Spiritual and Material Antisemitism, Julius Evola and the Threat of Contemporary Fascism

Kaushik Jayaram has written a cautionary essay on why fascism is on the rise the world over that should provoke angry remonstrances from the public but will likely be met with a withering indifference if not insipient and callous antipathy. Much has been written about fascism and the proliferation of fascist governments – including their connection to New Thought, Chaos Magick, Traditionalism and neo-pagan and esotericist subcultures – since Donald Trump was first elected to office. Correlation is not causation, of course, and the most that can be said about Trump’s 2016 presidential term is that it gave a certain cultish imprimatur to fascist governments elsewhere, including Italy, where, a century after the Fascists came to power, their lineal neo-fascist descendants rose to victory with the backing of the usual suspects – the middle class, broad sections of the urban working class, and the farmers – but, this time around, with a peaceful transition to power.

If it is true that fascism ‘strikes deep roots in the collective psyche’ even in places where it was vehemently disavowed, will such social coalitions continue to back neo-fascist parties (often masquerading as populism) and, if so, will this signal a rise in autocracy, eventually sounding the death knell of democracies around the globe? The shocking victory of the openly racist PVV, led by Geert Wilders, which won most seats in the recent Dutch elections and the manifesto of which calls for a ban on mosques and the Koran, has added to the world’s proto-fascist forces following Hungary and Poland and has given serious cause for concern surrounding the substantial gains made by far-right parties in Sweden, France and Germany. Concerns about the rejection of liberal democratic values in favour of majoritarianism have recently been reflected in the highly charged debate surrounding recent actions by the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to weaken the power of Israel’s judiciary. Jayaram asks, ‘Who would have imagined that in Italy after Mussolini, France after Vichy, and even in Germany, proto-fascist parties would not merely survive but thrive?’

The Princely Prophet of Hate

Julius Evola was one of history’s most influential esotericists and promoters of aristocratic, chauvinistic, traditionalist, hyper-masculinist and heroic values. A World War I veteran who was a mountaineer, a painter, a poet, an aficionado of far-Eastern religions, a translator who held elitist anti-democratic political ideals and a fanatical advocate of René Guénon’s idea of tradition, Evola became well-known in the 1970s and 1980s and popular with the far-right for his anti-democratic political tracts based on transcendent ideas. As a painter, he was involved in art movements such as Futurism and Dadaism, and later, as a writer, he became intensely attracted to occultism and philosophy. He wrote widely on Eastern religions, alchemy, sexuality, politics and mythology. He worked in Austria with the SS Ahnenerbe (Himmler’s organisation of Nazi intellectuals dedicated to proving the history and the biological superiority of the ‘Aryan’ race), escaped punishment after World War II, having only stood trial once, in 1951, for his fascist commentaries and then released for lack of evidence.

Born in Rome to a noble Sicilian family in May 1898, Baron Julius Evola, the Traditionalist, was steeped in occult traditions and loved practising Yoga (presumably without his ever-present monocle). Anna Momigiliano writes that Evola’s contempt for Christianity and embrace of nativism and Italy’s ancestral belief system, Roman paganism, didn’t prevent his ascendancy to the status of a far-right cultural hero. Even when his paganism was found to be coupled with Italian fascism and the development of his own brand of anti-Semitism, razzismo dello spirito, racism of the spirit, the alt-right didn’t blink; in fact, they jumped on the Evola bandwagon and are still clinging to it like the tail of Evola’s tiger. They even went so far as to join Evola in one of his foundational beliefs – that one of the key hidden truths of humankind revealed by occult knowledge is that there is a Jewish conspiracy to rule the world.

Benjamin Welton describes Evola as a ‘devout reactionary,’ which was ‘a term that Evola embraced and called “the true test of courage” in Men Among the Ruins.’ Welton also described him as a ‘natural creature of the opposition which helps to explain why Evola remained ‘a critic of Mussolini’s demagoguery and his appeals to mob politics’ even though he ‘always supported an idiosyncratic brand of Fascism throughout his life,’ declining, however, to join the National Fascist Party. That Evola disliked the Lateran Treaty of 1929, which recognised the full sovereignty of the Holy See in the independent state of Vatican City, comes as no surprise, given that Evola had engaged in a robust rebellion against his Catholic upbringing. The brand of fascism that Evola practised was both elitist and pagan, according to Welton. Welton is absolutely correct in citing Hugo Schmidt’s remarks in the publication, Standpoint, in 2013, when he writes: ‘the crucial argument of the 21st century will not be between Right and Left but between the democratic Right and the fascist Right.’

