Category Archives: politics

Aristokratia IV – K. Deva (editor) (2017)

I think I am about back up-to-date with the Manticore journal publications. Contrary to the previous two reviews of this publisher “Aristokratia IV” is indeed a journal with an editor and essays of different authors.

Being a Manticore publication there is a lot of Nietzsche of Evola. Being an “Aristokratia” this journal is of a more political / sociological nature. The texts are about a variety of subjects. The opening article is about revolutions in Russia. Then follows Gwendolyn Taunton with a text about the “more Nietzschian than Nietzsche” Italian author Gabriele D’Unnunzio; an interesting text about Nietzsche’s philosophy in practice. Other more biographical texts are about Max Stirner, Emile Zola and Neville Goddard. Further there are sociological and philosophical texts that usually have a slight Traditionalist undertone.

The book ends with a collection of quotes (or so it seems, aphorisms at least) and a couple of book reviews.

The “Aristokratia” series of Manticore is not my preferred line of books, but they usually have a couple of nice texts and going a bit off the paths of my usual literature does not hurt.

2017 Manticore Press, isbn 0994595859

Aristokratia III – K. Deva (editor) (2015)

I guess I am quite at a loss trying to follow Primordial Tradition, erm… Numen Books, or was it Manticore Press? Also the website changed a couple of times and there are several channels on Facebook. So by the time I heard of Gwendolyn Taunton’s latest book called Tantric Traditions, I discovered that by then I had missed two volumes in the Aristokratia series and a book called Operative Traditions. Time to catch up!

Aristokratia is the more political branch of the series of journals. This third volume is subtitled “Hellas”, so in most essays you will run into Plato and Greek democracy, but there is also a lot of Evola, Nietzsche and a few texts that have nothing to do with either Greece or politics, probably texts that fitted better in this journal than in any of the others.

Politics, not entirely my subject. As expected there is a lot of criticism towards democracy, contemporary culture and society and, as the title of the journal suggests, a (new) aristocracy that has to be built in order for the world to survive.

The most interesting article is one of the ‘out of place’ texts and speaks about how Mircea Eliade actually saw Traditionalism, Guénon and Coomaraswamy. Eliade is often seen as a Traditionalist (light), but this is a bit of a one-sided view on the man it seems.

From ancient politics to more recent ones and even a manifesto to build a new form of society, these are the subject that you will find in this journal. The more ‘practical’ side of contemporary Traditionalism so to say. read more

Aristokratia II * K. Deva (editor) (2014)

It is good that Amazon recommended me this book, because I do not recall having heard of it before they did. It becomes a bit blurry. Like the first Aristokratia, this journal is published by Manticore Press. Since it looks like the journals that are nowadays published under the name of Numen Books, I simply ‘tagged’ this book ‘Primordial Traditions’, the precursor of Numen Books. But, Numen Books will remain Numen Books and Primordial Traditions seems to come rising from its ashes, so I might have to divide them afterall.
In any case, “Aristokratia” forms the more political arm of Primordial Traditions. The journal comes with 320 pages consisting of 17 essays and 7 book reviews. Three articles are from the hand of Gwendolyn Taunton (another reason to see the link) who delivered some very nice texts. Especially her “Emperor Of The Sun” is an interesting read. Taunton takes the theories of Dumézil a step further and more practically (in contast to Dumézil’s theoretical approach) applies it to far Eastern polics in the past. In another article Taunton aims to portray Julius Evola’s actual ideas by going beyond the characterisations of supporters and opposers. Some other authors we know from the first volume of this journal. Like I said, “Aristokratia” is a more political journal and some essays not only describe the state of contemporary politics, but also offer new insights and ideas. Not all essays are political though. Some are more philosophical and/or tradionalistic.
The journal starts off wonderfully, but in the last third there are a couple of texts that I did not find too appealing and did not read them very attentively.
All in all another interesting journal though and a good addition to the ‘Primordial Traditions series’.
2014 Manticore Press, isbn 0987559834, Aristokratia website
read more

