Alt-Right Essentials: A Handbook For Right-Wing Youth – Julius Evola
Given the vast array of reading material out there that is in some way relevant or of interest to members of the AltRight (or those who find themselves with an attraction towards AltRight sentiments and ideas), I have decided to introduce the ALTRIGHT ESSENTIALS category thereof here on AltRight.com. Comprising literature that, in my very humble opinion, should be read by anybody who self-identifies as right-leaning, this grouping should hopefully provide any budding AltRighter with a comprehensive reading list thus enabling them to get better acquainted with the different strands, philosophical currents and ultimate goals of those whose energy is pushing the movement forward. I shall also allow myself to write slightly longer, more in-depth pieces when it comes to reviewing such books.
A Handbook for Right-Wing Youth, a compilation of works written by Julius Evola revolving around the subject of politico-spiritual (but not necessarily biological) youth, is the first entry into the ALTRIGHT ESSENTIALS line-up and certainly makes for an excellent start.
For those unfamiliar with Evola and his writings, a little background may be required. Baron Giulio Cesare Andrea Evola (1898 – 1974) was arguably Italy’s chief anti-egalitarian, anti-liberal traditionalist philosopher prior to, during, and most notably after the Second World War. Effectively the human embodiment of the counter-Zeitgeist of post-War Italy, Evola expressed sincere support for many facets of the German National Socialist movement (to the point of working for the security services of the SS and having Heinrich Himmler amongst his personal acquaintances). Incidentally, he was far more critical of the Italian Fascists led by Mussolini describing the movement as being almost purely reactionary in nature and lacking an ideology and inner principles (prerequisites, Evola believed, for any traditionalist or idealist enterprise seeking to transcend the purely political and stave off retrogression back to an increasingly liberal post-War Europe). Evola saw Fascism proceeding largely from activism rather than any set of ideals.
So on to the book itself.
A Handbook for Right-Wing Youth is prefaced with a no-nonsense foreword by Gábor Vona who you can imagine, being one of the founding members of Jobbik, pulls absolutely no punches in describing the everyday right as ‘anti-Communist, anti-liberal, and pro-order’ all the while decrying the infiltration of the Right by left-wing ideals (a situation we have become all too familiar with). Vona states that this ‘infection’ is down to the Right’s use of left-wing tools to further its cause as its own are too weak. Hence, then, the need for the Right to form its own basis of ideology, in order to strengthen its own tools, and replace a rampant anti-leftism with a set of core values and principles it can call its own. It is precisely this attempt at ‘pure-Rightism’ that Evola discusses in A Handbook for Right-Wing Youth and that is epitomised in this compilation of his works.
Continuing the trend of thought set out in Vona’s foreword, Evola’s over-arching concept (aside from his definition of ‘Youth’, which is looked at below) is that of an uncompromising adherence to traditional, moral principles rather than any accommodation of the Left. Indeed, in understanding that, to a large degree, Democracy, Socialism, Radicalism and Communism all ‘feed each other’, Evola unapologetically asserts that the Right must set out strong and unambiguous principles as ‘there is no negotiating with subversion’ as ‘concessions made today mean condemning ourselves to being completely overwhelmed tomorrow’. Given the current political climate, one could make the case that Evola was bestowed the gift of foresight.
So how does this fit in with the AltRight? Well, aside from the principles outlined above which will clearly sit well with many, Evola touches on the need to sacrifice the cult of individualism for the greater good as we are set against each other if not. Simply put, it is commonly known that there are many different, perhaps mutually exclusive currents of thought running through the movement, yet certain irreconcilable differences are to be laid aside for the greater good (a lot of these disagreements are secondary and will be rendered void if we do not achieve the removal of cultural Marxism and other ills from the Western space first). However, the danger lies in such a unified movement being purely reactionary; that is to say purely based on an anti-Left rather than a pro-Right approach. What happens when the Left is defeated? Will the movement prove to be a house of cards and fall to pieces when infighting and dissent break out? To avoid this, Evola argues, a core ideology and set of principles needs to be clearly defined and agreed upon if it does not emerge organically, and this promises to be no easy task. Ultimately, Evola espouses his own take on such an ideology that proves to be unapologetically sure of itself and strives to answer the question ‘what becomes of the (real) Right when it no longer plays the role of opposition?’ Inescapably, it seems, his answer is to keep the Right and Left wholly separate – ‘Idea, order, elite, state, men of the Order – we should maintain the battle lines in these terms, for as long as possible’. One may ratiocinate that this is the essence of real Conservatism.
