. The global financial crisis that started there, back in 2008 hit them with full force. Their trade gap and the public debt have reached an all time high.

In Russia, meanwhile, Vladimir Putin, who clearly perceived their intentions, clearly broke from the catastrophic era under Boris Yeltsin, who had sanctified the omnipotence of the “oligarchs.”

The most recent events related to the civil war in Syria have, again, highlighted the importance of geopolitics. The extreme acumen of Vladimir Putin and his Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov against Barack Obama’s indecisiveness and Francois Holland naivety, has been symptomatic. With its intervention in the Syrian affair, Russia has regained its role as a major world power and thus showed that it (Russia) is not a negligible party in international affairs, but that it will have to be reckoned with in the future.

The “unipolar moment” has therefore not lasted for 10 years. The Americans, who now only represent 5% of the world population, have overestimated their strength. The engulfing of their troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, their domestic issues, their abyssal deficits, the instability of the dollar system and the world financial crisis have imposed limits on them. It quickly becomes apparent that they will not rule the world unchallenged. The History, which Fukuyama announced the end has already returned.

A multipolar world is emerging on the back of China’s rapid surge, followed by India, Brazil and even Iran. Emerging economies are growing dramatically. Their share in the world’s gross domestic product in purchasing power parity has gone from 36% in 1980 to 45% in 2008 and should reach 51% in 2014.

The US Eurasian strategy has led, as a reaction, to a significant rapprochement between Russia and China, which has materialized within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, founded in June 2001, which also includes four Central Asia countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) while Iran, Mongolia, India and Afghanistan participate as observers.

We know that in recent years, Iran has strengthened its relationship with China and Russia. This pragmatic alliance materializes today utilizing mutual geopolitical supports that have led some observers to consider the possibility to witness, in the coming years, the rise of a kind of “new Mongol Empire”. Between 1206 and 1294, Genghis Khan’s Turkish-Mongol Empire had spread throughout Central Asia before breaking up into four blocks. Today The SCO, whose main goal is to counter US influence in Central Asia, is associated again with Russia, China and Iran, three different countries, yet forming a real community of interests which represents 1.5 billion people. The big difference with the former Mongol Empire however, is that today Iran sees Turkey as regional rival power.

Since the end of the Soviet system, we have entered in an interregnum – a Zwischenzeit. The former Nomos of the Earth is gone but the contours of a new Nomos can only be speculated upon. The actual big world conflict is the one that opposes the Eurasian continental power to the American thalassocracy. The main question is whether we are going towards an unipolar world, an universum, or towards a multipolar world, a pluriversum.

The problem is that Europeans are rarely aware of this. Americans may have many faults but there is something we cannot deny them, they are aware of the global stakes and to try to think the world to come. In Russia and China too, they think the world to come. The Europeans, they don’t think. They only care about the present moment. They live under the horizon of fate, with institutions that condemn them to powerlessness and paralysis. Europe lives in a state of weightlessness. Facing an unprecedented moral crisis, the problem of immigration, an ageing population, economic offshoring and global competition. It appears Europe cannot defend its place in a globalized world. Bearing an identity that she (Europe) cannot anymore define, haunted by the secret desire to withdraw itself/ herself from History – thus running the risk of becoming the object of other’s history – thinking men are everywhere of the same disposition. Europe is now ” poor-in-world” (Heidegger). She (Europe) seems exhausted, beset by lassitude that leads to not wanting anything. Geopolitics of powerlessness? Rise of insignificance? The Euro banknotes are like its reflection: they only represent emptiness.

In the past, geopolitics applied its constraints mainly at state level, the same states that seem to have entered an irreversible crisis, at least in the western hemisphere. Now, it depends on the logic of continents which has long been hidden behind the disorderly conducts of the states but that is now more fundamental than ever. It (Geopolitics) helps to think in terms not only of countries but also of continents (Jordis Von Lohausen). The Sea against the Land, now it is US against the “rest of the world”, and first against the Eurasian and European continental bloc. In this sense, the collapse of the Soviet system has clarified things. There are now only two possible positions: either being on the side of the American sea power or being on the side of the Eurasian continental power. I’m with the latter.

——————–

De Benoist, Alain. “Geopolitics Today.” Speech delivered at “The End of the Present World: The Post-American Century and Beyond Conference”, held in Central London, UK, 12 October 2013. Text of transcript retrieved from <http://www.endofthepresentworld.com/p/alain-de-benoist-geopolitics-today_21.html >.

Note: See the Romanian translation of this article (“Geopolitica azi”, Estica, 3 September 2014) which is based off of our own publication here: <http://www.estica.eu/article/geopolitica-azi/ >.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under New European Conservative

Interview on the Fourth Political Theory – Morgan

The Fourth Political Theory: An Interview with John Morgan by Natella Speranskaya

 

Natella Speranskaya (NS): How did you discover the Fourth Political Theory? And how would you evaluate its chances of becoming a major ideology of the 21st century?

John Morgan (JM): I have been interested in the work of Prof. Dugin since I first discovered English translations of his writings at the Arctogaia website in the late 1990s. So I had already heard of the Fourth Political Theory even before my publishing house, Arktos, agreed to publish his book of the same name. In editing the translation of the book, I became intimately familiar with Prof. Dugin’s concept. According to him, the Fourth Political Theory is more of a question than an ideology at this point. It is easier to identify what it is not, which is opposed to everything represented by liberalism, and which will transcend the failures of Marxism and fascism. In recent decades, many people have been heralding the “death of ideology.” Carl Schmitt predicted this, saying that the last battle would take place between those who wish to reject the role of politics in civilization, and those who understand the need for it. The death of ideology, I believe, is simply the exhaustion of those political systems that are founded on liberalism. This does not mean that politics itself has ended, but only that a new system is required. The Fourth Political Theory offers the best chance to take what is best from the old ideologies and combine them with new ideas, to create the new vision that will carry humanity into the next age. Although we can’t say with certainty what that will look like, as of yet. But it should be obvious to everyone that the current ideology has already run its course.

