Archeofuturism: European Visions of the Post-Catastrophic Age
by Guillaume Faye; translated by Michael O’Meara
Arktos, 249 pages, $25.
As humans, we study our world to estimate the best responses to its demands. We then make a choice, and act on it, then observe the results to see if our estimations were correct. If they were not, we correct while trying to learn from the error. That is well and good, when buying a cement mixer — but what about a whole civilization?
Sometime 400 years ago, as our civilization prospered, the decision was made to modernize. This came about through a belief in the equality of all human beings and a drive toward external mechanisms, namely technology and political control systems. Guillaume Faye, the seasoned rising star of the New Right movement in Europe, explores our correction of this mistake in his landmark book Archeofuturism: European Visions of the Post-Catastrophic Age.
One of the more important things I’ve read this year, this book upholds an offhand feel throughout; an honest, end-of-the-night, when the wine and cigarettes are low and people are too tired to do anything but blurt out the big ideas that haunt them in their dreams feel. The content is dynamic, especially the first half, but the real force of power here is the style, an excitedly taboo-breaking, honest and hopeful look at re-creating ourselves so we have a future. This is not a book of resentment, but of joyful charging ahead.
A large influence on this stylistic breathlessness is the composition of the book, which is a collection of essays and a short sci-fi story to show us these ideas in practice. The second section, a thorough and high-energy explication of where Nouvelle Droite beliefs lead, the reasons for them and finally, how they can be better applied toward a theory of the future, will interest new right and deep ecologists the most as it joins the ideas of both into not a resistant/revolutionary culture but a remaking/revolutionary one.
Archeofuturism, Faye writes, escapes the boutique right-wing airy intellectualism of GRECE, which he critiques in the first book. Pointing out the failure of “ambiguous and incomprehensible ideological axes,” he proposes instead a transition from the rearward-looking “conservative” outlook to one that acknowledges what was lost, and the current state of disaster in the West, and plans for rebuilding afterward.
In his new theory of Archeofuturism, Faye proposes a “vitalist constructivism” that implements a quasi-feudal, national but not jingoistic, united Europe that applies the traditional spirit and learning to a future in which technology plays a central role. His unstated point is that the tool must again serve the man, after centuries of the reverse; he appeals to a sense of both the pragmatic in finding historically valid solutions through tradition, and the spirit of tradition, which is one of a constructive, upward society.
He proposes that we adopt this new outlook through a voluntaristic method, first changing our values, then our art, and then finally our political expectations at about the same time a “convergence of catastrophes” (environmental, political, economic) devastate Europe. Faye’s call is for Europeans to return to being “soldiers of the Idea” again, and for them to take up not a corrective action, but a constructive desire to rebuild and build it bigger, better and more exciting than before.
This fusion of both conservative and revolutionary thought takes the best of liberalism and the best of conservatism and takes them out of their handily domesticated roles as token opponents. He points out that our current ideological menu is carved from “soft ideology,” or that which passively deals with splitting up the wealth of an industrialization binge. He emphasizes a number of points all conservatives and pro-Europid readers can enjoy:
Against this cataclysm Faye posits Archeofuturism, or a futurism equally balanced by the spirit of traditionalism, which is (a) learning from the past and (b) a type of reverence for life that emphasizes family, punishment being more important than prevention, duties coming before rights, solemn social rites, the aristocratic principle and a “freedom” defined not as the ability to act randomly, but as a sense of having a place and being freed from a chaotic society with excessive pointless competition. This synthesis of the best of capitalism, socialism and our monarchic past fully lives up to the title of this book.
Good luck finding a short review of this book. The first half of it is packed chock-full of interesting ideas that like new melodies can infect the head for days as it dissects them and their context. The second half both addresses common objections and provides background, and takes the form of a short science fiction story in the tradition of Asimov and Heinlein that explains how technology will help humans evolve. The concepts are mind-blowing and more daring than anything sci-fi has attempted since Shockwave Rider, and this icing on the cake makes reading this book have a natural rhythm from the extreme, to the professorial, to the radical yet calming.
History is like a supertanker ship; it takes miles to begin to turn around and there are no brakes. The egalitarian experiment in Europe is only a few centuries old yet has wreaked utter havoc on all the subtler parts of existence, things that most people don’t notice because they are easily distracted by shiny objects. Faye brings these alive, shows us exactly why they are endangered, and then shows us a plausible and gradual (e.g. non apocalyptic, non-Utopian) solution toward which we can move if we believe life is worth saving. Clearly he does, and it infuses this book with a fervor and wisdom that few attain.