It is true, Welton remarks, writing in 2015, that ‘[t]he Left, which has been gutted because of the historic failure of Marxist socialism, is no longer the intellectual force that it once was, and with an increasingly pessimistic view among those caught on the lower end of America and Europe’s slow recovery from fiscal collapse, then fears that many may turn to neo-Fascism no longer seem so wild. Besides the appeal of thinkers such as Alain de Benoist and Guillaume Faye, several New Right parties in Europe (Belgium’s Vlaams Belang and France’s increasingly popular National Front) and India (most notably Shiv Sena and the RSS) have recently captured the world’s attention.’ These comments by Welton are even more prescient, given the rise of Donald Trump and his cult of MAGA. Unlike Evola, however, Trump is not a student of German idealism, Eastern doctrines, traditionalism, mysticism, Tantra, Hermeticism, and the interwar Conservative Revolution, although I am sure he would have no problem identifying himself, as did Evola, with part of an aristocratic caste that had been dominant in an ancient Golden Age, as opposed to the contemporary Dark Age (the Kali Yuga). Evola advocated following the left-hand path where aberrant and violent sexual powers could be harnessed for use in Dionysian acts of transgression against the modern world (Damon Zacharias Lycourinos). Now this left-hand path of Evola’s certain sounds, in spirit at least, like that of Adolf Hitler, although Trump keeps denying that he is a student of Hitlerism. However, the lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Welton recounts that in his most popular work, called Ride the Tiger, ‘Evola essentially gives up on the idea of ever reviving the “eternal order” of Tradition through political means. In its stead, Ride the Tiger serves as a manual for mentally and spiritually transcending the Kali Yuga – the “age of vice” and the fourth and final cycle of the world in the scriptures of the Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. Evola considered the modern world the Kali Yuga, and this theory is arguably his greatest and his most lasting contribution to the various segments of the “right-wing.”’ Joscelyn Godwin’s Foreword, written for Evola’s Men Among the Ruins, is excessive in its praise for the success of Evola’s newly minted presence among today’s far-right audience and amounts to a red-cheeked blush of the pen that’s difficult to read without a smirk:

Now that we have passed the end of Evola’s century, his voice is being heard more widely than it ever was in his lifetime. This is the ninth of his books to appear in English translation; many more have appeared in French and German, while in Italy even his innumerable journalistic writings are seeing the light again, and several periodicals are dedicated solely to his ideas. This revival of an obscure Italian thinker is a remarkable phenomenon. At the present rate, it will not be long before Evola begins to receive the tribute of doctoral dissertations, scholarly articles, and academic conferences, prior to being established in whatever place is eventually accorded to him in the history of ideas. But two things will always act like gravel in the cogs of the academic machine, which is usually able to reduce any historical subject to a pure and emotionally anodyne state. The present publication is an attempt to deal with, though not to remove, one of these obstacles. Evola is a rare example of universality in an age of specialisation. He was universal not only in the horizontal domain, as philosopher, engineering student, artillery officer, Dadaist poet and painter, journalist, alpinist, scholar, linguist, Orientalist, and political commentator – not a bad record of achievement before his fiftieth year – but in the vertical dimension as well.

It is this vertical dimension that constitutes one of the obstacles to the modern, agnostic approach, but which from Evola’s own standpoint gave sense and value to what otherwise might appear as the thinly spread talents of a ‘Renaissance man’ or dilettante. One might call it a spiritual dimension, if that adjective were not so exhausted and if it did not carry connotations of a religiosity that Evola despised. His was not the spirituality of piety and mysticism, but the aspiration to what he understood to be the highest calling of man: the identity of Self and Absolute. His route to it led initially not through religion (he soon discarded his strict Catholic upbringing), but through philosophy, not just book-learned but also lived with a white-hot intensity comparable to that which left Nietzsche a burnt-out wreck.

