By: Jim Dagg
The chapter from “German Angst” deals primarily with “New Left” student activism around 1968. It takes as a given that this period of protest was important in the maturation of West German democracy. I find this a satisfying change from last week’s “Not Narrating” piece which discounted the meaning of these times as being about experiment and sensation. A key point made here was that fear drove both the New Left (that they would miss their moment) and the opposing “liberal conservatives” who feared the revolution, and who thus attempted to create general fear of the Left. Fear was all around.
The three pieces on post-war far-right thinkers were all quite absorbing and surprisingly non-contradicting. They showed a concurrence that the far right must wait out the current period of hated liberal democracy (an interregnum), before they can expect their thinking to become dominant. Benoist promoted the “Gramscian” idea that their winning strategy is to aim to gain cultural hegemony. Once done, the way would be clear to “long-term durable power”. This is what we see in the US close-up, manipulated through social media and television.
The New Right is desperate to avoid being tarred with the Nazi brush, or even the fascist one. The Griffin article tries to make the “fascist” label stick – providing a pretty cool core definition for it – however I’m not sure that’s a worthy goal. The origin of the policies is not the point: the aim of them is.
Evola had a common theme: that the meanings of race, gender and class are “cultural and spiritual rather than biological”. This is very convenient for avoiding the racist label, for example. Benoist leverages this in advocating for “cultural” racism – that France should be for the French and Algeria for the Algerians”.
Reading the three articles on the New Right put me into an alternate universe, where progress was regress, up was down. Multiculturalism is bad, the French Revolution, the Enlightenment and the Renaissance were steps backward. Liberal states are totalitarian because they “impose administrative equality”. It’s disorienting and you can see how it can be seductive.