The Radical Tradition * Troy Southgate (editor) (2011)

Here we have the next in the series of publications of Primordial Traditions, the first not edited by Gwendolyn Toynton herself. Where the first publication “Primordial Traditions Compendium 2009” was supposedly a Traditionalistic publication, the second (“Northern Traditions” (2011)) was already less so, this third publication is almost not at all. The subtitle goes: “Philosophy, metapolitics & the conservative revolution”. The title, subtitle and editor make it clear, this is a publication about radical politics. There are a range of those to be found here completely blowing away the ‘left-right’ scale that is still in the minds of many people. Anarchistic nationalism, Intertraditionale, anarcho-gnosticism, the new right, Christian anarchism, third position, nationalistic communism, it is all here. Articles about cultural pessimism, Heidegger, Nietzsche (twice) and Schopenhauer, critical essays about “cosmopolitanism”, human rights, democracy and of course “the coming crisis of Western civilization”; just 185 pages, but a wealth of political thoughts and theories. There are actually only two essays that are Traditionalistic in some way, Toynton’s own “Tradition & Politics”, but more particularly Sean Jobst’s “The role of Islamic mysticism against modern decay”. Jobst is a Muslim convert in order to become Sufi (like René Guénon himself) arguing that the Islam is a flexible and universal religion well-fitting for the West too and that Sufism is a remedy against the rampaging decline of Western culture. A daring statement and a daring article in a publication like this perhaps. Also this article is perhaps the only ‘spiritual’ one in this publication even though most authors opt for more religion or spirituality in politics. Other authors include mostly new names to me, Tomislav Suric, Jonathan Bowden, Wayne John Sturgeon, Ben Craven, the only two that I do know are Toynton and Southgate. And for those wondering about the latter, Southgate wrote an overview of his political carreer and how things went from the National Front to International Third Position, English Nationalist Movement, National Revolutionary Fraction to the National-Anarchist Movement each time giving an inside look of the ideology and thus making thing much clearer than the news usually does.
I am not all that much interested in politics and I cannot say that I ran into something here that makes me change my mind, but it is always nice to read something about what makes peoples’ clocks tic and how varried the world of radical politics is. Not very Traditionalistic like I said, so I am curious about the announced future publications including Alchemical, Occult and Tantric Traditions, a second Northern Traditions and a second Radical Traditions. Plans enough!
2011 Primordial Traditions ltd., isbn 9780473174972
read more

En Mijn Tafelheer Is Plato * Rob Wijnberg (2010)

This is the second book of Wijnberg that I review. The first one I got as a present, this one I bought myself. Wijnberg is a young (1982), Dutch philosopher and active column-author who writes about current events and current society, mostly the Dutch. The title of this new book translates something like “and my host is Plato”, it is a reference to the author’s appearance on television and how he hopes things might be some time. This new book is again filled with essays that he wrote before, many of which are also available on his website. They are ordered a little and a relatively lengthy introduction preceeds them. Wijnberg likes to write about the Dutch politics of today and the populistic politician Geert Wilders in particular, but the scope of subjects is wider in this book, especially towards the end. Scientology, raising children, the ‘sexualising society’, technology and Darwin’s theories, to name a few. All essays are about 5 pages. In these 5 pages Wijnberg manages to put a subject in an historical perspective and give an alternative way of looking at it. Since he has done that hundreds of times, he is (as noone I know) able to do that. This makes this book again a very easy and very thoughtprovoking read. Since there are way too many subjects here, it is impossible to give you an idea of what this book is like, so let me just very shortly summerise one of the essays. The essay “Obama and the tyranny of the weak” starts with Obama’s right on health insurance. The gigantic discussion this bill rose, is ununderstandable for a European because here health insurance has been secured for many many years. Wijnberg uses this subject to explain the fundamental difference between the American Democrates and the Republicans. Republicans base themselves on philosophers as Charles de Montesquieu (1689-1755) and think that the government has to interfere with the lives of individuals as little as possible. The obligation to have a health insurance is an illicit interference of the government, since freedom for a Republican is freedom from force. Democrats, on the other hand, think that freedom of the individual increases when the government helps them, with a health insurance that they would normally be denied for example. Taken to the extreme, for the Republicans the norm are the strong/rich, for the Democrates the weak. There is more to say about it, but just to show how the author explains things and gives something to think about.
Only available in Dutch though and one thing that would be nice for a future book is a real book with subjects not touched in 5 pages, but rather something more in depth.
2010 De Bezige Bij, isbn 978023458418
read more

