This book has been called the most dangerous book ever written. Julius Evola was said to have inspired Mussolini, whose spiritual power he feared. It inspired Goering and Goebbels. More recently, it is often on the tongue of Aleksandr Dugan, founding philosopher of Vladimir Putin’s “Eurasianism” and the inspiration for the greatest war in Europe for 100 years.
I read this book, with that in mind, feeling a bit of trepidation. I am a liberal (in the philosophical not political sense) and therefore knew I was venturing into enemy territory. You always worry that you will find something so compelling it will ruin your life. Occult information? Hidden truths? That for which only the highest castes can aspire?
We seek out hidden things; it’s what treasure hunting is about and inspires us from infancy. Shining gold purified in the fires of time and neglect; a galant army of forgotten soldiers beyond the darkened ravine lying in wait against the sacred foe. Something ennobling and exciting.
Alas, I should not have been concerned. Perhaps my liberalism is so complete that the unshakable truths are just that. My liberalism of melancholy, as Fawcett once wrote, draped in truths that are worn and comfortable now from overuse but not yet rusty, not yet brittle. Democracy; liberty; self-determination; self-evident truths. These were exciting once. I guess what I am most grateful for is that Evola reminds us of them.
“Revolt” is full of the desperate past. Dark places of forest spirits and unknown retributions. Half-people bending to their betters in fear and revulsion. India’s caste system – the most wicked perpetuation of enslavement that ever existed, old and perfect in it’s oxygenless totality, glorified as the perfect social order to last a thousand more years. And solving the problem Evola (correctly) identified at the heart of liberalism? The ancient medicine proposed is far worse than the ailment – it offers no solution to the insecurities and grasping greed of now except “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”
I do understand the Nazis better, perhaps. Isn’t even the swastika an Indian symbol? Aren’t Aryans an ancient Indian master race? I cringe at the implications – that some were born to rule. I cringe for one simple reason – I come from the ruled classes. The shadow people Evola says may have a spirit but not a soul. Freed by the explosion of liberalism that gave my forefathers names and a destiny all their own.
Untouchable, we would have been, I would have been – because I ventured to dream, like the man in Ayn Rand’s Anthem. Yes, Evola would have hated Rand. For the same reason Obama hates her – for the same reason I love her.
“Revolt” is a perfect ode to the past, dark times Hobbes called “solitary, nasty, poor, brutish and short.” But there are a lot of Evola minions out there – those who would rob me of my soul. The Taliban. The Castro/Chavez communists. The Eurasianists. Who will like Evola’s world? Those who have assembled political power and have no compunctions against it’s arbitrary use.
No, there was nothing haunting and hidden here. Only darkness and unknowing and the terrible violence of the few. Sound familiar? It is never far…