Furthest Right

Alain de Benoist: Regenerating history (C.G.)

The New Right is made up of scores of intellectuals, autodidacts and publicists from every corner of the Europeanized world. By far its most prestigious ideologue is Alain de Benoist, awarded a prize by the Académie Française in 1978 for Vu de droite, a dense anthology of short essays on themes and thinkers which, to the initiated, cumulatively delegitimize the assumptions of liberal democracy. This passage brings out the sense of living through the watershed between a played out system based on egalitarianism and a new phase of history which will inaugurate cultural rebirth (the political and economic dynamics of this transformation are, of course, left vague). It was translated by a major representative of the Italian New Right (Nuova Destra), Marco Tarchi, whose edition has been used here rather than the French to emphasize to internationalization of new currents of New Right thought.

What is the greatest threat today? It is the progressive disappearance of diversity from the world. The levelling down of people, the reduction of all cultures to a world civilization made up of what is the most common. It can be seen already how from one side of the planet to the other the same types of construction are being put up and the same mental habits are being engrained. Holiday Inn and Howard Johnson are the templets for the transformation of the world into a grey uniformity. I have travelled widely, on several continents. The joy which is experienced during a journey derives from seeing differentiated ways of living which are still well rooted, in seeing different people living according to the own rhythm, with a different skin colour, another culture, another mentality – and that they are proud of their difference. I believe that this diversity is the wealth of the world, and that egalitarianism is killing it. For this it is important not just to respect others but to keep alive everywhere the most legitimate desire there can be: the desire to affirm a personality which is unlike any other, to defend a heritage, to govern oneself in accordance with what one is. And this implies a head-on clash both with a pseudo-antiracism which denies differences and with a dangerous racism which is nothing less than the rejection of the Other, the rejection of diversity.

We live today in a blocked society. Globally speaking we are only now beginning to become aware of ways to break out of the order established at Yalta. Nationally speaking there has never been such marked divisions between various political factions in peace-time. Philosophically and ideologically, we oscillate constantly between different extremes without managing to find a balance. The cause and remedy for this situation is to be located within man. To say that our society is in crisis is just a platitude. Man is a crisis. He is a tragedy. In him nothing is ever definitively said. Man must constantly find within himself the theme of a new discourse corresponding to a new way of being in the world, a new form of his humanity. Man is in crisis through the very fact that he exists. The originality of our age does not lie in this fact. The originality – the sad originality – of our age lies in the fact that for the first time man is retreating in the face of the implications which flow from would instinctively be his desire and will to resolve the crisis. For the first time man believes that he is overwhelmed by the problems. And indeed they do overwhelm him in as far as he believes they do, when in fact they originate within him, and fall within the range and scope of the solutions which he carries within himself.[…]

The old right in France has always been reactionary.[…] It is a type of attitude which has always proved sterile. History repeats itself but never serves up the same dish twice. It offers a wealth of lessons not because it allows us to know what will happen, but because it helps us rediscover the spirit which has produced a certain type of event. This what Nietzsche meant when, in the very moment he was preaching the eternal return, he declared `it is impossible to bring back the Greeks’. To spell this out: the Greek miracle cannot be repeated, but by allowing the spirit which produced will perhaps enable us to create something analogous. It is what we could define the regeneration of history.[…]

If egalitarianism is reaching its `final stage of affirmation’, what will succeed it will necessarily be something different. Moreover, if the present world is the materialization of the end of a cycle, it is equally clear that the only possible source of inspiration possible for what must be born can only be something which has preceded what has just occurred. The projective force for the future resides in the spirit of the remotest past. The `positive nihilism’ of Nietzsche has only one sense: one can only build on a site which has been completely cleared and levelled. There are those who do not want to construct (a certain kind of left) and do not want to rase to the ground (a certain right). In my view both these two attitudes are to be condemned. If a new right is to be brought into being we have to start from scratch. And given the time which has to be made up it will need about a century to succeed. Which means there is not a minute to lose.

[Le idee a posto (Akropolis, Naples, 1983), 76-81 (translation of Les idées à l’endroit [Ideas in their place] (Albin Michel, Paris, 1980).



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