Review by James J. O’Meara
Readers of Aristokratia I that were eagerly awaiting more — and who wouldn’t? — will be pleased that this esoteric but accessible project is continuing, with the latest results appearing in a new volume, Aristokratia II.
The nature of that project is ably explicated by the editor, K. Deva, in his opening contribution, “Unfashionable Observations: Philosophies Against Time.” While the title maintains a link to the subject of the first volume, Nietzsche, the subtitle alludes to Savitri Devi’s categorization of thinkers as of, above, or against Time. The writers and subjects of the Aristokratia group definitely see themselves as those who are working against Time, or more precisely, the times we live in.
Deva postulates that historical ideologies obey the same laws as physical objects, and as the democratic obsessions that have dominated the world since the French Revolution reach their most terrible and tenuous extremes (where, as he cleverly notes, they tend to decay into their opposites, liberty at home becoming total surveillance, democracy abroad becoming drone strikes), the pendulum will swing back from the failed democratic experiment to the most well-established form of human organization, aristocracy. Aristokratia aims to push it along.
But it should be obvious that the change cannot be promoted at the same level of democratic politics, vote-grubbing by means of some “aristocratic” party. The whole political machinery will be swept away when the people recognize a new, alternative elite. As Deva says,
To be the real and genuine replacement for democracy, the idea must [be] overturned at the philosophical and intellectual level wherein it is then supplanted by a strategic process of cultural integration and ideological insemination.
Thus, the task of Aristokratia: to produce those ideas, as well as the elite who instantiate them, to be in readiness for the great change that is inevitably to come.
Aristokratia, though esoteric and elite, wears its heart on its sleeve, or at least on its back cover, for all to see; a single, large font quotation:
We are in opposition to a certain mythos: the one that wants to turn spirituality and culture into a realm that is dependent on politics. We, on the other hand, claim that it is politics that must be dependent on spirituality and culture. — Julius Evola
This clearly states their intention — to oppose the time of democracy — and announces that with this volume the focus shifts from Nietzsche to the Italian esoteric philosopher and political theorist Julius Evola, a figure decisively influenced by Nietzsche but less well-known to the general public and certainly less acceptable to the PC Academy. Aristokratia aims to change that, not by convincing the later but by replacing it with a new elite, to whom the former will transfer their allegiance.
A series of three articles by Gwendolyn von Taunton forms a kind of spine for the rest of the contributions, beginning with her account of Evola’s esoteric political philosophy, “The Once and Future King.” It covers much the same ground as Furlong’s recent The Social and Political Philosophy of Julius Evola but it’s shorter, more user-friendly and you can get the whole issue of Aristokratia for about 1/10 the price!
Evola’s political theory is rooted in esoteric Hindu traditions, so another von Taunton essay introduces us to Kautilya, “perhaps the most cunning military and political strategist in history,” whose “political skullduggery . . . surpasses everything ever written by Machiavelli,” although the super-Italian patriot Evola might bristle at the comparison.
Hindu thought also deeply influenced Nietzsche, who, as von Taunton points out in “Nietzsche’s Olympian Synthesis,” may have rejected the Christian tradition but not the idea of Tradition itself. She goes on to link Nietzsche back to Evola by drawing an connection between Nietzsche’s famous Apollonian/Dionysian dichotomy and the exoteric/esoteric distinction Evola took over from the Traditionalists like Guénon and Coomaraswamy, as well as Kierkegaard‘s Religiousness Types A and B.
Von Taunton concludes that today Tradition, in order to survive, must abandon well-defined and well-behaved Apollonian modes and embrace “the revolutionary Dionysian and Promethean spirit” of Evola’s esoteric approach, or else “perish forever at the hands of the murders of God.”
Along this trajectory, other contributors deliver body-blows to various cultural murderers.
K. R. Bolton’s erudite account of the traditional social philosophy of Corporatism should put a end, finally, to the same moronic point made over and over by internet “conspiracy theorists” about the global corporation takeover, of all things, being “fascist, man, ‘cause Mussolini said he wanted a ‘corporate state.”
Colin Liddell has a merry time demolishing the rep of the great Liberal theorist Hobbes, easily unpacking his question-begging arguments and exposing him as a crypto-totalitarian and even a proto-terrorist (no wonder Deva can point to democracy ending in authoritarianism and terror).
Aristokratia is not afraid of controversy and contention, even among themselves! Boris Rad delivers a spirited piece against “Androgyny,” which ultimately appears to be the root of all evils, from Adam to the modern world. Though derived from Evola and his sources, by the time even alchemy and the hermetic tradition are thrown under the bus along with Christianity, one wonders whether the author of The Hermetic Tradition would still recognize himself here. And did not Evola himself (or one of his pseudonyms, writing an appreciation of Taoism reprinted in his collection Introduction to Magic) mock the “myth of manhood based on muscles and metallic strength” and counsel instead absorbing “the ambiguous virtue of the female”?
Aristokratia is not only about destruction, but rehabilitation; cultural figures of the past are restored to their proper places in our canon. Thus, both Plato and Pater are represented by reprinting a selection from the latter’s Plato and Platonism, while pulp master H. P. Lovecraft is called up from the Chthulian depths to explain why Evola’s cyclical view of history gives some people the creeps. (Readers who want more of the latter can find it in this writer’s The Eldritch Evola . . . & Others, forthcoming from Counter-Currents).
Aristokratia’s elite is not defined by race or ethnicity, either, and this second volume continues the laudable effort to bring to the largely Anglophone audience thinkers against time from other locales, such as Fernando Pessoa, Nicolas Gomez Davila, and Azsacra Zarathustra, whose intensely, and intentionally, esoteric though gets not only his own article but an interview and a review (the dexterous von Taunton, again).