Gods Of The Blood * Mattias Gardell (2003)

There are reasons to say that this is a book I should better not read/review and to say that I should. “The pagan revival and white separatism” is the subtitle and I would not want to raise the suggestion that these two have anything incommon. On the other hand it might be helpfull to know what certain people think and (ab)use so I know what to stay away from. But of course there always is the morbid curiosity. A book about extreme political right heathens. In his “few words on terminology” Gardell writes:

Some of the heathens categorized as “racist” in this study would probably object to the label due to the negative connotations associated with the concept in contemporary mainstraim discourse. […] In this book, then, the term racist is detached from any moral assumptions and simply signifies a person who believes that mankind may be classified into any given number of “races” that “by nature” differ from each other not only in physical but also in mental and moral qualities […]

p. 29
There we have it again, a scholar uses a term which has a certain meaning in the minds of the common man, applies it in his own way, but from the more common perspective the link with certain politics is already made. This will not be very helpfull for the ‘heathen community’. But Gardell shows himself realistic and clear in his classifications. An example:

While not a supremacist, Moynihan does see a connection between genetics and spirituality along the lines of the ethnic Asatrúers. To the extent that metagenetics is a racial philosophy, Moynihan may qualify as a racist, but, again, ethnocentric spirituality should not be confused with Aryan revolutionary activities. There is a world of difference between the Wotansvolk and Blood Axis projects, a lack of correspondence both parties readily acknowledge. read more

Nietzsche En Kant Lezen De Krant * Rob Wijnberg (2009)

I got this book as a holidays-present. Good, because I would probably have never heard of it otherwise. It is a philosophy book about modern politics and society, not really my subject. Wijnberg is a young man, seven years younger than myself, but with an impressive carreer already. This book is his third and the copy I got is 7th printing only half a year after the first publication. Wijnberg used to be an editor at the ‘opinion section’ of one of our major newspapers in which role he declined a pamphlet of the most famous Dutch politicians: Geert Wilders. Currently Wijnberg writes a column each week in the same newspaper, a speed at which he is apparently able to fill books too. “Nietzsche and Kant read the newspaper” is built with such essays. The title is rather cheesy but the subtitle “thinkers of the past about dilemmas of the present” is a bit more promising. When I started to read the book, I was immediately captured by this young man’s eagle eye regarding modern society and politics and his ability to describe his findings critically razorsharp and with the use of old and recent philosophers. The prologue alone is worth buying this book. The variety of subjects are bundled to ‘chapters’ about freedom, truth and power, God and faith, sex and love, identity, equality and the state. Very basic discussions such as the opening essay “why more choice leads to less freedom to choose” or freedom of speech come together with thoughts about journalism, animal rights, “why a believer is hurt so easily”, terrorism and homosexuality. A lot of space is used for current Dutch politics, of course mostly the popular right thinkers Geert Wilders and Rita Verdonk, but also established parties from left to right (but mostly of the right) are carefully dissected. Our beloved systems of democracy and capitalism are spoken of, but also the last two American presidents and the war in Iraq. No matter what subject Wijnberg chooses for his ponderings, in easy to read terms he places the subject in history and current society and he finds philosophers from every corner who said something about it. The book is as impressive as it is easy to read and Wijnberg manages to write both critically and constructive without taking sides or passing judgement. Both my own and the previous generation should read this book to learn something about themselves and the world that we live in. I always enjoy fingers on the sore spots of modern living and Wijnberg shows that a philosopher is more than able to do that. Suggested reading, unfortunately as of now, only available in Dutch.
2009 De Bezig Bij, isbn 989023440864
read more

