Method of the True Dominators of History vs. Progressivism

(from "Men Among the Ruins")





We already know what the true foundation of progressivism is: the mirage of technological civilization, the lure exercised by some undeniable material and industrial progress that, however, is appreciated without paying much attention to its negative drawbacks, which often affect other, more important and valuable domains of human life. Those who are not subject to the predominant materialism of our times, upon recognizing the only context in which it is legitimate to speak of progress, will be on guard against any orientation in which the modern "myth of progress" is reflected. In ancient times the matter was very clear. In Latin, the word denoting subversion was not revolutio (which had a different meaning, as I have explained before) but rather seditio, or eversio, or civilis perturbatio, or rerum publicarum comnmutatio. Thus, the term "revolutionary," in its modern meaning, was rendered with circumlocutions such as rerum novarum studiosus, or fautor, namely one who aims at and promotes new things. According to the traditional Roman mentality, "new things" were automatically regarded as negative and subversive.


Thus, in regard to "revolutionary" ambitions it is necessary to clear the misunderstanding and to choose between the two aforementioned opposing positions, which determine two likewise opposing styles. Again, on the one hand there are those who acknowledge the existence of immutable principles for every true order and who abide by them, not allowing themselves to be swept along by events. Such people do not believe in "history" and in "progress" as mysterious super-ordained entities, but instead attempt to dominate the forces of the environment and lead them back to higher, stable forms: according to them, this is what embracing reality amounts to. On the other hand there are those who, having been "born yesterday," have nothing in the past, who believe only in the future and are committed to a groundless, empirical, and improvised action, deluding themselves that they are able to direct events without knowing or acknowledging anything that rises above the plane of matter and contingency; such people devise many systems, the end result of which will never be an authentic order, but instead a more or less manageable disorder. The "revolutionary" vocation belongs to this second line of thought, even when it does not directly serve the interests of unadulterated subversion. In this context, the lack of principles is supplied with the myth of the future, through which some dare to justify and sanctify recent destructions that have occurred, since in their view they were necessary in order to move ahead and to achieve new and better horizons (any trace of which, I am afraid, it is difficult to point out).


Once things are clearly seen in these terms, it is necessary to thoroughly examine one's "revolutionary" ambitions, all the while aware that if these ambitions are kept within their legitimate limits, one would then be a part of history's demolition squad. Those who are still standing upright in this world of ruins are at a higher level; their watchword is Tradition, according to the dynamic aspect I have just made evident. When circumstances change, when crises occur, when new factors come into play, where the previous dams begin to crack, these people know how to retain their sangfroid and are capable of letting go of what needs to be abandoned in order that what is truly essential may not be compromised. These people know how to move on, upholding in an impassive way the forms that are proper to the new circumstances, knowing how to assert themselves through them; their goal is to reestablish and maintain an immaterial continuity and avoid a groundless and adventurous course of action. This is the method of the true dominators of history, which is very different from and more virile than that of the merely "revolutionary."




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