Evola on a (but not “the”) European Union
The Roman-Germanic world constitutes the greatest obstacle to the fulfillment of the new proletarian ideal. —Vladimir Lenin
It is slightly astonishing to me that after months I am still slowly grinding through Julius Evola’s short book Pagan Imperialism. On the day of writing this, for example, I have read zero pages; and overall I’d be surprised if I average more than two or three pages per day. Evola’s writing style is very dry for me, and rather abstract (I like to think in pictures and what he writes about is often hard to picture), but on the other hand he is very interesting in certain respects. For one thing his point of view is pretty much the exact opposite of Marxism, essentially the extreme radical far right as far as I can tell, and just reading the opposite of Marxism is like a breath of fresh air. Plus it’s good to expose oneself to a wide variety of opinions, and Evola’s are about as wide of mainstream lunacy as they get.
After I finally finish the book I intend to write a synopsis of the whole thing, and of Evola’s political philosophy in general, but now I would like to discuss just one section of it, entitled “The True Paneuropa,” in the last chapter (I’m getting close to the end), “Our European Symbol.” In this section Evola gives his reasons, which he considers the only really valid ones, for establishing a united Europe, a Paneuropa, or, as it is called nowadays, though in a form Evola would utterly despise, a European Union.
In fact Evola utterly despised the direction Europe had been taking ever since the end of the Middle Ages. He actually considered medieval feudalism to be close to ideal; and although he disapproved of the medieval western religion of literally worshiping a deified Jew, he did accept medieval Roman Catholicism as a practical compromise with Roman Paganism, and with the inevitability of circumstance.
For Evola, the primary purpose for a united Europe, pretty much the only purpose that mattered, was the preservation of primordial European tradition, and of the European (and Aryan) spirit that gave rise to that millennia-old tradition. Politics and economics were trivial by comparison. As he says himself:
The practical advantages of a Paneuropean union can have for us only a secondary and conditional interest, since the main problem which threatens Europe is not so much a material danger but rather a spiritual one.…It is only on the plane of the spirit that a true unity can take on life and overcome any spirit of schism and of particularism.
Without a unifying spirit or soul, any political or economic unification of Europe would be, according to Evola, unstable and unsustainable, even in a state of walking death like an animated corpse, without a living soul to pervade and unify its members. It could be nothing more than a conglomerate, not a true union. The new EU, the postmodern one that actually exists, has attempted to deal with this problem of soul by abolishing souls altogether and replacing them with materialistic secular neo-Marxism…but this is essentially suicidal, a point with which Evola would agree.
Interestingly, he cites Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, author of the notorious Kalergi plan, several times, for example when he mentions Kalergi’s opinion that Europe as a civilization (or family or tribe of civilizations) has three main external dangers: Russia, Britain, and Asia. Evola modified this notion by conflating the UK with the USA, possibly with the Anglosphere as a whole; and he disagreed with Kalergi by considering Asia at the time to be a total non-threat to the west in almost every respect, as it certainly was in the early 1930s when he wrote his second edition of the book. China was a backwards nonentity wallowing in political chaos, and Imperial Japan was a real danger mainly just to other Asians, particularly the Koreans and Manchurians. The only real danger Evola saw coming from the East in his view at the time, interestingly, was the weakening, degenerating effect of non-hierarchical, egalitarian, feminine, pacifistic, pantheistic, Asian pseudo-spirituality invading western culture under the guise of eastern wisdom, as it was doing at the time, and as it is doing today. (He did, though, highly approve of Indian-style Theravada Buddhism as representing primordial Aryan values, as I have written about elsewhere.)
He considered the soft, weak, feminine, New Agey, watered down and secularized oriental religious influences in Europe to be comparable to the Asiatic influences contaminating the purity of Classical Greek civilization in the Hellenistic Age after Alexander. This is reminiscent of my own comparison of neo-Marxism today in the west with that outstanding Asiatic import, Christianity, in Pagan Imperial Rome.
With regard to Russia and the Anglosphere, Evola considered the threats of both to be very similar: secularism, an egalitarian classless society, mechanized philistinism, alienation, and spiritual death. The primary differences are that egalitarianism for the Marxist USSR was mainly equality as slaves, with that in the west being more the equality of democracy (which Evola found almost as odious) and also of the one-size-fits-all knowledge of science; with the materialism and spiritual bankruptcy in Russia being mainly ideological Marxism, and that in a place like America being soulless cultural barbarism and Mammon worship overseen not by Communist Party bosses but by the tyranny of corporate trusts and shadowy plutocratic financiers, hiding behind the politicians and the journalists that they buy. And of course the enforcement of the system in the leftist East was Marxist indoctrination and propaganda backed up by fear of pain, with the enforcement in the more classical liberal west being consumeristic indoctrination and propaganda backed up by greed for pleasure. So essentially he saw the Soviet Union and the liberal Anglosphere as a choice between Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Huxley’s Brave New World (with the west becoming much more like Huxley’s dystopia since then, though neither book had been written in the early 1930s). Presumably Evola saw the west as slightly less abhorrent in its own peculiar brand of secular mechanized barbarism, but still very abhorrent. He actually saw the historical Dark Ages as superior to 20th-century America in most respects—and 21st century woke, hysterical America would probably look no better to him than Stalinism.