NS: Leo Strauss when commenting on the fundamental work of Carl Schmitt The Concept of the Political notes that despite all radical critique of liberalism incorporated in it Schmitt does not follow it through since his critique remains within the scope of liberalism”. “His anti-Liberal tendencies, – claims Strauss, – remain constrained by “systematics of liberal thought” that has not been overcome so far, which – as Schmitt himself admits – “despite all failures cannot be substituted by any other system in today’s Europe. What would you identify as a solution to the problem of overcoming the liberal discourse? Could you consider the Fourth Political Theory by Alexander Dugin to be such a solution? The theory that is beyond the three major ideologies of the 20th century – Liberalism, Communism and Fascism, and that is against the Liberal doctrine.

JM: Yes, definitely. The unsustainably and intellectual poverty of liberalism in Europe, and also America, is becoming more apparent with each passing day. Clearly a new solution is needed. Prof. Dugin’s Fourth Political Theory, as he has explained in his book of the same title, is more of a question than an ideology at this point, and it is up to those of us who are attempting to defy unipolar hegemony to determine what it will be. So, yes, we need a new ideology, even if we cannot yet explain exactly what it will be in practice. I think Prof. Dugin’s idea of taking Heidegger’s Dasein as our watchword is a good one, because we are so entrenched in the liberal mindset – even those of us who want to overcome it – that it is only be re-engaging with the pure essence of the reality of the world around us that we will find a way out of it. The representational, virtual reality of postmodernism which surrounds most of us on a daily basis has conditioned us to only think about liberalism on its own terms. Only by renewing our contact with the real, non-representational world, and by disregarding all previous concepts and labels, can we find the seeds for a new way of apprehending it.

NS: Do you agree that today there are “two Europes”: the one – the liberal one (incorporating the idea of “open society”, human rights, registration of same-sex marriages, etc.) and the other Europe (“a different Europe”) – politically engaged, thinker, intellectual, spiritual, the one that considers the status quo and domination of liberal discourse as a real disaster and the betrayal of the European tradition. How would you evaluate chances of victory of a “different Europe” over the ”first” one?

JM: Speaking as an American outsider, I absolutely see two Europes. The surface Europe is one that has turned itself into a facsimile of America – the free market, democracy, multiculturalism, secularism, pop culture, sacrificing genuine identity for fashions, and so on. The other Europe is much more difficult to see, but I have the good fortune of having many friends who dwell within it. This is the undercurrent that has refused to accept the Americanization of Europe, and which also rejects the liberal hegemony in all its forms. They remain true to the ancient spirit of Europe’s various peoples and cultures, while also dreaming of a new Europe that will be strong, independent and creative once again. We see this in the New Right, in the identitarian movement, and in the many nationalist groups across Europe that have sprung up in recent years. As of now, their influence is small, but as the global situation gets worse, I believe they will gain the upper hand, as more Europeans will become open to the idea of finding new solutions and new ways of living, disassociated from the collapsing hegemonic order. So I estimate their chances as being very good. Although they must begin acting now, even before the “collapse,” if they are to rescue their identities from oblivion, since the “real” Europe is fast being driven out of existence by the forces of liberalism.

NS: “There is nothing more tragic than a failure to understand the historical moment we are currently going through” – notes Alain de Benoist – “this is the moment of postmodern globalization”. The French philosopher emphasizes the significance of the issue of a new Nomos of the Earth or a way of establishing international relations. What do you think the fourth Nomos will be like? Would you agree that the new Nomos is going to be Eurasian and multipolar (transition from universum to pluriversum)?

JM: Yes, I do agree. In terms of what it will look like, see my answer to question 4 in the first set of questions.

NS: Do you agree that the era of the white European human race has ended, and the future will be predetermined by Asian cultures and societies?

JM: If you mean the era of the domination of White Europeans (although of course that comprises many diverse and unique identities in itself), and those of European descent such as in America, over the entire world, then yes, that era is coming to an end, and has been, gradually, since the First World War. As for the fate of White Europeans in our own homelands, that is also an open question, given the lack of genuine culture and diminishing reproductive rates of Whites around the world, coupled with large-scale non-White immigration into our homelands. While I welcome the end of White hegemony, which overall hasn’t been good for anyone, most especially for Whites themselves, as an American of European descent I do fear the changes that are taking place in our lands. As the thinkers of the “New Right” such as Alain de Benoist have said, if we stand for the preservation of the distinct identities of all peoples and cultures, then we must also defend the identities of the various European peoples and their offshoots. I would like to see European peoples, including in America, develop the will to resist this onslaught and re-establish our lands as the true cradles of our cultures and identities. Of course, in order to do this, White peoples must first get their souls back and return to their true cultures, rejecting multiculturalism and the corporate consumer culture that has grown up in tandem with neo-colonialism, both of which victimize Whites just as much as non-Whites. Unfortunately, few White Europeans around the world have come to this understanding thus far, but I hope that will change.

As for whether the future belongs to Asians, that I cannot say. Certainly India and China are among the most prominent rising powers. But at the same time, they face huge domestic challenges, demographically and otherwise. Whether they will be able to sustain the momentum they have now is uncertain. Having lived in India for the last four years, while it is a land I have come to love, I have difficulty seeing India emerging as a superpower anytime soon. The foundations just aren’t there yet. Likewise, I find it troubling that India and China continue to understand “progress” in terms of how closely they mimic the American lifestyle and its values. Until Asian (and other) nations can find a way to develop a sustainable and stable social order, and until they forge a new and unique identity for themselves in keeping with their traditions that is disconnected from the Western model, I don’t see them overtaking the so-called “First World.”

NS: Do you consider Russia to be a part of Europe or do you accept the view that Russia and Europe represent two different civilizations?

JM: As a longtime student of Dostoevsky, I have always believed that Russia is a unique civilization in its own right. Although clearly Russia shares cultural affinities and linkages with Europe that cannot be denied, and which bring it closer to Europe than to Asia, it retains a character that is purely its own. I have always admired this aspect of Russia. Whereas Western Europe sold its soul in the name of material prosperity in its rush to embrace the supposed benefits of the Industrial Revolution and modernity as quickly as possible, Russia developed its own unique path to modernity, and has always fought hard to maintain its independence. It seems to me, as a foreigner, that as a result, Russia retains a much stronger connection to the spiritual and the intangible aspects of life than in the West, as well as a more diverse, as opposed to purely utilitarian, outlook. The German Conservative Revolutionaries understood this, which is why they sought to tilt Germany more towards Russia politically and culturally, and away from England and the United States (such as Arthur Moeller van den Bruck advocated). Similarly, in today’s world, New Rightists, traditionalists and so forth would do well to look toward Russia and its traditions for inspiration.

