Evola’s Pagan Imperialism: Questions of Race and Class
With that, keep in mind that we do not want to abolish ‘man’, that is, that consciousness of freedom, individuality, and autonomy of individuals gained against the primitive, indistinct, mediumistic sociality. A true King never desires shadows, puppets, and automatons as subjects, but rather he desires individuals, warriors, living and strong beings; and in fact, his pride would be to feel himself to be a King of kings.
Julius Evola, it seems to me, is as good an example of a “far-right extremist” as there is. He was practically the exact opposite of a communist. And if fascism is considered to be far right, then Evola was much more fascistic than fellows like Hitler or Mussolini, because he had no stomach for socialism of any sort, in any amount. Evola favored a kind of feudalism, not the strongly centralized government favored by Marxist states, and a clearly demarcated class system, even to the point of it being an actual hereditary caste system, as is traditional in India, and as Evola believed to be traditional in primordial Aryan (more technically, Indo-European) society.
He advised a return to a very class-stratified civilization because he had no use for the modern notion of equality, and wanted individual qualities rightfully to replace the mere quantities and interchangeable commodities of modern commerce and scientific materialism, with humans being compelled to fit a standardized mediocrity, and laboring under the idea that one truth, and one ideal of justice, fits all.
A recurrent theme in Pagan Imperialism is that of society attaining a higher level of organization and evolution by acquiring and sanctifying a supreme deific Overlord as the coordinating soul of the nation, a higher power guiding the populace, a populace of different levels of humanity occupying different niches in the system, like the specialized cells of an organism, not simply like colonial cells in a volvox or social insects in a hive. This would involve the evolution of what Nietzsche called the Superman:
…in the beginning [of human civilization], every ‘I’ in itself was nothing, and identical to all the others, as a sort of medium within which the collective life of the community circulated; but, in the end, after greater and greater distances are created between ‘I’ and ‘I’, differentiating higher levels from lower levels of self-consciousness and human power, and creating thereby a hierarchy, those who can no longer be called humanity, but Lords of humanity, will arise.
He compares his conception of the god-king to the Indian idea of the cakravarti, or wheel-turning king of the world, “the one who, as ruler of men, would no longer be a man, but a being of higher level, as a ‘man’—even if, on the exterior, he maintains, more or less, a common human appearance….”
Thus instead of a society in which everyone is equal and more or less interchangeable, Evola described a true meritocracy, especially one of an old fashioned sort involving magnanimity and nobility of spirit—though I suspect the hereditary aspect of it which he envisioned would interfere with genuine meritocracy to some degree. He emphatically agreed with his friend René Guénon in valuing quality over quantity in a civilized fascist society; in a democratic society, by comparison, elected leaders are chosen not by their actual qualities but by mere quantity of votes—and the clown show of recent American politics, for example, shows clearly enough that elected politicians may be nowhere near the best of the people.
Evola’s ideas about race were rather subtle and easily misunderstood—especially by indoctrinated politically correct leftists who consider any European who values the European spirit and race to be a fascistic white supremacist. Race or “breed” may mean everything in animals, but not in humans, where it is only part of the equation of who a person is. The idea of ethno-fanatics that race is all important he calls “biological materialism.” The oldest feeling of race or blood, such as stone-age totemism, he calls pitr-yana in Sanskrit, the earthly way of the ancestors; whereas the higher, more civilized Aryan feeling of race is solar, the deva-yana of the Aryan Vedic tradition—it is “meta-biological” and spiritual. It involves a spiritual force that does not wholly transcend biology, but infuses and transforms it.
When this occurs, the ethnic tradition is not destroyed: it remains exclusively a base that possesses a spiritual tradition as inseparable verification—and here, in the order of the relationship between the biological factor and the spiritual factor, it is the latter which should be used as support for the former, and not vice versa.
So Evola was not preoccupied with biological, genetic race, like the fascistic thinkers of 20th-century Germany or like white nationalists now. In his day even Nordics, Mediterraneans, and Slavs were considered by many to be separate races. It should be emphasized that he acknowledged that race is a conditioning factor in a human being’s identity, but certainly not the only or even the most important factor. He did, however, acknowledge that each race has its own spirit, with some outliers of other races fitting the spirit of a race not their own better than that of their own (like maybe some non-European American immigrants who have embraced whole-heartedly and proudly an American conservative tradition and forsaken the culture of their native homeland).
So physical race is real, but of an inferior nature because passive (≈feminine/semitic), and tied to the earth and materialism. Evola’s own higher concept of race involves nobility of ancestry preserved through tradition and rites, and through a spiritual lineage from something higher than mere men—hence his liking of the Vedic caste system, and the legends of Roman Patricians’ divine ancestry. Race in the highest sense equals the collective spirit of a healthy people: “…the same formative primordial idea, sleeping in the depths of blood as the foundations of ‘form,’ victorious over chaos and animality, and carried, consciously or not, in potency or in act, by all the non-degenerate members of a group.”
As I have already mentioned elsewhere, Evola not only despised “biological materialism” and materialism in general, he despised the very notion of empirical objectivity on which scientific materialism in general rests. He considered science, though obviously with its uses, to be an inferior means of understanding reality, as it represents all that Evola had contempt for: equality (one truth fits all), democracy (consensus agreeing on what is accepted as true), and even socialism—he referred to scientific empiricism as “the socialization of knowledge.” According to him one truth does not fit all, and superior men will see and live by truths that inferiors cannot. This is stating the case in rather simplistic language, but Buddhism, which Evola admired and respected, has similar ideas about the adept seeing truths that, though true for everyone, are not seen and consciously lived by everyone. In fact just about any relatively advanced spiritual system will have concepts of higher truths that only a few can see and live by. But I suppose Evola took the idea farther than that.