Thus Evola saw no real benefit from a European Union so long as it was not a defense against the degeneracy of Russia and America especially, and a spiritual reaction towards fascism.
The actual EU has followed the very path specifically denounced by the author in his discussion. Instead of resisting Soviet-style socialism they simply imitated it, ironically around the same time that Soviet socialism finally collapsed under the weight of its own inefficiency and corruption. Now the Europeans are more socialistic, more materialistic, and less spiritual than Russia and the USA (though the UK looks to be on a par with the Europeans on that score). He says:
Let us suppose that Europe, in order to be able to oppose in the political and economical sense either Russia as a confederation of Soviet republics or the United States, should organize itself in a way which corresponds precisely to the anti-hierarchical, “socialist,” secular ideals of these two powers. Then, we would see that the positive solution would coincide with the negative one; the opposition would amount to a hidden abdication, to a secret undoing, to a defecting to the enemy through the action which should have closed the door on it.
But really the EU has done much worse than this, which is a major reason why it is already beginning to disintegrate.
As mentioned above, Evola cites Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi several times in his book, and though he does not always agree with him he does mention him with some degree of respect, or at least gentlemanly courtesy, and not with the opprobrium his name elicits nowadays from the right. But Kalergi considered socialism to be the future of Europe, whereas Evola considered socialism, unless perhaps some kind of egalitarianism among the aristocracy, to be “a disgrace to the European soul,” a soul which is now radically debased and emasculated.
Evola may not have cared much about the so-called Kalergi Plan of creating a mongrel population of light brown mulattoes, though he doesn’t mention it at all and could hardly have foreseen such a fate for Europe. He cared mainly just for the elite anyway, the ruling aristocracy, who presumably would not be mongrelized; though he strongly objected to a plutocracy of financiers and corporatists being at the top instead of the truly superior and worthy:
We have seen how the process of spiritual regression—especially in its aspect of the fall of power from one ancient Aryan caste to the other—tend to the rise of a new collectivistic, proletarian, mechanized barbarism, the declared enemy of everything which is freedom, spirit, and personality, as is precisely shown to us by the Russia of the Soviets.
(By the fall of one Aryan caste, and so forth, he was referring to his idea that something very like the Indian caste system was universal to the primordial Aryans, and that there has been a gradual elimination of the nobles, and then of the priests, in our formerly Aryan civilization in the west, with now the merchants and moneylenders being at the top. And if the Communists were somehow to realize their ideal, then the society would be run by the lowest of the low, with results not too difficult to predict.)
Evola preferred a unification of European nations along the lines of the Middle Ages, with a brotherhood of the nobility, of the elite intermarrying and being more akin to each other across national boundaries than with the lower classes of their own country, even when warring with each other over territory or influence. A strong centralized government is characteristic of the left, as is classlessness and egalitarianism and “equity.” Evola, a self-proclaimed “superfascist,” much preferred more localized yet still authoritarian government for most purposes, and of course a well-established class system.
Also, he typically preferred an idealistic ideology to a kind of rational, “liberal” objectivity which he despised; and largely because of this, methinks, he considered nationalism in 20th-century Europe to be a modern form of degeneracy, based on a loss of primordial Aryan spirit. It seems to me, though, that this kind of fascistic romanticism is of very limited value, except perhaps as a unifying and inspiring mythos. The far left, maybe ironically, makes the same mistake of valuing ideological narrative more highly than empirical reality—though Evola at least explicitly states his reasons for rejecting the “socialized” egalitarian notion of a one truth fits all empiricism. If the left rejects empiricism it is more likely, especially lately, a rejection of anything western and predominantly white, since systematic empiricism was primarily developed in Europe.
One significant fact that most people in the west fail to appreciate is that the far right, even Evola’s extreme right, still harbors some appreciation, even a need, for spirituality, if only as a unifying force for a civilization, whereas the left tends pretty much inevitably towards atheistic materialism and the replacement of God or Spirit or Ultimate Truth with the all-seeing, all-controlling power of the State. Evola did not want a strong centralized government; he wanted feudalism, or a kind of multisocietal Imperium like that of Classical Rome at its height: a strong social order without much multiculturalism within each city, but rather with a variety of countries or societies bound together by feudal and even religious loyalties to a God-Emperor, and to a shared set of higher values, even if their lower ones were largely regional, in accordance with the spirit of their own tribe.
Again, Evola considered an official union along constitutional lines to be of secondary importance at best, with the primary purpose being one of spirit; though the spirit that has gained ascendancy in Europe today, if it can even be called spirit, is one that Evola would have utterly loathed as the most disgraceful degeneracy that Europe has ever seen, a unity in the spirit of feminized, semiticized, globalized socialism and standardized mediocrity; though now in the eastern lands of Europe, in the Slavic nations especially, some semblance of the old European ideal that Evola might have approved is making a comeback. It may be that the Slavic nations, which were once seen as a threat to European tradition, may be the saviors and preservers of it, which would be good.