Evola is here described as a superman, the personification as Hegel’s Absolute, a man whose spirit of unconditional self-knowing has, through a life that epitomised masculine achievement, become in his very being, the reconciliation of all opposites, the very culmination of the dialectic unchained, the end of humankind. Evola is everything Nietzsche aspired to be but failed through his concept of the Übermensch, a man who does not merely follow or obey the laws of man but dares to follow the laws of God.

Adam Cordova’s meditation on Evola’s book on spiritual mountain climbing, Meditations on the Peaks, illustrates how transfixed many readers find themselves while reading Evola’s prose. Cordova describes reading Evola’s book as a transcendent experience ‘reached through the conquest of the icy extremes of the earth’s greatest heights.’ Himself a mountain climber, Cordova describes Evola’s insights as lasting truths. He writes how Evola ‘rejected bourgeois sentimentalism and romanticism in the wilderness of the mountain. For him, the peaks fostered an awareness of a power far vaster, which banishes such sentimentalism as mere construct and leaves the spiritually oriented climber in a state of heightened clarity.’ In Cordova’s view, Evola’s quest is about overcoming the ordinary and individual sense of one’s self such that contemplation and action are ‘two inseparable elements of an organic whole,’ and each is useless without the other. Evola is a sinister version of the transcendental poets or, in a more commercial idiom, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Evola’s philosophic journey began with his contempt of modernity when he came to abjure scientific progress that turned its back on mythical traditions and perennial wisdom and instead embraced the horrors of industrialisation and cultural miscegenation that Evola claimed were responsible for the drastic decline of European civilisation. As Benjamin R. Teitelbaum puts it, he feared that the future would usher in calls for equality and that the erasure of borders between nations, sexes and races would lead to ‘a gradual “Blackening” and feminising of the global population.’ Gillian Branstetter’s sweeping summation of Evola’s worldview comes with a dire warning:

Julius Evola believed humanity could reach specific ideals through a combination of racial eugenics and national purity. Inspired by Nietzsche’s concept of the Übermensch, Evola wanted the spiritual awakening of mankind to result in a new super-race, one that would reject the excesses of consumerism and modern life…. Evola gave the most clear connections of this belief system to an apocalyptic vision of humanity. While his political and racial philosophies might seem the most politically prurient, we should not gloss over the ways Evola has inspired a worldwide apocalyptic cult disguising itself as populist nationalism.

As noted by Alexander Reid Ross, Evola was not a peripheral traditionalist figure who influenced fascism; he openly endorsed and supported fascism. In 1930, Evola advocated for a more radical and absolute form of fascism, emphasising pure force. In 1930, Evola proclaimed, ‘We would like a more radical Fascism, more fearless, a really absolute Fascism, made of pure force.’ Collaborating with the infamous Blackshirt leader Roberto Farinacci, a key member of the National Fascist Party before and during World War II and known for brutal actions such as administering castor oil to victims, Evola co-edited the publication Il Regime Fascista. Reid reports that in a letter addressed to the Fascist cultural minister, Evola explicitly expressed his desire to impart an anti-Semitic orientation to Fascist spirituality. Actively engaged in the fascist movement, he aimed to propel it beyond populist boundaries, identifying himself as a ‘superfascist’ dissatisfied with conventional approaches. Evola’s commitment to extreme violence served as a catalyst for a generation of fascists, leading to merciless assaults on civilian infrastructure that resulted in hundreds of innocent casualties during the notorious Years of Lead, also known as the Anni di Piombo.

Morgan Jones writes that in his early 1928 work, Pagan Imperialism, Evola advocated for a revival of the spirit of ancient Rome. However, his intellectual palette extended far beyond this limited revivalism, as he incorporated elements from diverse spiritual traditions, notably drawing inspiration from Hinduism’s revered text, The Bhagavad Gita. This artful cultural tapestry laid the foundation for his 1934 publication, Revolt Against the Modern World, subtitled Politics, Religion and Social Order in the Kali Yuga. Here, the Kali Yuga, representing Hinduism’s tumultuous age presided over by the vengeful demon Kali, symbolised the final stage in the Hindu cosmological cycle, marked by intense conflict. In his assessment, Evola deemed the contemporary world entrenched in such an age.