NS: Contemporary ideologies are based on the principle of secularity. Would you predict the return of religion, the return of sacrality? If so, in what form? Do you consider it to be Islam, Christianity, Paganism or any other forms of religion?

JM: I think we already see this happening to an extent. In the nineteenth and for most of the twentieth century, the prevailing view was skepticism and scientism, with religion primarily relegated to its moralistic aspects. But beginning in the 1960s in North America and Western Europe, we have seen a renewal of interest in religion and the transcendental view of life on a large scale. This development was, of course, presaged by the traditionalist philosophers, such as René Guénon and Julius Evola, who understood modernity perhaps better than any other Europeans of their time. But unfortunately, this revival in practice has tended toward New Age modes of thought, or else mere identity politics and exotericism as we see with the rise of fundamentalist Christianity in America, rather than in genuinely traditional spirituality. As such, most spirituality in the Western nations today is an outgrowth of modernity, rather than something that can be used to oppose and transcend it. But the fact that more traditionalist books are being made available, and that we see more groups dedicated to traditional spirituality and esotericism than ever before, is a promising trend.

As for the form that this revival will ultimately take, that depends on the location. For much of the world, of course, people are likely to return to and revitalize the traditions that grew out of their own civilizations, which is as it should be. We already see efforts in this direction at work in some parts of the so-called “Third World.” But in Western Europe, and especially America, it is a more difficult question. The Catholic Church today doesn’t hold much promise for those of a traditional mindset. Guénon himself abandoned his native Catholicism and began to practice Islam because he had come to believe that Catholicism was no longer a useful vehicle for Tradition. And of course today, things are much worse than they were in Guénon’s time. Protestantism, besides being counter-traditional, is in even poorer shape these days. And while I am very sympathetic to those who are seeking to revive the pre-Christian traditions of Europe, or adopt traditions from other cultures, this ultimately isn’t a good strategy for those who are engaged in sociopolitical activity alongside spiritual activities. The vast majority of Europeans and Americans still identify with Christianity in some form, and this will need to be taken into account by any new political or metapolitical movement that emerges there.

In America, unlike Europe, we have no real tradition of our own. This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because our culture has always been tolerant of allowing and even embracing the presence of alternative forms of spirituality. (Interest in Hinduism, for example, began in America already in the Nineteenth century with such figures as Thoreau and Emerson, and with the arrival of Hindu teachers from India such as Protap Chunder Mozoomdar and Swami Vivekananda.) But it is also a curse because there is no particular, universal spiritual tradition that underlies American civilization which can be revived. Christianity remains dominant, but certainly the popular forms of it that exist in America today are unacceptable from a traditional standpoint. At the same time, most Americans are unlikely to accept any form of spirituality which they perceive to be different from or in opposition to Christianity. So it is a difficult question.

The best solution may be to exclude advocating any specific religion from our efforts in the West for the time being, and leave such decisions to the individual. Of course, we should encourage everyone who supports us to integrate the traditional worldview into their own lives, in whatever form that may take, and to oppose secularism on the grounds of the resacralization of culture. Perhaps once the process of the collapse of the current global and cultural order is further along, and as the peoples’ faith in the illusions of progress, materialism and nationalism inculcated by modernity are shattered, the new form or forms of religion that must take root in the West will become more readily apparent.

 

—————–

Morgan, John. “The Fourth Political Theory: An interview with John Morgan.” Interview by Natella Speranskaya. Euro-Synergies, 3 June 2013. <http://euro-synergies.hautetfort.com/archive/2013/05/29/john-morg.html >. (See this article in PDF format here: The Fourth Political Theory – An Interview with John Morgan by Natella Speranskaya).

Note: See also the closely related interview with John Morgan on the Theory of the Multipolar World: <https://neweuropeanconservative.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/theory-of-multipolar-world-morgan/ >.

 

1 Comment

Filed under New European Conservative

German Conservative Revolution – Tudor

The German Conservative Revolution & its Legacy

By Lucian Tudor

 

Translations: Suomi, Română

During the years between World War I and the establishment of the Third Reich, the political, economic, and social crises which Germany suddenly experienced as a result of its defeat in the First World War gave rise to a movement known as the “Conservative Revolution,” which is also commonly referred to as the “Conservative Revolutionary Movement,” with its members sometimes called “Revolutionary Conservatives” or even “Neoconservatives.”

The phrase “Conservative Revolution” itself was popularized as a result of a speech in 1927 by the famous poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal, who was a Catholic cultural conservative and monarchist.[1] Here Hofmannsthal declared, “The process of which I am speaking is nothing less than a conservative revolution on such a scale as the history of Europe has never known. Its object is form, a new German reality, in which the whole nation will share.”[2]

Although these phrases give the impression that the Conservative Revolution was composed of people who shared the same worldview, this was in fact not the case because the thinkers and leaders of the Conservative Revolution often had disagreements. Furthermore, despite the fact that the philosophical ideas produced by this “new conservatism” influenced German National Socialism and also had links to Fascism, it is incorrect to assume that the people belonging to it are either Fascist or “proto-Nazi.” Although some Revolutionary Conservatives praised Italian Fascism and some also eventually joined the National Socialist Movement (although many did not), overall their worldviews were distinct from both of these political groups.

It is difficult to adequately summarize the views held by the Revolutionary Conservatives due to the fact that many of them held views that stood in contradistinction to certain views held by others in the same movement. What they generally had in common was an awareness of the importance of Volk (this term may be translated as “folk,” “nation,” “ethnicity,” or “people”) and culture, the idea of Volksgemeinschaft (“folk-community”), and a rejection of Marxism, liberalism, and democracy (particularly parliamentary democracy). Ideas that also were common among them was a rejection of the linear concept of history in favor of the cyclical concept, a conservative and non-Marxist form of socialism, and the establishment of an authoritarian elite. [3]

In brief, the movement was made of Germans who had conservative tendencies of some sort but who were disappointed with the state into which Germany had been put by its loss of World War I and sought to advance ideas that were both conservative and revolutionary in nature.

