Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Return of the King: Tradition and the New Führers

In one of my recent articles, I wrote:

""The most glaring deficiency of both the 'skin' and 'patriot' movements is that, while both subscribe to fascist practice, if not fascist theory, both lack strong leaders, 'great men'. The NSDAP and the PNF were conceived as, among other things, a means of catapulting their respective leaders Hitler and Mussolini into power. The expectation of all the fascist movements of the time was that their leaders were prepared for, and sought, absolute political power - that they would not settle for being mere leaders of a cult (i.e., William Pierce) or a trend in popular music (i.e., Ian Stuart). We in the nationalist movement today lack men of action - the Hitlers, Mussolinis, Mosleys, Degrelles... I compare a fascism without a leader to an Islam without a Muhammad.

I've recently made a study of the constitutional and legal structures of the Third Reich and have come to the not-so-startling conclusion that German National Socialism, and fascism in general, sought to reinstitute a form of monarchy. To give some examples. In Hitler's Germany, soldiers and public servants (including judges) had to swear an oath of loyalty to the Führer: a common practice in monarchies but one which would seem absurd in our present-day liberal democratic setting (imagine one swearing a loyalty oath to Malcolm Turnbull or Daniel Andrews). Another example: German laws forbade 'defamation' of Hitler, the NSDAP and the party symbols - Germans could be thrown into jail for making fun of Hitler the way the left-wing media makes fun of Trump - and such laws resemble the lèse-majesté laws which are still in effect in certain monarchies (Thailand, for instance).

I call this practice - of making ordinary politicians into kings - 'neo-monarchism'. I believe it is more common than many liberals and egalitarians would like to admit. Look at Putin, who has more or less resurrected the Tsardom, and the Assads, who are a Syrian royal family who came to power through Ba'athism, which was a secular, nationalist, revolutionary, socialist and anti-monarchist movement. Further afield, North Korea presents an example of a country which, under a revolutionary, left-wing and egalitarian regime, has reverted to a type of Asian monarchy. And, in the West, we have Trump, who is referred to as the 'God Emperor', after the title of the Frank Herbert science-fiction novel God Emperor of Dune.

The use of the word 'God' in connection with 'Emperor' here is significant. Julius Evola, the great Italian theorist of fascism and neofascism, writes at length in books such as Revolt against the Modern World (1934) of what he calls 'Traditionalist' societies of the ancient world which were ruled by kings who were said to be divine and blessed with magical power. Jesus Christ, who was the Son of God, was crucified as the king of the Jews and was possessed of magical healing powers, could be said to be a Traditionalist king - or almost king - of this type. In Traditionalist doctrine, at the end of the world, a king-like figure will return after a long absence and bring back divine law - what Evola calls Tradition - and banish evil; Christ's Second Coming fits in with this myth.

You might think that modern-day secularism and scepticism has rendered the notion of the divinity of kings superfluous. But this isn't the case in communist regimes. Mao would hold ceremonies in which he would bless the planting of crops; his presence, like that of the emperors of China of old, was considered to be divine and magical enough to ensure a bountiful harvest. Kim Il-Sung, the founder of communist North Korea, copied Mao's cult of personality and now is spoken of in North Korean propaganda in terms reserved for a celestial deity. All this goes back to an interview Alexander Dugin gave many years ago in which he shrewdly observed that the communist regimes most of all tended to restore Tradition.

I will quote two long paragraphs from the chapter 'Regality' in Evola's Revolt- to illustrate what I mean by Tradition and divine kingship:

Every traditional civilisation is characterised by the presence of beings who, by virtue of their innate or acquired superiority over the human condition, embody with the temporal order the living and efficacious presence of a power that comes from above. One of these types of beings is the pontifex, according to the inner meaning of the word and according to the original value of the function that he exercised. Pontifex means 'builder of bridges' or of 'paths' (pons, in ancient times, also mean 'path') connecting the natural and supernatural dimensions. Moreover, the pontifex was traditionally identified with the king (rex). Servius, a late fourth-century commentator on Virgil's works, reports: 'The custom of our ancestors was that the king should also be pontifex and priest'. A saying of the Nordic tradition reads: 'May our leader be our bridge'. Thus, real monarchs were the steadfast personification of the life 'beyond ordinary life'. Beneficial spiritual influences used to radiate upon the world of mortal beings from the mere presence of such men, from their 'pontifical' mediation, from the power of the rites that were rendered efficacious by their power, and from the institutions of which they were the center. These influences permeated people's thoughts, intentions, and actions, ordering every aspect of their lives and constituting a fit foundation for luminous, spiritual realisations. These influences also made propitious the general conditions for prosperity, health, and 'good fortune'. 

