Julius Casar Evola and American Civilization

Christopher Jones writes: The "Traditionalist" view is little known in the US.  So, I am including this amazing article by Julius Casar Evola (1898-1974) about American civilization which was written in 1945 but appears to be incredibly ahead of its time.  As a volunteer in the Italian mountain artillery, he cultivated the notion of the heroic that led him to a long lasting friendship with il Duce, Benito Mussolini.  Crippled in the defense of Vienna, in 1945, he spent the rest of his life confined to a wheel chair.  A philosopher on par with Spengler and Toynbee, he greatly influenced the rightist GRECE in France: Giorgio Almirante (founder of the MSI/Alleanza Nazionale)said of him, "our Marcuse, only better."  The Evola Foundation is reprinting his works so more will become available in English or French in the future.  As a "traditionalist" myself, I think Evola's notion of the creeping infiltration of traditional values is a major point that is reflected in the EU parliament's revolting behavior over Rocco Buttiglione, a well known Christian Democrat and professo who was praised not so long ago in WAIS.  Maybe it is so offensive for an America based forum that it won't be posted, however, I am sending it anyway in the runup to the presidential election.

 RH: Here is an excerpt from the Evola article "American 'Civilisation'":

The recently deceased John Dewey was applauded by the American press as the most representative figure of American civilisation. This is quite right. His theories are entirely representative of the vision of man and life which is the premise of Americanism and its 'democracy'. The essence of such theories is this: that everyone can become what he wants to, within the limits of the technological means at his disposal. Equally, a person is not what he is from his true nature and there is no real difference between people, only differences in qualifications. According to this theory anyone can be anyone he wants to be if he knows how to train himself.

This is obviously the case with the 'self-made man'; in a society which has lost all sense of tradition the notion of personal aggrandisement will extend into every aspect of human existence, reinforcing the egalitarian doctrine of pure democracy. If the basis of such ideas is accepted, then all natural diversity has to be abandoned. Each person can presume to possess the potential of everyone else and the terms 'superior' and 'inferior' lose their meaning; every notion of distance and respect loses meaning; all life-styles are open to all. To all organic conceptions of life Americans oppose a mechanistic conception. In a society which has 'started from scratch', everything has the characteristic of being fabricated. In American society appearances are masks not faces. At the same time, proponents of the American way of life are hostile to personality.

The Americans' 'open-mindedness', which is sometimes cited in their favour, is the other side of their interior formlessness. The same goes for their 'individualism'. Individualism and personality are not the same: the one belongs to the formless world of quantity, the other to the world of quality and hierarchy. The Americans are the living refutation of the Cartesian axiom, "I think, therefore I am": Americans do not think, yet they are. The American 'mind', puerile and primitive, lacks characteristic form and is therefore open to every kind of standardisation.

In a superior civilisation, as, for example, that of the Indo-Aryans, the being who is without a characteristic form or caste (in the original meaning of the word), not even that of servant or shudra, would emerge as a pariah. In this respect America is a society of pariahs. There is a role for pariahs. It is to be subjected to beings whose form and internal laws are precisely defined. Instead the modern pariahs seek to become dominant themselves and to exercise their dominion over all the world.

Your comments are invited. Read the home page of the World Association of International Studies (WAIS) by simply double-clicking on:   http://wais.stanford.edu Mail to Ronald Hilton, Hoover Institution, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Please inform us of any change of e-mail address.

Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: November 25, 2004