In order to obtain an adequate idea as to the nature of the Conservative Revolution and its outlook, it is best to examine the major intellectuals and their thought. The following sections will provide a brief overview of the most important Revolutionary Conservative intellectuals and their key philosophical contributions.

The Visionaries of a New Reich

The most noteworthy Germans who had an optimistic vision of the establishment of a “Third Reich” were Stefan George, Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, and Edgar Julius Jung. Stefan George, unlike the other two, was not a typical intellectual but a poet. George expressed his Revolutionary Conservative vision of the “new Reich” largely in poetry, and this poetry did in fact reach and affect many young German nationalists and even intellectuals; and for this he is historically notable.[4] But on the intellectual level, Arthur Moeller van den Bruck (who popularized the term “Third Reich”) and Edgar Julius Jung had a deeper philosophical impact.

1. Arthur Moeller van den Bruck

Moeller van den Bruck was a cultural historian who became politically active at the end of the First World War. He was a founding member of the conservative “June Club,” of which he became the ideological leader.[5] In Der preussische Stil (“The Prussian Style”) he described what he believed to be the Prussian character, whose key characteristic was the “will to the state,” and in Das Recht der jungen Volker (“The Right of Young Peoples”) he presented the idea of “young peoples” (including Germany, Russia, and America) and “old peoples” (including England and France), advocating an alliance between the “younger” nations with more vitality to defeat the hegemony of Britain and France.[6]

In 1922, he contributed, along with Heinrich von Gleichen and Max Hildebert Boehm, to the book Die neue Front (“The New Front”), a manifesto of the Jungkonservativen (“Young-conservatives”).[7] A year later, Moeller van den Bruck produced his most famous work which contained a comprehensive exposition of his worldview, Das Dritte Reich, translated into English as Germany’s Third Empire.[8]

In Germany’s Third Empire, Moeller made a division between four political stances: Revolutionary, Liberal, Reactionary, and Conservative. Revolutionaries, which especially included Communists, were unrealistic in the sense that they believed they could totally brush aside all past values and traditions. Liberalism was criticized for its radical individualism, which essentially amounts to egotism and disintegrates nations and traditions. Reactionaries, on the other hand, were criticized for having the unrealistic position of desiring a complete revival of past forms, believing that everything in past society was positive. The Conservative, Moeller argued, was superior to the former three because “Conservatism seeks to preserve a nation’s values, both by conserving traditional values, as far as these still possess the power of growth, and by assimilating all new values which increase a nation’s vitality.”[9] Moeller’s “Conservative” was essentially a Revolutionary Conservative.

Moeller rejected Marxism because of its rationalism and materialism, which he argued were flawed ideologies that failed to understand the better side of human societies and life. “Socialism begins where Marxism ends,” he declared.[10] Moeller advocated a corporatist German socialism which recognized the importance of nationality and refused class warfare.

In terms of politics, Moeller rejected republicanism and asserted that true democracy was about the people taking a share in determining its destiny. He rejected monarchy as outdated and anticipated a new form of government in which a strong leader who was connected to the people would emerge. “We need leaders who feel themselves at one with the nation, who identify the nation’s fate with their own.” [11] This leader would establish a “Third Empire, a new and final Empire,” which would solve Germany’s political problems (especially its population problem).

2. Edgar Julius Jung

Another great vision of a Third Reich came from Edgar Julius Jung, a politically active intellectual who wrote the large book Die Herrschaft der Minderwertigen, translated into English as The Rule of the Inferiour,[12] which has sometimes been called the “bible of neo-conservatism.”[13] This book presented a devastating critique of liberalism and combined ideas from Spann, Schmitt, Pareto, and other thinkers.

Liberal democracy was rejected by Jung as the rule of masses which were manipulated by demagogues and also the rule of money because it had inherent tendencies towards plutocracy. The French Revolutionary ideas of “liberty, equality, fraternity” were all rejected as corrosive influences harmful to society and sources of individualism, which Jung viewed as a key cause of decay. Jung also rejected Marxism as a corrupt product of the French Revolution. [14] The Conservative Revolution for Jung was, in his words, the

Restoration of all those elementary laws and values without which man loses his ties with nature and God and without which he is incapable of building up a true order. In the place of equality there will be inherent standards, in the place of social consciousness a just integration into the hierarchical society, in the place of mechanical election an organic elite, in the place of bureaucratic leveling the inner responsibility of genuine self-government, in the place of mass prosperity the rights of a proud people. [15]

In the place of liberal and Marxist forms, Jung envisioned the establishment of a New Reich which would use corporatist economics (related to the medieval guild system), would be organized on a federalist basis, would be animated by Christian spirituality and the power of the Church, and would be led by an authoritarian monarchy and an elite composed of selected qualified members. In Jung’s words, “The state as the highest order of organic community must be an aristocracy; in the last and highest sense: the rule of the best. Even democracy was founded with this claim.”[16]

He also critiqued the materialistic concept of race as “biological materialism” and asserted instead the primacy of the cultural-spiritual entity (it was on this basis, rather than on biology, that the Jewish Problem was to be dealt with). Furthermore, he rejected nationalism in the normal sense of the term, supporting the concept of a federalist, supra-national, pan-European Empire, while still recognizing the reality and importance of Volk and the separateness of ethnic groups. In fact, Jung believed that the new Reich should be formed on “an indestructible volkisch foundation from which the volkisch struggle can take form.”[17]

Edgar Jung, however, was not content with merely writing about his ideas; he had great political ambitions and actively worked with parties and conservatives who agreed with him in the 1920s up until 1934.[18] The necessity of battle was already part of Jung’s philosophy: “If the German people see that, among them, combatants still live, then they become aware also of combat as the highest form of existence. The German destiny calls for men who master it. For, world-history makes the man.” [19]

During his political activity, he came to dislike the National Socialist movement due to a personal dislike for Hitler as well as his view that National Socialism was a product of modernity and was ideologically linked with Marxism and liberalism. Jung was highly active in his opposition to the NSDAP and was eventually responsible for writing Papen’s Marburg address which criticized Hitler’s government in 1934, which resulted in Jung’s death on the Night of the Long Knives.[20]

