Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right


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If you trace the components of the narrative, which can be found in many variations elsewhere in the literature of the New Right, then it looks somewhat like this. It continues in the universalizing tendency of Pauline Christianity, which no longer seeks to address just one people the Jews but sets its sight on the whole of humanity, understood as one homogeneous collection of individual souls that are equal before God and all need to find salvation.

This approach is taken up by the Christian Church, which proceeds to conquer the pagan peoples of Europe and convert them to the new faith: the result is that local communities lose their autonomy and are expected to become parts of one Holy Roman Empire. From there we get to the famous disenchantment of the world under the reign of industrialization, which proceeds to further tear traditional communities apart, resulting in an urban mass society of alienated individuals. In the wake of Protestantism and the scientific revolution, the next victim of Liberalism is the traditional notion of social and political hierarchy.

This process moves into its logical end phase with the economization and commodification of everything, known as neoliberalism, and its ambition of a global egalitarian society of consumers. So what is wrong with such a narrative? Perhaps even this short summary shows how plausible it can be made to look at first sight.

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Rather, the core problem is quite simply that this polemical manifesto, like so many similar ones, derives it plausibility and persuasive power from a very common type of bad historiography. A second and even more serious objection, on which I will be concentrating, is that the entire enterprise is built upon an essentialist approach to historical writing grounded in a very common type of mental delusion see below but that can be used to great rhetorical effect and has tremendous potential for political propaganda.

The same structural problem is basic to countless other grand narratives of modernity, with Hegel as the classic example.

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The Power of Reification So why is this bad historiography? This might sound like an exaggerated or hyper-theoretical claim, so allow me to explain. Hence readers are led to imagine the history of Western culture not as a series of events based on human actions, which could all have happened differently, but as one momentous battle that has been unfolding over time between two hostile forces Tradition and Liberalism , each sticking to their own internal logic and dynamics until the bitter end.

Entities you can't see John Gast, "American Progress" There is a good reason why we cannot see them, except in our imagination: they do not actually exist.

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They are words, labels — no more, no less. The function of this particular type of words consists in highlighting and calling attention to structural similarities of an ideal or abstract nature. In themselves there is nothing wrong with such operations of mental comparison and abstraction: they are not just useful, but often indispensable in our continuous attempts at bringing some order to the world that surrounds us in time and space. However, that does not diminish the fact that they exist nowhere else but in our minds: they are mental tools that operate in our imagination.

The problem is that our minds have learned to neglect this and hence misperceive the true nature of such concepts. Instead of seeing them for what they are, we imagine them to be somehow real, and this happens through a cognitive process that is known as reification or, in its strongest form, essentialization.

These are metaphors, but we tend to confuse them with realities. Why is all this a problem? Because once we start thinking along these lines — and it is perfectly natural for us to do so — we feel that we need to get involved and take sides. Do we identify with the hero on that stage or with the villain? And so we start glorifying one of those spirits or entities while demonizing everybody that we imagine to be standing on the other side. Reification can be defined as the process of making mental abstractions real by projecting them onto the world, and then allowing our actions to be guided by them.

Manichaean historiography based on reification whether from the Left or from the Right leads to false but seductive narratives that sacrifice historical complexity to the requirements of ideology — that is to say, to power. The situation of the underlying party is terrible, because he is not merely a political opponent in the battle for power but, in the dream fantasy of the gnostic, a cosmic enemy in the war between Light and Darkness. You feel you must fight them. You tell yourself that your eyes are wide open and you see the truth.

They cannot fool you anymore, you are seeing through the delusion! Your opponents, on the other hand, are clearly under the sway of evil.

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They are living in ignorance, hypnotized, they act like automata, unable to see how they are being manipulated by the powers that are running the show. So if you cannot convince them, you will have to fight them. Perhaps they are looking at you in exactly the same way? The point is that they are wrong and you are right. You cannot allow yourself to try understanding their point of view.


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That would only weaken your resolve, and anyway, you already know all you need to know about them. Contingency and Human Values What does it mean to look at history in terms of contingency instead?

It means taking a step back and focusing our attention, first of all, on what is really and undoubtedly there: human beings of flesh and blood like ourselves, and their actions in the world. Take the case of Paul the apostle. It is nonsense to see him as some kind of instrument through which Liberalism or, for that matter, Christianity was beginning its long campaign of conquering the world, en route towards its telos of a neoliberal world filled with McDonalds and Coca Cola.

Against Democracy and Equality the European New Right by Sunic Tomislav - AbeBooks

That is not what was happening in the first century CE. We are dealing with a Greek-speaking Jewish guy who, for reasons best known to himself possibly the guilty trauma of having been a witness and accomplice 17 , got quite obsessed with the death by crucifixion of an obscure teacher from Nazareth called Jesus. He came up with some new and quite idiosyncratic ideas about its true cosmic significance for the world at large, and felt strongly that everybody should know.

So he went on a mission to spread the word, and turned out to be really good at it. The rest, as one says, is history.

Against Democracy and Equality the European New Right by Sunic Tomislav

The point is that none of it needed to have happened the way it did happen. We can be sure though that it would look very different. However, his parents did meet; he was born; and he did what he did. What came out of it is what came out of it — not because it was meant to be, as if there were some great plan, but simply because this is what happened and not something else.

Human beings who happened to do what they happened to do. All of which might sound almost trivial. But it is not: the implications reach very far, much farther than we commonly recognize. Grand narratives based on reification do not discover any true meaning in history.


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The original edition's introduction by American scholar Paul Gottfried is retained as is the second edition's preface. In appendices are a brief introduction to major ENR figures along with a translation of de Benoist's relevant essay, Manifesto for a European Renaissance; we also want to mention the book's index, since we were critical of the lack of indices in our previous Arktos reviews.

A thorough bibliography is included, and as in other Arktos releases, for the benefit of the non-specialist reader editor John Morgan added notes wherever the text might require additional technical explanation. This is a first class edition, and it is clear that considerable time went into its preparation. Before discussing Sunic's main text we want to mention several points brought up by his thoughtful contributors.

This is unfortunate inasmuch as the author's intention is to lay down an intellectual foundation for the ENR, and we expect that highlighting older historical precedent would be quite interesting. At the same time, such a request is beyond the scope of Sunic's self-imposed task inasmuch as his arguments are viewed as contemporary and immediate. Certainly he is unhappy, and with ENR specifically in mind laments the lack of political results.

Thoughts of Ernst Junger, and visions of storming the Bastille trouble his mind. As the word's definition implies, citizen sovereignty requires citizen action.

Against Democracy and Equality The European New Right

A kind of action that, in his opinion, is consonant with our classical Greek heritage. And is such a thing desirable in practice? In fine, do we really want all men participating? We recall when discussing de Benoist's book that it was helpful to consider an approach suggested by another, the German educated political scholar, Leo Strauss.

Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right
Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right
Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right
Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right
Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right

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