Men Among The Ruins * Julius Evola (2002)

Men Among The Ruins

Gli Uomini e le Rovine (1953/1972)

After the two world wars, Julius Evola (1898-1974) wrote the first version of this famous/notorious book. A few new versions saw the light and this English translation is based on the 1972 reprint. This English version is also famous/notorious, especially in the music scene were most of my music comes from, because of the involvement of Michael Moyniham (editor, translator) and Markus Wolff (translator). The book itself was translated by Guido Stucco, a foreword and another translation are from the hands of Joscelyn Godwin (a renowned writer of his own). There is a very long, but very interesting preface written by H.T. Hansen for a German version, but it was enlarged a bit by Hansen himself and translated to English by Moynihan. That as information of the publication that this review is based on.

I didn’t really plan on reading this almost purely political book of Evola, but in the end I decided to do so anyway and with no regret. Hansen in his 100 page preface puts Evola in the place where he belongs: a metaphysician so radical in his views that he got both friends, but also fierce enemies in the political spectrum from the left to the very far right. In fascism (Italy) and later National Socialism (Germany) Evola saw a possible return to an aristocratic society built on higher principles. He was disappointed in both currents and did not shy to speak of his reserves even when these parties were at power. In Men Among The Ruins Evola gives a guideline of how a pan-European political system should work and in doing so, he portrays his accurate and sharp view on developements of his time, that for a large part can still be found within our own society. He rages against democracy, communism and a whole range of ‘political systems’ which he (I think) gives his own terms, such as “Bonepartism”, “Machiavellism”, etc. Tendencies in society such as the ever growing materialism, craving for equality, economy, etc. are sabred down. In short I can say that almost any system, party or tendency is burned to the ground by the extremely elitaristic thinker, with words so fierce that I had to laugh out loud numerous times. What you get may seem like an alternative, but later (Cavalcare le Tigre (1961)) the writer admits that his efforts have been futile. In a way Man Among The Ruins is a political handbook which offers systems, ideas and even a worldview for those looking for a “conservative revolutionary” ideology. Evola does not spare anyone though, so the parties for which this book could have been intended, often feel offended (and not without reason). It is not for nothing that Evola came to regard himself as “apolitical” and “fascist nor anti-fascist” and his whole system of ideas can only be appreciated by people who do not feel easily personally attacked. With this in mind the book is hardly a handbook, because Evola does not seem to have had many people with similar ideas. Nowadays -however- now that the taboos arisen by the world wars and the reactions after it seem to crumble down a bit, Evola has a growing attention of scholars and random readers that do not necessarily are politically radical, people like myself. I agree with the writer about the idea that we have lost the Tradition and especially the spiritual way of living. Too much stress came on the lower ratio and the ‘voice of the masses’ which both for some reason enjoy an ever growing respect. Something got lost and we can see that all around us. Evola puts a few alternatives beside that, but his ideas are very utopical (and he realised that himself later). Still Men Among The Ruins is a book that you can read for some radically different views that force you to overthink your own. Be warned though, you have to be able to stand reading about fascism, racism, etc. in neutral and positive ways (but with Evola’s ideas in mind as shown in the preface, this becomes easier) and not shy harsch words on ‘holy houses’. Evola was an interesting thinker, too radical for his own good and with too much stress on some parts of his worldview, but personally I am of the opinion that he deserves to be read with the necessary warnings, but also relativations and with him put where he belongs, not where he is put by people with other agendas.
Added to the book itself is Evola’s defence statement from when he was sued for glorifying fascism (among other things). In it you can see how intelligent the man was and well able to stand up for himself. He was fully acquitted of the charges.
-4-
Read quotes of Evola here.
read more