One interesting theme of the book, which I suspect was not based on empirical objectivity but more upon Evola’s inner vision, is his notion of “the regression of the castes.” According to him, primordial Aryan civilization, back in a primordial Golden Age when the Aryans were heroes and veritable demigods, had a kind of caste system similar to that of traditional Vedic, Indo-Aryan India. Thus he believed that primordial Aryan society at its best had a warrior nobility at the top, a priestly class below that, a kind of middle class of landowners and merchants, and at the bottom the proletariat, the peasants. Thus Aryan society was ruled originally by a god-king who was a worthy combination of high priest and the political sovereign of his people—and who of course was truly worthy to be an absolute overlord, so much so that he was followed willingly, proudly, and joyfully by a civilization brimming with strength and vitality.
The first decline came with the fall of the god-king…and also the fall of the nobility in general as the highest level of authority and respect in society. With this came the fall of the warrior caste in general, the aristocracy, chivalry, honor—leading in modern times to either radical political change to some sort of parliamentary democracy or republic, or else degeneration into constitutional monarchies with the king as little more than a figurehead or national mascot. But before the degeneracy of modernity a second fall also began: the priests, who replaced the god-king as the spiritual guides of the people, also eventually fell from power. This happened in Europe especially when Protestantism arose and stripped western Christianity of what Aryan masculinity it once possessed. After the fall of the consecrated nobility and the initiated priesthood, most political power devolved into the hands of economic magnates, which is the case in the west today: “The social bond is not utilitarian and economic: it is a contract based upon the convenience and the interest of individuals….Aristocracy gives way to plutocracy, the warrior to the banker, the Jew, and the industrialist.” Although Evola could not have foreseen it, even the industrialist in the 21st century has given way to the big tech billionaire, the controller of information in the Information Age. The final stage of degeneration from the Age of Heroes would be essentially Marxism—the rule of the peasant worker and the common mass of men, “the slave laborer and mass-man, with the consequent reduction of every horizon and value to the level of matter and number.” However, Evola made the mistake of assuming this last wave would involve a glorification of work, when actually, in the west lately, the proletariat have been reduced to a welfare class voting for more handouts while resenting and hating the people whose work actually funds the government’s largesse.
By the 20th century Evola saw class struggle as primarily between rich Jews and a rabble of laborers. Since his time the laborers have been largely replaced by a largely imported welfare class who can be relied upon to vote for socialism and social weakness, and many of them see the rich Jews as a primary enemy…though the billionaires control the money, and even the radical anarcho-communists, though trying to play the financiers as useful fools, wind up being the financiers’ unwitting stooges.
Let us repeat that the race of Masters, if it has not already disappeared, is close to doing so; and everyone proceeds in a crescendo of leveling, rushing toward a life that is more material and faceless. The so-called ‘upper’ or ‘ruling’ classes of today are such only ironically: the great leaders of the world financial organization—such as the technicians, industrialists, functionaries, and so on—represent nothing more than those freedmen to whom the masters once delegated control of the slaves and administration of their goods.
Thus Evola devised a political philosophy enshrining towering nobility and aristocracy, with hardly a thought for the “inferior” masses, and practically zero concern for them—thus, fascism. In his own words,
Incommunicability will be desired, in the name of an absolute and virile respect: valleys and peaks, stronger forces and weaker forces, one beside the other or one against the other, loyally acknowledged, in the discipline of the spirit inwardly on fire but externally stiff and hard as steel, containing the immensity of the infinite to a magnificent extent: militarily, as in a warlike enterprise, a son the battlefield. Precise relationships, order, cosmos, hierarchy.…Above, solar and haughty beings, a race of Masters with a ‘long, distant, fearsome look’ ….
The ideal of a return to castes and qualitative hierarchy must be opposed to the demon of the collective, to the anonymity of omnipotent finance, and to the tyranny of the socialized and Semiticised West.
So all this is essentially fascism, even much more right-wing than the politics of Hitler and Mussolini. In addition to the stereotypical militarism, authoritarianism, and the personality cult of the glorious (even deified) leader, there is especially a deep principle of class stratification as the just way of having superior people in superior positions, and also of course an emphasis on spirituality—which in many respects is much more in accordance with Dhamma than is Marxism, Fascism’s traditional opposite and nemesis.
And so contrary to popular belief, Fascism is really no worse than its opposite, Marxism or Communism, and in some respects is vastly superior; I never tire of pointing out that Marxism has produced much more misery and greater heaps of corpses over the past century than all the forms of fascism combined. Furthermore, more than a hundred years of failed (or at least stagnant) economies, totalitarianism, and genocide have demonstrated well enough that Marxism just plain doesn’t work, and totally sucks. But I am skeptical with regard to how well Evola’s vision would work in reality too, and even he seems to have backed away somewhat from his glorious visions of fascistic feudalism led by a God-Emperor who has risen by his own inner superiority to the level of a minor deity.
I hasten to add, though, that I am neither an extreme leftist nor an extreme rightist, neither communist nor fascist, but tend more towards the center, which is appropriate for a Buddhist—the Middle Way between extremes, and all that. Nevertheless it is good to understand both left and right, especially nowadays with everything so politically charged. The indoctrinated masses of sheeple who use “fascist” as a slur to silence people without having a clue as to what the word really means, are fools, and tools of a globalist establishment that wants socialism, power for themselves, and weakness for everyone else.