Theorists of Decline: Spengler and Klages

1. Oswald Spengler

The most famous theorist of decline is Oswald Spengler, the “doctor-prophet” who predicted the fall of the Western High Culture in his magnum opus, The Decline of the West. According to Spengler, every High Culture has its own “soul” (this refers to the essential character of a Culture) and goes through predictable cycles of birth, growth, fulfillment, decline, and demise which resemble that of the life of a plant.[21] To quote Spengler:

A Culture is born in the moment when a great soul awakens out of the proto-spirituality of ever-childish humanity, and detaches itself, a form from the formless, a bounded and mortal thing from the boundless and enduring. It blooms on the soil of an exactly-definable landscape, to which plant-wise it remains bound. It dies when the soul has actualized the full sum of its possibilities in the shape of peoples, languages, dogmas, arts, states, sciences, and reverts into the proto-soul. [22]

There is an important distinction in this theory between Kultur (“Culture”) and Zivilisation (“Civilization”). Culture refers to the beginning phase of a High Culture which is marked by rural life, religiosity, vitality, will-to-power, and ascendant instincts, while Civilization refers to the later phase which is marked by urbanization, irreligion, purely rational intellect, mechanized life, and decadence. Spengler particularly focused on three High Cultures which he made comparisons between: the Magian, the Classical, and the present Western High Culture. He held the view that the West, which was in its later Civilization phase, would soon enter a final imperialistic and “Caesarist” stage – a stage which, according to Spengler, marks the final flash before the end of a High Culture.[23]

Perhaps Spengler’s most important contribution to the Conservative Revolution, however, is his theory of “Prussian Socialism” which he expressed in Prussianism and Socialism, and which formed the basis of his view that conservatives and socialists should unite. In this short book he argued that the Prussian character, which was the German character par excellence, was essentially socialist. For Spengler, true socialism was primarily a matter of ethics rather than economics.[24]

This ethical, Prussian socialism meant the development and practice of work ethic, discipline, obedience, a sense of duty to the greater good and the state, self-sacrifice, and the possibility of attaining any rank by talent. Prussian socialism was differentiated from Marxism and liberalism. Marxism was not true socialism because it was materialistic and based on class conflict, which stood in contrast with the Prussian ethics of the state. Also in contrast to Prussian socialism was liberalism and capitalism, which negated the idea of duty, practiced a “piracy principle,” and created the rule of money.[25]

2. Ludwig Klages

Ludwig Klages was a less influential, although still noteworthy, theorist of decline who focused not on High Cultures, but on the decline of Life (which stands in contrast to mere Existence). Klages’s theory, named “Biocentrism,” posited a dichotomy between Seele (“Soul”) and Geist (“Spirit”); two forces in human life that were in a psychological battle with each other. Soul may be understood as pure Life, vital impulse, and feeling, while Spirit may be understood as abstract intellect, mechanical and conceptual thought, reason, and Will.[26]

According to Biocentric theory, in primordial pre-historic times, man’s Soul and body were united and thus humans lived ecstatically in accordance to the principle of Life. Over time, human Life was interfered with by Spirit, which caused humans to use conceptual (as opposed to symbolic) thought and rational intellect, thus beginning the severing of body and Soul. In this theory, the more human history progresses, the more Life is limited and ruined by the Spirit in a long but ultimately unstoppable process which ends in completely mechanized, over-civilized, and soul-less people. “Already, the machine has liberated itself from man’s control,” wrote Klages, “it is no longer man’s servant: in reality, man himself is now being enslaved by the machine.”[27]

This final stage is marked by such things as a complete disconnection from Nature, the destruction of the natural environment, massive race-mixing, and a lack of true Life, which is predicted to finally end in the death of mankind due to damage to the natural world. Klages declared, “. . . the ultimate destruction of all seems to be a foregone conclusion.”[28]

Spann and the Unified State

Othmar Spann was, from 1919 to 1938, a professor at the University of Vienna in Austria who was influential but who, despite his enthusiastic support for National Socialism, was removed by the Third Reich government due to a few ideological disagreements.[29] He was the exponent of a theory known as “Universalism” (which is entirely different from universalism in the normal sense of the term). His Universalist view of economics, politics, society, and science was expounded in numerous books, the most important of which was his most memorable work, Der wahre Staat (“The True State”).[30]

Spann’s Universalism was a corporatist theory which rejected individualism. To understand Spann’s rejection of individualism it is necessary to understand what “individualism” is because different and even contradictory definitions are given to that term; individualism here refers to the concept that the individual is absolute and no supra-individual reality exists (and therefore, society is nothing more than a collection of atoms). The reader must be aware that Spann did not make a complete denial of the individual, but rather a complete denial of individualist ideology.[31]

According to Universalist theory, the individual exists only within a particular community or society; the whole (the totality of society) precedes the parts (individuals) because the parts do not truly exist independent from the whole.[32] Spann wrote, “It is the fundamental truth of all social science . . . that it is not the individuals that are the truly real, but the whole, and that the individuals have reality and existence only so far as they are members of the whole.”[33]

Furthermore, society and the State were not entirely separable, because from the State comes the rights of the individual, family, and other groups. Liberalism, capitalism, democracy, and Marxian socialism were all rejected by Spann as individualist or materialist and corrupt products of French Revolutionary ideas. Whereas in past societies the individual was integrated into community, modern life with its liberalism had atomized society. According to Spann, “Mankind can reconcile itself to poverty because it will be and remain poor forever. But to the loss of estate, existential insecurity, uprootedness, and nothingness, the masses of affected people can never reconcile themselves.”[34] As a solution to modern decay, Spann envisioned the formation of a religious Christian, corporatist, hierarchical, and authoritarian state similar to the First Reich (the Holy Roman Empire).[35]

A lesser-known Revolutionary Conservative academic, Hans Freyer, also held similar views to Spann and challenged the ideas and results of the “Enlightenment,” particularly secularism, the idea of universal reason, the concept of a universal humanity, urbanization, and democratization. Against modern society corrupted by these things, Freyer posed the idea of a “totally integrated society” which would be completed by a powerful, non-democratic state. Culture, Volk, race, and religion would form the basis of society and state in order to restore a sense of community and common values. Freyer also joined the National Socialists believing that the movement would realize his aims but later became disappointed with it because of what he saw as its repressive nature during the Third Reich.[36]

Zehrer and Elitist Theory

Hans Zehrer was a notable contributor to and editor of the “neoconservative” magazine Die Tat, and thus eventually also a founding member of a group of intellectuals known as the Tat-Kreis (“Tat-Circle”). Zehrer held the view that “all movements began as intellectual movements of intelligent, well-qualified minorities which, because of the discrepancy between that which is and that which should be, seized the initiative.”[37] His theory was somewhat related to Vilfredo Pareto’s concept of a “circulation of elites” in that he believed that intellectuals, in most cases gifted and intelligent men emerging from any social class, were crucial in determining the succeeding social order and its ideas.

