(from "Men Among the Ruins")




[...] However, we must concede that, per se, an anti-bourgeois stance has a reason for existence. I do not mean bourgeois so much in the sense of an economic class, but rather its counterpart: there is an intellectual world, an art, custom, and general view of life that, having been shaped in the last century parallel to the revolution of the Third Estate, appear as empty, decadent, and corrupt. A resolute overcoming of all this is one of the conditions required to solve the present crisis of our civilization.


Thus, those attempts to react against the most extreme aspects of world subversion are very dangerous indeed, when they aim only at ideas, habits, and institutions of the bourgeois era. This amounts to supplying ammunition to the enemy. A bourgeois mentality and spirit, with its conformism, psychological and romantic appendices, moralism, and concerns for a petty, safe existence in which a fundamental materialism finds its compensation in sentimentality and the rhetoric of the great humanitarian and democratic words—all this has only an artificial, peripheral, and precarious life, no matter how resolutely it survives due to the inertia in wide social strata of many countries of the "free-world." Therefore, I claim that to react in the name of the idols, the lifestyle, and the mediocre values of the bourgeois world, as is the case with the great majority of modern supporters of "law and order," means the battle is lost from the start.


However, just as the bourgeoisie in previous civilizations was a socially intermediate class, situated between the warriors and the political aristocracy on the one hand, and the mere "people" on the other hand—likewise, there is a double possibility (one positive, the other negative) of overcoming the bourgeoisie in general—that of taking a resolute stand against the bourgeois type, the bourgeois civilization, and its spirit and its values.


The first possibility corresponds to a direction that leads even lower, toward a collectivized and materialist subhumanity, under the banner of Marxist realism—to social and proletarian values against the "bourgeois decadence". It is indeed possible to conceive a liquidation of everything that pertains to the conventional, subjectivist, and "unrealistic" world that was generally bourgeois, leading not higher but lower than what is proper to the normal ideal of personality. This happens when the final result is the mass individual, the "collective" of Soviet ideology, in the mechanized and soulless climate that accompanies it. In this case, the result of the liquidation of the bourgeois world may amount only to a further regression: we go toward what is below rather than above the person. It is the opposite of what happened in the great “objective” civilizations (to use Goethe's expression), which fostered anonymity and disdain for the individual, though against the background of superior, heroic, and transcendent values.


Likewise, if the striving toward a new realism is right, we can clearly see the mistake of those who regard only the inferior degrees of reality as real. This is when realism is essentially formulated in economic terms (as happens in communism). The same applies to some trends that have emerged in the arts or at the margins of philosophy, and that have sided with left-wing movements, assuming an anticonformist stance toward the actual society. One of these trends calls itself "neo-realism", while another is the radical existentialism inspired by Sartre and his coterie. In this philosophy, "existence" is identified with the most shallow forms of life; this kind of existence is separated from any superior principle, made absolute, and cherished in its anguished and lightless immediacy. This type of existentialism has its counterpart in psychoanalysis, a doctrine that divests and brands as unreal the conscious and sovereign principle of the person, considering instead as "real" the irrational, unconscious, collective, and nocturnal dimension of the human being: on this basis, every higher faculty is seen as derived and dependent. This also happens on the social and cultural plane, where Marxism endeavors to portray as mere "superstructure" everything that cannot be counted as social and economic processes. We are obviously in the same line of thought when existentialism proclaims the primacy of "existence" over "being", instead of acknowledging that existence acquires a meaning only when it is inspired by something beyond itself. Thus, there is an exact, visible parallel between such intellectual currents and revolutionary, sociopolitical movements, because what we are dealing with is the manifestation, in the individual domain, of what in the social and historical domain manifests itself as a subversive shift of power toward the masses, replacement of the superior with the inferior, and the removal of every principle of sovereignty that does not originate "from below". The existentialist and psychoanalytical "realism", together with similar trends, points to a human image that reflects such relationships in the individual; such an image appears as mutilated, distorted, and subversive. Thus, we may regard it as the result of some congeniality when many intellectuals of similar leanings sympathize with the social left-wing currents, even when the political leaders of these currents do not have the same feelings for them.


However, there is a second possibility: one may conceive a realistic view and a struggle against the bourgeois spirit, individualism, and false idealism that is more radical than the struggle waged against them by the Left, and yet oriented upward, not downward. As I have said in a previous chapter, this different possibility is contingent upon a revival of the heroic and aristocratic values when they are assumed naturally and clearly, without rhetoric or pomposity: in retrospect, typical aspects of the Roman and Germanic-Roman world have already exemplified it. It is possible to keep a distance from everything that has only a human and especially subjectivist character; to feel contempt for bourgeois conformism and its petty selfishness and moralism; to embody the style of an impersonal activity; to prefer what is essential and real in a higher sense, free from the trappings of sentimentalism and from pseudo-intellectual super-structures—and yet all this must be done remaining upright, feeling the presence in life of that which leads beyond life, drawing from it precise norms of behavior and action.


Everything that is antibourgeois in this sense does not converge toward the communist world; on the contrary, it is the premise for the emergence of new men and leaders, capable of erecting true barriers against global subversion, in correspondence with the establishment of a new climate, one that will be endowed with its own unique expressions even in terms of culture and civilization


It is therefore paramount to recognize clearly the opposition between the two above-mentioned possibilities or directions of the antibourgeois stance. This is especially true in Italy. In the past, Fascism adopted an antibourgeois stance and, as part of the renewal that it was supposed to usher in, desired the advent of a new man, who was supposed to break with the bourgeois style of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Unfortunately, this was one of the cases where Fascism never got past its own sloganeering; those elements in Fascism that, despite all, remained bourgeois or became bourgeois by contagion constituted one of its weaknesses. As far as the present is concerned, with rare exceptions the average Italian communist is nothing but a bourgeois who takes to the streets (Lenin himself said that a proletarian, left to himself, tends to become a bourgeois), just as a false Christian and a member of the Christian Democratic Party represent nothing more than the bourgeoisie in the temple. Even those who call themselves monarchists can only conceive of a bourgeois king. The worst evil for Italy is the bourgeoisie: the bourgeois-priest, the bourgeois-worker, the bourgeois-"noble", the bourgeois-intellectual. This type is inconsistent, a substance without form, in which there is no “above” and no “below.” The watchword or rallying cry should be: "Wipe the slate clean!" Only by following this dictum will the shift toward the wrong direction be averted.



click here to return to JuliusEvola.Net /text archive