| As performed by|
|By the powers of woo|
Baron Giulio Cesare Andrea Evola, known to the English-speaking world as Julius Evola (1898 – 1974), was an Italian political philosopher. His philosophy is "considered one of the most radically and consistently antiegalitarian, antiliberal, antidemocratic, and antipopular systems in the 20th century", and as such, he is often considered an important pillar of neo-fascist thought, though Evola himself opposed fascism in Italy and instead preferred to call himself a radical traditionalist. The alt-right and neoreactionary movements, as well as the more intellectual end of neo-Nazism, are big fans.
A prolific writer, his chief works are:
He was an eclectic mystic in the traditions of hermeticism and ritual magic, demonstrating a lifelong interest in the occult and Eastern religions, from his 1929 Introduction to Magic: Rituals and Practical Techniques for the Magus to 1972's Taoism: The Magic, the Mysticism.
He borrowed heavily from Helena Blavatsky's Theosophical notion of "root races", adopting a curious notion of evolution running in reverse, in which the ancient world was filled with enlightened beings such as are imagined to have dwelled in Atlantis:
“”Our starting point will be not the modern theory of evolution but the traditional doctrine of involution. We do not believe the man is derived from the ape by evolution. We believe that the ape is derived from man by involution. We agree with Joseph De Maistre that savage peoples are not primitive peoples, in the sense of original peoples, but rather the degenerating remains of more ancient races that have disappeared.
|—The Metaphysics of Sex, 1983, pps. 9-10.)|
According to Joscelyn Godwin, "the basic outlines of Evola's prehistory resemble those of Theosophy, with Lemurian, Atlantean, and Aryan root-races succeeding each other, and a pole-shift marking the transition from one epoch to another". The most valuable race to belong to is the Nordic European race, because they were descended from the Arctic paradise of the Hyperboreans.
The virtue of war
Evola believed that we were now living in the Kali Yuga, a dark age of materialism and spiritual degeneracy. As usual, his prescription involved a "spiritual rebirth" through submission to unreasoning tradition. The Italian philosopher of history Giambattista Vico provided Evola with the concepts of primordial heroic law, "natural heroic rights" and the meaning of the Indo-European Latin term vir as indicative of "wisdom, priesthood and kingship." Matriarchy and women's rights were evidence of regression, while patriarchy is a progressive force.
Given this, it is unsurprising that he romanticized war. In Metaphysics of War, he held that the political goals of war are mostly irrelevant; what made war such a good thing is that it aided the warrior in his path of spiritual self-realization. According to him, pacifism was materialistic, and made people comfortable and weak.
Sex: hold on to your semen
Evola was a devotee of Tantric and similar sorts of sex mysticism. It's important for men to hold on to their semen; this re-energizes them and moves them towards self-mastery. "Virya, or spiritual manhood, if lost or wasted results in death and if withheld and conserved leads to life"." He held confused and contradictory ideas about homosexuality, approving of it Platonically while saying that actual same-sex acts were materialistic and lead to a fall from grace.
Evola's politics flow from his mystical attitudes towards manliness and spirituality; he held that politics should be an act of spiritual discipline, and should look upward and beyond the self. He opposed democracy as a sort of modern "demagogic" politics. Its materialism is a result of the inversion of the natural order of things, in which disciplined warriors are in charge. He admired the Hindu caste system, Plato's Republic, and the medieval European social order as systems where people who concerned themselves with merely materialistic stuff like food and other commodities were subjugated to their betters in spirituality and prowess.
Like Oswald Spengler, he believed that decadent times had come when commercial interests became more powerful than religious or military interests in society. The current order, instead, places weak and materialistic merchants and businesspeople on top rather than the warriors or priests. He writes, "Opposite to the 'soldier' was the type of the warrior and the member of the feudal aristocracy; the caste to which this type belonged was the central nucleus in a corresponding social organization. This caste was not at the service of the bourgeois class but rather ruled over it, since the class that was protected depended on those who had the right to bear arms."
Evola was also a fierce anti-Semite. In many of his writings, he blamed the Jews for fostering the rise of the modern capitalist society and the spread of materialist values, and felt that anti-Semitism was a necessary part of any "racial rebirth". He wrote an introduction to an Italian translation of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, saying that he wasn't concerned with whether the actual text was authentic or a fabrication — to him, the essence of what it was saying was true, and that was all that mattered.
Relationship with fascism
While Evola's writings were hugely influential among post-World War II fascist sympathizers, Evola himself opposed fascism on a number of points. He never belonged to any capital-F Fascist parties, and in fact, he and the Fascist Italian government had several bitter disagreements that saw some of his work censored. Evola's anti-fascism was, however, not because of its xenophobic and warlike tendencies, but because he felt it was not spiritual, ascetic, or enlightened enough to fulfill the purpose of restoring a warrior wonderland. In his view, fascism was too preoccupied with mass movement politics, nationalism, bourgeois values, and demagoguery to serve as a true font for such restoration, and that, far from being a traditionalist alternative to liberal democracy and capitalism, it copied most of their qualities that it purported to oppose. In short, Evola was a guy who thought that the fascists didn't go far enough. He did, however, see some glimmer of hope in fascism's racial politics and militarism, and as such, he attempted to steer Fascist Italy in a direction more in line with his radical traditionalist views; he later concluded that Benito Mussolini's failure to adopt his ideas was largely responsible for the failure of the fascist "revolution".
Even though many of Evola's more political writings were censored in Fascist Italy, Mussolini did read his book Sintesi di Dottrina della Razza (Synthesis of the Doctrine of Race), personally meeting with Evola to praise it for presenting a uniquely Italian/Roman form of racialism distinct from that promoted by Nazi Germany. With Mussolini's backing, in 1941 Evola published a minor journal called Sangue e Spirito (Blood and Spirit) that further expounded upon such views. He also regarded the Waffen-SS as a model "racial elite", with its hierarchy, its rituals, its belief in "transcending" humanity, and its ethical requirements, writing that "[w]e are inclined to the opinion that we can see the nucleus of an Order in the higher sense of tradition in the 'Black Corps.'"
In 1951, the Italian government put Evola on trial on a charge of attempting to revive fascism. Evola was acquitted, since he was never a member of any fascist party or movement, and his actual writings were critical of fascism. The fact that he criticized fascism from a position even further to the right seems to have escaped them.
- The Julius Evola Network
- Works by Julius Evola at the Internet Archive
- Julius Evola, Ride the Tiger
- Joscelyn Godwin, Julius Evola: Theosophy and Beyond
- Franco Ferraresi, "The Radical Right in Postwar Italy," Politics & Society, 1988 16:71-119, Pg. 84
- Joscelyn Godwin (1996), Arktos: The Polar Myth in Science, Symbolism, and Nazi Survival. (Adventures Unlimited Press, ISBN 0-932813-35-6), pp. 57-61.
- "Man" as in 'male person'. In Latin this contrasts with homo, "human being"; hence English "virile", "virtue", etc.
- Julius Evola, The Path of Cinnabar (1963).
- Sanskrit; cognate with Latin vir.
- Julius Evola, "The Metaphysics of Sex", in Eros and the Mysteries of Love, (1958)
- Men Among the Ruins, pp. 193-204.
- Men Among the Ruins, pp. 217-224.
- Aaron Gillette. Racial Theories in Fascist Italy. London Routledge 2002.