Evola continued his exploration until he died in 1974. His last notable contribution came in Ride the Tiger in 1961. According to Jones, the titular ‘tiger’ metaphorically represented liberal modernity. The book offered counsel in the form of a strategic withdrawal from political engagement, encapsulated by the debated concept of ‘apolitia.’ It advised cultivating personal preservation of traditional values within oneself, enabling individuals to coexist with the metaphorical tiger of modernity without succumbing to its corrupting influences.

Evola is perhaps best known today for his relationship to the modern phenomenon of Eurofascism. As noted by Thomas Sheehan, in recent years, a subtle yet consistent rise of Eurofascism has taken root among the youth in Italy, France, Germany, Belgium and Spain. This phenomenon, identified by analysts, represents a compact but financially backed and globally organised network of far-right groups. These groups draw ideological inspiration from thinkers such as Julius Evola and Alain de Benoist. In its more extreme manifestations, Eurofascism embraces violence and terrorism to rescue Europe from what many perceive as the threats of both capitalism and Marxism. The movement’s growth signifies a concerning trend within the younger generations across these European nations.

After achieving moderate success in the 1940s, this once obscure pagan cult figure now claims rock star status among the far-right. Robert Deam Tobin notes that, in contemporary times, Italy’s CasaPound and Hungary’s Jobbik party find inspiration in his ideology. He enjoys avid support from far-right publications in Hungary (Arktos), Germany (Antaios) and Russia (Velesova Sloboda). Martin Sellner, an Austrian Identitarian, expresses admiration for him on Twitter, while Richard Spencer, an American Alt-Right figure, actively promotes his ideas. Additionally, former Trump adviser Bannon champions his perspectives. Evola shapes his analysis of race as a celebration of diversity. By asserting that racial distinctions are rooted in culture and spirituality rather than mere biology, his followers argue that their stance is not overtly racist. Tobin further notes that Evola’s imaginative musings about sun-loving Hyperboreans from the North and their Aryan descendants provide a gateway to explorations of Atlantis, neopaganism, Eastern religions and New Age thought, lending his writings a countercultural flair. His misogynistic views on gender, influenced by Otto Weininger and Hans Blüher, highlight the disparities between the sexes. And, finally, Tobin writes that Evola assigns men and women to very traditionalist roles, men in ascetic and warrior roles, while women are categorised as lovers or mothers, a concept that holds a subtly erotic allure for many readers.

Jones comments that, in the midsummer of 2014, the well-known American protofascist, Steve Bannon, unveiled his connection to Evola and traditionalism, a revelation that would later shape his pivotal role in orchestrating Donald Trump’s triumphant presidential campaign two years hence. Like a chess master deploying the Queen’s Gambit with preternatural ease, Bannon seamlessly transitioned from campaign manager to a prominent position in the White House. Bannon maintained an ideological kinship with Alexander Dugin, the Russian Traditionalist and Eurasianist geopolitician aligned with Putin and who is often seen as Putin’s Svengali. Eventually, as Jones commentates, Evola’s influence extended beyond the White House, infiltrating realms closer to the mainstream. Metaphorically, Evola’s ideas became a thread woven into the fabric of political discourse. On social media platforms, Joe Rogan discusses the Kali Yuga on Instagram, while the Tucker Carlson-associated writer ‘Raw Egg Nationalist’ delves into Evola’s concepts on Twitter. The once-peripheral ideologies now resonate in diverse spheres, reflecting a broader cultural shift towards traditionalist ideas or what some would describe as proto-fascism.

Jones notes that Evola is often discussed alongside Oswald Spengler, the German philosopher who cast a captivating intellectual spell across interwar Europe, arguing that civilisations undergo a seasonal cycle of a thousand years and are subject to growth and decay like biological species. As such, Evola occupies a distinguished place in the select echelons of thinkers deemed ‘required reading for today’s intellectual radical right,’ according to historian Mark Sedgwick. Spengler, celebrated for his magnum opus, ‘The Decline of the West,’ a literary diptych unveiled in 1918 and 1922, had found a translator in Evola during the 1950s when he rendered the work into Italian. Jones describes how Spengler’s opus unfolds a poetic theory wherein cultures unfold as living organisms, navigating cycles of ascent, potency and decadence with rhythmic regularity. A dance of civilisations, choreographed by cyclical rhythms, mirrors Evola’s dangerous ideological and conceptual choreography.