Additionally, it is worth addressing one of Evola’s main critiques of the post-war Right; namely, his deploration of the lack of historiographical writings that the Right could otherwise refer to (this is when compared to the Left who approach the perception of history from an anti-Traditionalist standpoint – ‘the Left has more clearly defined history as linear and progressive rather than cyclical and subject to subversion’ which is more how the AltRight would view it).
But let us stray away from how the AltRight can integrate Evola’s works to help further itself and analyse A Handbook for Right-Wing Youth in more detail. Often including a healthy dose of the abstract intertwined with the purely practical, the texts themselves will engage higher-level thinkers. One should see this as a positive given the ease with which the MSM has previously tarred nationalists, patriots and populists as being intellectually-challenged (or even ‘stunted’). The AltRight must have its Intelligentsia; one that can digest such works and adapt them to the current day. Alas, the Left has often won its victories through its subversive intellectuals and their paradigm-shifting thinking.
The message put forward by A Handbook for Right-Wing Youth is generally anti-Socialist as it depicts Socialism as being the big enabler of class warfare. Evola promulgates a higher ideal where everybody can be proud of their role in society precisely because they are made aware of how society needs them in order to function. They therefore are proud of their roles and perform their tasks to the best of their abilities for a greater cause. This is perhaps the only real case whereby Evola endorses a form Collectivism but ties it to a superior ideal rather than a purely political system whereby the ownership of land and the means of production are attributed to the people or the state. Consistently though, Evola proves himself to be opposed to absolute collectivism or individualism – in terms of the latter, Evola rejects the concept of ‘the person’ in an individualist sense (the atomistic, egalitarian and libertarian individual) instead understanding it as a dignity that must be earned and that has its place in a hierarchy). Thus, Evola rejects both extremes preferring free-thinkers whose moral values and ideas are sufficiently in harmony as to be conducive to establishing a society that unrelentingly aspires to better itself.
More generally, the compilation of Evola’s works covers a broad horizon of themes. The common thread shared by all, however, is that of Youth which Evola defines as being young not necessarily in age but in spirit; those who are still not yet so ground down by the concrete elements of day-to-day life that they have laid their morals and principles to one side and effectively thrown in the towel. Through Evola’s perceptions, ‘Youth’ becomes a mindset and will to action, yearning for the unconditional when pursuing an ideal (and here we return to the maintaining of the purity of the Right by refusing to dilute it with any leftist ideals).
Perhaps unwittingly (although, once again, one can not completely ignore his propensity for clairvoyance), Evola addresses several of our current cultural ailments. One such example is that of censorship & censure experienced by those who attempt to publish material (virtually or otherwise) or hold events that run(s) counter to the established leftist narrative. Examples of these abound. Evola’s answer? It was in exile and silence that Lenin formulated – systematically and lucidly – the doctrine destined to overthrow old Russia (it is my guess here that Evola may have been referring to The Development of Capitalism in Russia which expressed the idea that Capitalism had made socialist revolution possible in Russia and was finished by Lenin during his banishment to Shushenskoye), Hitler wrote Mein Kampf whilst incarcerated; it could well be, therefore, that this growing attack on the freedoms of expression by clamping down on potentially polemical writing and/or activism will one day prove to be counter-productive as the AltRight (for example) becomes the new counter-culture. These things, as we understand them, are cyclical and the wheel is gradually turning.
Passages in A Handbook for Right-Wing Youth also introduce us, to a lesser degree, to Evola’s thoughts on ‘the fallacy of tailor made creativity’ (one need only think of Hollywood, the music industry and the cultural Marxism that these institutions ever increasingly try to force-feed the masses), drug use and the dangers of gender differentiation gone haywire. You can see why Evola’s thoughts resound and are still relevant today. Interestingly, Evola broaches the topic of the SJW curse that besets the Western world describing it as a ‘revolt against ailing institutions of the system’ but with no higher ideal attempting to serve only the ‘lowest social strata to the detriment of others’. Whilst failing miserably, one might add.
Finally, the last intriguing demonstration of foresight I wish to touch upon in regard to the ideas articulated and expounded within A Handbook for Right-Wing Youth is the concept of the ‘revolution from above’ most clearly epitomised by the election of Donald Trump (although Evola states that this is done whilst disregarding ‘the below’ which was not the case with Trump’s election given he was put there by the people – one needs to bear in mind that Evola was a fervent supporter of monarchy and anti-democracy).