In the world of Tradition the most important foundation of the authority and of the right (ius) of kings and chiefs, and the reason why they were obeyed, feared and venerated, was essentially their transcendent and nonhuman quality. This quality was not artificial, but a powerful reality to be feared. The more people acknowledged the ontological rank of what was prior and superior to the visible and temporal dimension, the more such beings were invested with a natural and absolute sovereign power. Traditional civilisations, unlike those of decadent and later times, completely ignored the merely political dimension of supreme authority as well as the idea that the roots of authority lay in mere strength, violence or natural and secular qualities such as intelligence, wisdom, physical courage, and a minute concern for the collective material well-being. The roots of authority, on the contrary, always had a metaphysical character. Likewise, the idea that the power to govern is conferred on the chief by those whom he rules and that his authority is the expression of the community and therefore subject to its decrees, was foreign to Tradition. It is Zeus who bestows the [Greek word] on kings of divine origin, whereby [Greek word] or 'law from above', is very different from what constitutes [Greek word], which is the political law of the community. The root of every temporal power was spiritual authority, which was almost a 'divine nature disguised in human form'. According to an Indo-European view, the ruler is not a 'mere mortal', but rather a 'great deity standing in the form of a man'. The Egyptian pharaoh was believed to be the manifestation of Ra or of Horus. The kings of Alba and of Rome were supposed to be the incarnations of Zeus; the Assyrian kings, of Baal; the Persian shahs, of the god of light. The Nordic-Germanic princes were believed to derive from the race of Tiuz, of Odin, and of the Aesir; and the Greek kings of the Doric-Achaen cycle were called [Greek word] or [Greek word] in reference to their divine origin. Beyond the variety of mythical and sacred expressions, the recurrent view of kingship is expressed in terms of an 'immanent transcendence' that is present and active in the world. The king - who was believed to be a sacred being and not a man - by virtue of his 'being', was already the center and the apex of the community. In him was also the supernatural strength that made his ritual actions efficacious. In these actions people could recognise the earthly counterpart of supernatural 'ruling', as well as the supernatural support of life in the world of Tradition. For this reason, kingship was the supreme form of government, and was believed to be in the natural order of things. It did not need physical strength to assert itself, and when it did, it was only sporadically. It imposed itself mainly and irresistibly through the spirit. In an ancient Indo-Aryan text it is written: 'The dignity of a god enjoys on earth is splendid, but hard to achieve for the weak. On he who sets his soul on this objective, is worthy to become a king'. The ruler appears as a 'follower of the discipline that is practiced by those who are gods among men'. 

Now, I think in the above, you can find a justification for the rule of a Hitler or Mussolini, or Mao or Kim Il-Sung: in the end, any apologetics for such men must come back to Tradition and arguments which are thousands of years old. Evola would dispute that North Korea or Hitler's Germany could be considered as Traditionalist: he was an opponent of communism and a critic of National Socialism. But Evola, I think, could not see what was staring him in the face: the link between Tradition and modern-day 'totalitarian' and absolutist regimes. Dugin, on the other hand, saw it.

So how does this tie back to the topic at the start of this essay - the need for a leader? William Pierce makes a distinction between 'Nazism' and 'Neo-Nazism':

Inevitably, every member who engages in public activity, so that he is recognized publicly as a member, will be asked, “Are you a Nazi?” or, “Are you a neo-Nazi?” just as the National Alliance is routinely described in the controlled news media as a “Nazi (or neo-Nazi) organization.” (For those who make the distinction, the difference between “Nazi” and “neo-Nazi” seems to be this: The former term refers only to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party and its members. The latter term refers to organizations and people who draw their inspiration from the former, from the same sources as the former, but which are too young to have been directly associated with the former. Many people, of course, make no distinction between the two terms.)
Now, if you are 'taking inspiration' from the NSDAP, you need, most of all a leader, a Führer, who will, in the future 'Neo-Nazi' state will be given absolute power - a heavy responsibility. The legitimacy of such one-man rule can really, in the last analysis, only be argued for in Traditionalist terms.

The essential thing is that Traditionalism, in the modern age, must be disguised. In their collective subconscious, the millions of Asian peasants in Korea, China, Vietnam knew that communism didn't represent some new-fangled, Western, Jewish-German egalitarian doctrine but a return to the 'primordial spirituality' Evola talks about; the Maos and Kim Il-Sungs were repackaging Asian emperor-worship. Similarly we Westerners, we Europeans, must call upon the deeply-rooted, primordial Traditionalist myths of our own culture if we are to ever achieve a rule for new Führers.

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