In Germany at that time, the middle class, which made up a large segment of society and of which Zehrer was a member, was facing a number of economic problems. It was Zehrer’s dream that a new political order could be established by young intellectuals of the middle class which he attempted to reach. This new order would result in the abolishment of the insecure Weimar republic and the establishment of an authoritarian elite made up largely of such intellectuals. This elite would not be subject to control by the masses and would choose its own members based on the criterion of personal quality and ability without regard to social class or wealth.[38]

Zehrer’s vision was not fulfilled due to a series of failures to establish a new state by a “revolution from above” as well because of the rise of the NSDAP, which he attempted to influence in the early 1930s despite his disdain for party rule and, after being unsuccessful, retreated from political activity. However, although most Revolutionary Conservative thinkers did not envision an elite composed almost solely of intellectuals, it is notable that they shared with Zehrer the view that an authoritarian elite should have its membership open to qualified individuals of all classes and ranks.[39]

Sombart and Conservative Socialism

Socialists with nationalist and conservative leanings such as Paul Lensch, Johann Plenge, Werner Sombart, Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, and Oswald Spengler to the rise of a new, national, conservative socialism. Of course, it should be remembered that non-Marxist socialism already had a long history in Germany, including such people as the Kathedersozialisten (“socialists of the chair”), Adolf Stöcker, and Ferdinand Tönnies.[40] Werner Sombart himself began as a Marxist, but later became disillusioned with Marxist theory, which he realized was destructive of the human spirit and organic community much in the same way capitalism was.

Sombart is for the most part remembered for his work on the nature of capitalism, especially his works linking the materialistic character of the Jews with capitalism. The obsession with profit, ruthless business practices, indifference to quality, and “the merely rationalizing and abstracting characteristics of the trader” which were key products of capitalism, destroy any “community of labor” and disintegrate bonds between people which were more common in medieval society.[41] Sombart wrote, “Before capitalism could develop, the natural man had to be changed out of all recognition, and a rationalistically minded mechanism introduced in his stead. There had to be a transvaluation of all economic values.”[42]

Sombart’s major objections to Marxism consisted of the fact that Marxism aimed to suppress all religious feelings as well as national feelings and the values of rooted, indigenous culture; Marxism aimed not at a higher mankind but mere base “happiness.” In contrast to Marxism and capitalism, Sombart advocated a German Socialism in which economic policies would be “directed in a corporative manner,” exploitation would be ended, and hierarchy and the welfare of the whole state would be upheld.[43]

Radicalism and Nationalism: Jünger and Niekisch

1. Ernst Jünger

Ernst Jünger is well-known for his work on what he saw as the positive effects of warfare and battle, with himself having experienced these in World War I. Jünger rejected the bourgeois civilization of comfort and security, which he saw as weak and dying, in favor of the hardening and “magnificent” experience of action and adventure in war, which would transform a man of the bourgeois world into a “warrior.” The warrior type battled “against the eternal Utopia of peace, the pursuit of happiness, and perfection.”[44] Jünger believed that the crisis and restlessness of Germans after the World War was essentially a good thing.

In his book Der Arbeiter, the “warrior” was followed by the “worker,” a new type which would become dominant after the end of the bourgeois order. Jünger had realized that modern technology was changing the world; the individual man was losing his individuality and freedom in a mechanized world. Thus he anticipated a society in which people would accept anonymity in the masses and obedient service to the state; the population would undergo “total mobilization.”[45] To quote Jünger:

Total Mobilization is far less consummated than it consummates itself; in war and peace, it expresses the secret and inexorable claim to which our life in the age of masses and machines subjects us. It thus turns out that each individual life becomes, ever more unambiguously, the life of a worker; and that, following the wars of knights, kings, and citizens, we now have wars of workers. The first great twentieth-century conflict has offered us a presentiment of both their rational structure and their mercilessness.[46]

Ernst Jünger’s acceptance of technology in the “worker” stage stands somewhat in contrast to the position taken by his brother, Friedrich Georg Jünger, who wrote critiques of modern technological civilization (although Ernst would later in life agree with this view).[47] Ernst Jünger later changed in his attitudes during World War II, and afterwards nearly inverted his entire worldview, praising peace and individualism; a change which had not come without criticism from the Right.[48]

2. Ernst Niekisch

Another notable radical nationalist in the Conservative Revolution was Ernst Niekisch, who began as a Communist but eventually turned to a seemingly paradoxical mixture of German nationalism and Russian communism: National Bolshevism. In accordance with this new doctrine, Niekisch advocated an alliance between Soviet Russia and Germany in order to overcome the Versailles Treaty as well as to counter the power of the capitalist and anti-nationalist Western nations. However, this deviant faction, in competition with both Communists and anti-Communist nationalists, remained an unsuccessful minority.[49]

Political Theory: Schmitt and Haushofer

1. Carl Schmitt

Carl Schmitt was a notable Catholic philosopher of politics and jurist who was a major influence on political thought and who also supported the Third Reich government after its formation. His most famous book was The Concept of the Political, although he is also the author of numerous other works, including Political Theology and The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy.