My one criticism of the writings in A Handbook for Right-Wing Youth (and not Evola himself where criticism is more common and varied) is that it is intimated here and there (and once explicitly stated) that Marxism had been purely relegated to political spheres rather than being present in the cultural during Evola’s later years. This may well have been the case during Evola’s life time (although I would disagree here) but, with some of the extraordinary foresight displayed in his writings, I was surprised at not feeling that at any point, in the compilation of works presented in A Handbook for Right-Wing Youth at least, was the threat of Marxism seeping into the cultural sphere addressed head on. This is a bit of a shame given that, had Evola addressed this, he may well have had some interesting thoughts and advice for us today. Nevermind, we don’t want to be spoon-fed our solutions anyhow.
So why is Julius Evola so easily dismissed by the mainstream? The answer lies in not only his ties to the failed nationalist regimes of the past (though he would of course be denounced for this today where the reigning climate is one of ostracising anybody who does not back equality and virtue signal all day long) but in some of his more controversial views. Here I would refer specifically to his alleged misogyny and belief that the true greatness of women lies solely in their subjugation to men. Whereas I believe we can applaud Evola’s acknowledgement of the largely evident biological and psychological differences between men and women (which pre-disposes them to different roles within society – especially the ‘well structured, organic, and hierarchical state governed by a principle of authority’ as envisioned by Evola), I personally struggle with some of his more extreme views such as the advocating of rape to ensure that men are not held hostage by their sexual desires which are, he believes, exploited by women. Too often have we heard of the caricature which depicts the lonely virgin basement-dweller surfing the internet whilst fantasising about such things. That Evola has penned a text (not included within the compilation being reviewed) in which he states that ‘Woman cannot be superior except as woman, but from the moment in which she desires to emulate man she is nothing but a monkey’ is perfectly acceptable given that the opposite would equally hold true. But I don’t believe I need to go into detail about why his more violently salacious ideas should be left well alone by any real adherent of the AltRight.
Fortunately, A Handbook for Right-Wing Youth looks more at Evola’s works and takes on a particular line of thought rather than analysing the man himself and the entirety of his ideas. Nobody is free from well-constructed criticism, nor should they be. As intelligent individuals, our challenge when reading the entirety of Evola’s oeuvre is taking the good and leaving the detrimental behind. This is where A Handbook for Right-Wing Youth serves a beneficial function in grouping together works by Julius Evola that are, by and large, able to support the forming of a doctrine for the AltRight whilst being free from anything that could jeopardise future success.
It has come to my attention that more recently, attacks have been launched on Evola as many of his ideas have been adopted by the AltRight. This has only increased upon the discovery that Steve Bannon is seemingly well acquainted with Evola’s works.
The main attack that I have seen launched on Evola by the mainstream press involves his anti-Semitism and supposed hatred of Christianity. In A Handbook for Right-Wing Youth, Evola’s only real mention of The Church comes when stating his goals; Evola underlines the idea that civilisation has to strive for a higher ideal and that this was originally dictated by the Church but is now something we have to define ourselves given the diminishing power and influence of the former. He also argues against the concept of egalitarianism, often supported by The Church, ‘as it keeps us all anchored to the lowest level rather than raising anybody to a higher position’ (here, as elsewhere, we can detect the influence of Nietzsche on Evola’s work). Other than that, anti-Semitism and anti-Church rhetoric make no memorable appearances in A Handbook for Right-Wing Youth, if any. This is probably a good thing given that entire books and papers could be (and are) dedicated to Evola the man and his opinions vis-á-vis institutionalised religion.
In conclusion, A Handbook for Right-Wing Youth clearly outlines Evola’s preference for the aristocratic over the democratic, but its principle benefit to us lies in its description of why the Right, up until this point, has failed to resurge (the MSI in Italy following World War II is often used as a case study by Evola to demonstrate the ongoing battle between Right and left). Evola goes on to describe the answer as lying within the ‘integral hierarchical idea’ and offers insights as to how this can be established. Whether you read the book and finish it agreeing with the essence of Evola’s thoughts on the aforementioned topics contained therein, or opposing the majority of them, I would wager that many of those who consider themselves to be part of the AltRight will find common ground with Evola (whether it be very little or a lot). Where the book shines is in its clearly defined portrayal of Evola’s principles and the manner in which these should be integrated by any movement that considers itself as part of the real Right. Food for thought at the very least.