The “political,” for Schmitt, was a concept distinct from politics in the normal sense of the term, and was based on the distinction between “friend” and “enemy.” The political exists wherever there exists an enemy, a group which is different and holds different interests, and with whom there is a possibility of conflict. This criterion includes both groups outside of the state as well as within the state, and therefore both inter-state war as well as civil war is taken into account. A population can be unified and mobilized through the political act, in which an enemy is identified and battled.[50]

Schmitt also defended the practice of dictatorship, which he distinguished from “tyranny.” Dictatorship is a form of government which is established when a “state of exception” or emergency exists in which it is necessary to bypass slow parliamentary processes in order to defend the law. According to Schmitt, dictatorial power is present in any case in which a state or leader exercises power independently of the approval of majorities, regardless of whether or not this state is “democratic.” Sovereignty is the power to decide the state of exception, and thus, “sovereign is he who decides on the exception.”[51]

Schmitt further criticized parliamentary or liberal democracy by arguing that the original basis of parliamentarism — which held that the separation of powers and open and rational dialogue between parties would result in a well-functioning state — was in fact negated by the reality of party politics, in which party leaders, coalitions, and interest groups make decisions on policies without a discussion. Another notable argument made by Schmitt was that true democracy is not liberal democracy, in which a plurality of groups are treated equally under a single state, but a unified, homogenous state in which leaders’ decisions express the will of the unified people. In Schmitt’s words, “Every actual democracy rests on the principle that not only are equals equal but unequals will not be treated equally. Democracy requires, therefore, first homogeneity and second – if the need arises elimination or eradication of heterogeneity.”[52]

2. Karl Haushofer

Karl Haushofer was another philosopher of politics who is well-known for his theoretical work on “geopolitics” which aimed to advance Germany’s understanding of international politics and geography. Haushofer asserted that nations not only had the right to defend their land, but also to expand and colonize new lands, especially when experiencing over-population. Germany was one nation in such a position, and was thus entitled to Lebensraum (“living-space”) for its excess population. In order to overcome the domination of the Anglo-American power structure, Haushofer advocated a new system of alliances which particularly involved a German-Russian alliance (thus Haushofer can be viewed as a “Eurasianist”). Haushofer joined the National Socialists but his ideas were eventually rejected by Third Reich geopoliticians because of their hostility to Russia.[53]

The Influences of the Conservative Revolution

The thinkers of the Conservative Revolution had not only an immediate influence in Germany during the early 20th Century, but also a deep and lasting impact on right-wing (and in some cases even left-wing) thought up to the present day. Aside from the obvious influence on National Socialism, and if we assume that Otto Strasser cannot be included as part of the Conservative Revolution, then Strasserism was still clearly influenced by Arthur Moeller van den Bruck and Oswald Spengler.[54]

Francis Parker Yockey, the author of Imperium, also revealed influence from Spengler, Schmitt, Sombart, and Haushofer.[55] Julius Evola, the famous Italian traditionalist, is yet another writer who was affected by Revolutionary Conservative intellectuals, as is clear in such major works as Men Among the Ruins[56] and The Path of Cinnabar.[57]

More recently, the European New Right shows a great amount of inspiration from Revolutionary Conservatives. Armin Mohler, who may himself be considered a part of Germany’s Conservative Revolution as well as the New Right, is well-known for his seminal work Die Konservative Revolution in Deutschland 1918–1932.[58] In addition, Tomislav Sunic also draws many intellectual concepts from Revolutionary Conservatives in his highly important book, Against Democracy and Equality, including Schmitt, Spengler, and to a lesser extent Spann and Sombart. [59]

Yet another intellectual in league with the New Right, Alexander Jacob, is the translator of Jung’s The Rule of the Inferiour and is also responsible for multiple works on various Revolutionary Conservatives.[60] When one considers these facts, it becomes apparent that much can be learned by studying the history and ideas of the German Conservative Revolution. It is a source of philosophical richness which can advance the Conservative position and which leaves its mark on the thought of the Right even today.

 

Notes

[1] On Hofmannsthal’s political views, see Paul Gottfried, “Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Interwar European Right.” Modern Age, Vol. 49, No. 4 (Fall 2007), pp. 508–19.

[2] Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Das Schrifttum als geistiger Raum der Nation (Munich, 1927). Quoted in Klemens von Klemperer, Germany’s New Conservatism; Its History And Dilemma In The Twentieth Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1968), p. 9.

[3] Armin Mohler, Die Konservative Revolution in Deutschland 1918–1932 (Stuttgart: Friedrich Vorwerk Verlag, 1950).

[4] Robert Edward Norton, Secret Germany: Stefan George and his Circle (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2002).

[5] Klemperer, Germany’s New Conservatism, pp. 102–111.

[6] Klemperer, Germany’s New Conservatism, pp. 156–159.

[7] Mohler, Die Konservative Revolution in Deutschland, p. 329.

[8] Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, Germany’s Third Empire (New York: Howard Fertig, 1971).

[9] Ibid. p. 76.

[10] Ibid. p. 245.

[11] Ibid. p. 227.

[12] Edgar Julius Jung, The Rule of the Inferiour, trans. Alexander Jacob (Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellon Press, 1995).

[13] Larry Eugene Jones, “Edgar Julius Jung: The Conservative Revolution in Theory and Practice,” Conference Group for Central European History of the American Historical Association, vol. 21, Issue 02 (June 1988), p. 142.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Edgar J. Jung, Deutsche uber Deutschland (Munich, 1932), p. 380. Quoted in Klemperer, Germany’s New Conservatism, pp. 121–22.

[16] Jung, The Rule of the Inferiour, p. 138.

[17] Jung, “Sinndeutung der konservativen Revolution in Deutschland.” Quoted inJones, “Edgar Julius Jung,” p. 167. For an overview of Jung’s philosophy, see: Jones, “Edgar Julius Jung,” pp. 144–47, 149; Walter Struve, Elites Against Democracy; Leadership Ideals in Bourgeois Political Thought in Germany, 1890-1933 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University, 1973), pp. 317–52; Alexander Jacob’s introduction to Europa: German Conservative Foreign Policy 1870–1940 (Lanham, MD, USA: University Press of America, 2002), pp. 10–16.

[18] Jones, “Edgar Julius Jung,” pp. 145–48.

[19] Jung, The Rule of the Inferiour, p. 368.

[20] Jones, “Edgar Julius Jung,” pp. 147–73.

[21] Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West Vol. 1: Form and Actuality (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1926).

[22] Ibid. p. 106.

[23] Ibid. For a good overview of Spengler’s theory, see Tomislav Sunic, Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right (Third Edition. London: Arktos, 2010), pp. 91–98.

[24] Oswald Spengler, Selected Essays (Chicago: Gateway/Henry Regnery, 1967).

[25] Ibid.

[26] See: Joe Pryce, “On The Biocentric Metaphysics of Ludwig Klages,” Revilo-Oliver.com, 2001, http://www.revilo-oliver.com/Writers/Klages/Ludwig_Klages.html, and Lydia Baer, “The Literary Criticism of Ludwig Klages and the Klages School: An Introduction to Biocentric Thought.” The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Jan., 1941), pp. 91–138.

[27] Ludwig Klages, Cosmogonic Reflections, trans. Joe Pryce, 14 May 2001, http://www.revilo-oliver.com/Writers/Klages/515.html, 453.

[28] Ibid., http://www.revilo-oliver.com/Writers/Klages/100.html, 2.

[29] Klemperer, Germany’s New Conservatism, pp. 204–5.

[30] Othmar Spann, Der Wahre Staat (Leipzig: Verlag von Quelle und Meyer, 1921).

[31] Barth Landheer, “Othmar Spann’s Social Theories.” Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 39, No. 2 (Apr., 1931), pp. 239–48.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Spann, quoted in Ernest Mort, “Christian Corporatism.” Modern Age, Vol. 3, No. 3 (Summer 1959), p. 249. http://www.mmisi.org/ma/03_03/mort.pdf.

[34] Spann, Der wahre Staat, p. 120. Quoted in Sunic, Against Democracy and Equality, pp. 163–64.

[35] Janek Wasserman, Black Vienna, Red Vienna: The Struggle for Intellectual and Political Hegemony in Interwar Vienna, 19181938 (Saint Louis, Missouri: Washington University, 2010), pp. 73–85.

[36] Jerry Z. Muller, The Other God that Failed: Hans Freyer and the Deradicalization of German Conservatism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988). The single book by Hans Freyer to be translated into English is Theory of Objective Mind, trans. Steven Grosby (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1998).

[37] Hans Zehrer, “Die Revolution der Intelligenz,” Tat, XXI (Oct. I929), 488. Quoted in Walter Struve, “Hans Zehrer as a Neoconservative Elite Theorist,” The American Historical Review, Vol. 70, No. 4 (Jul., 1965), p. 1035.

[38] Struve, “Hans Zehrer as a Neoconservative Elite Theorist.”

[39] Ibid.

[40] Klemperer, Germany’s New Conservatism, pp. 57–58. On Tönnies, see Christopher Adair-Toteff, “Ferdinand Tonnies: Utopian Visionary,” Sociological Theory, Vol. 13, No. 1 (Mar., 1995), pp. 58-65.

[41] Alexander Jacob, “German Socialism as an Alternative to Marxism,” The Scorpion, Issue 21. http://thescorp.multics.org/21spengler.html.

[42] Werner Sombart, Economic Life in the Modern Age (New Brunswick, NJ, and London: Transaction Publishers, 2001), p. 129.

[43] Jacob, “German Socialism as an Alternative to Marxism.”

[44] Ernst Jünger, ed., Krieg und Krieger (Berlin, 1930), 59. Quoted in Klemperer, Germany’s New Conservatism, p. 183. See also Ernst Jünger’s Storm of Steel, trans. Basil Greighton (London: Chatto & Windus, 1929) and Copse 125 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1930).

[45] Klemperer, Germany’s New Conservatism, pp. 185–88.

[46] Ernst Jünger, “Total Mobilization,” trans. Joel Golb, in The Heidegger Controversy (Boston: MIT Press, 1992), p. 129. http://anarchistwithoutcontent.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/junger-total-mobilization-booklet.pdf.

[47] Alain de Benoist, “Soldier Worker, Rebel, Anarch: An Introduction to Ernst Jünger,” trans. Greg Johnson, The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 8, no. 3 (Fall 2008), p. 52.

[48] Julius Evola, The Path of Cinnabar (London: Integral Tradition Publishing, 2009), pp. 216–21.

[49] Klemens von Klemperer, “Towards a Fourth Reich? The History of National Bolshevism in Germany,” The Review of Politics, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Apr., 1951), pp. 191–210.

[50] Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political, expanded edition, trans. G. Schwab (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007).

[51] Carl Schmitt, Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty, trans. G. Schwab (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005), p. 1.

[52] Carl Schmitt, The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy, trans. E. Kennedy, (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1985), p. 9.

[53] Andrew Gyorgy, “The Geopolitics of War: Total War and Geostrategy.” The Journal of Politics, Vol. 5, No. 4 (Nov., 1943), pp. 347–62. See also Mohler, Die Konservative Revolution in Deutschland, p. 474.

[54] Otto Strasser, Hitler and I (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1940), pp. 38–39.

[55] Francis Parker Yockey, Imperium: The Philosophy of History and Politics (Sausalito, Cal.: Noontide Press, 1962).

[56] Julius Evola, Men Among the Ruins (Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions, 2002).

[57] Evola, The Path of Cinnabar, pp. 150–55.

[58] See note #3.

[59] See Sunic, Against Democracy and Equality, pp. 75–98, 159–64.

[60] See Jacob, Europa; “German Socialism as an Alternative to Marxism”; Introduction to Political Ideals by Houston Stewart Chamberlain (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 2005).

 

—————–

Tudor, Lucian. “The Conservative Revolution of Germany & its Legacy.” Counter-Currents Publishing, 14 August 2012. <http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/08/the-german-conservative-revolution-and-its-legacy/ >.

 

1 Comment

Filed under New European Conservative

Crisis of Democracy – Benoist

“The Current Crisis of Democracy” by Alain de Benoist (PDF – 273 KB):

Current Crisis of Democracy

———-

De Benoist, Alain. “The Current Crisis of Democracy.” Telos Vol. 2011, No. 156 (Fall 2011), pp. 7-23. <http://www.alaindebenoist.com/pdf/the_current_crisis_of_democracy-anglais.pdf >.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under New European Conservative