Jones describes Evola’s embrace of the spiral of cyclical history that weaves strands from Hindu time cycles and the tapestry of the French Traditionalist René Guénon, a contemporary luminary and profound influence. The concept of history as a cycle, not an unwavering and linear progression, echoes through conservative intellectual literature, resonating, as Jones points out, in works like those of amateur historians William Strauss and Neil Howe, whose ‘The Fourth Turning’ maintains that we are at the tail end of a historical cycle of American history. During this time, a hero/leader known as the Grey Champion, a messianic strongman figure (aka Donald Trump), will emerge and prevent the United States and Judeo-Christian and Western civilisation from destruction. This book inspired the play’ Heroes of the Fourth Turning,’ or more contemporarily, for Ross Douthat’s ‘Decadent Society.’ The intellectual tides, ever cyclic, sweep through the corridors of thought, leaving imprints that echo across epochs. Civilisations thus rise and collapse into dust.

Mark R. Reiff reminds us that Evola’s theory of historical regression is, in effect, ‘an application of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s idea that “one can build only in a space which has been previously razed to the ground.”’ Reiff suggests that Trump could hold a similar belief when he makes comments such as this: ‘When the economy crashes; when the country goes to total hell, and everything is a disaster; then you’ll have riots to go back to where we used to be when we were great.’ He also warns that, in this context, ‘not taking Trump’s violent rhetoric more seriously seems dangerous indeed.’

Jones issues a warning regarding Evola’s influence on the politics of accelerationism. Accelerationism, a perspective commonly attributed to cultural theorist Nick Land and embraced by neo-reactionary blogger Curtis Yarvin and elements of the radical right, posits that the current age is on the brink of collapse due to its inherent flaws and organisation and political contradictions. According to this viewpoint, specific actions can expedite the arrival of the next era amidst the disintegration of existing conditions. For adherents of Evola’s teachings, these contradictions often revolve around issues like the legitimacy of democracy or the rejection of a racial hierarchy in intelligence. The strain of militant accelerationism, frequently influenced by Evola, plays a significant role in the ideologies of fringe neo-Nazi factions such as the Atomwaffen Division in the United States and others within the Iron March network. These groups advocate and carry out acts of political violence as a strategy to hasten the downfall of contemporary liberal society and are extremely dangerous to the reproduction of the current civil commons, planting a demon seed into the organs of contemporary democratic nations.

Here is how the Southern Poverty Law Centre describes the Atomwaffen Division:

AWD is organised as a series of terror cells that work toward civilisational collapse. Its members, who can be fairly described as accelerationists, believe that violence, depravity and degeneracy are the only sure way to establish order in their dystopian and apocalyptic vision of the world. AWD’s chief influences are James Mason, Charles Manson, Joseph Tommasi and William Pierce. Their strategy for promoting and establishing national socialism can be traced back to The Order, the violent and capable white supremacist terror cell founded by Robert Jay Mathews in the 1980s, Charles Manson, Joseph Tommasi and William Pierce. Their strategy for promoting and establishing national socialism can be traced back to The Order, the violent and capable white supremacist terror cell founded by Robert Jay Mathews in the 1980s.

Jones describes the popular far-right book Bronze Age Mindset as being heavily influenced by Evola. He writes:

Of the contemporary texts most clearly influenced by Evola, one is Bronze Age Mindset, the political manifesto of the anonymous writer Bronze Age Pervert, and a book that holds not insignificant sway over the young American right. (As the American conservative writer Nate Hochman puts it: ‘Every junior staffer in the Trump administration read Bronze Age Mindset.’) The clue to the book’s content is in the title: it focuses on the supposed lost connection to the ancient and vital, the core of human potential, brought about by the ‘bvgmen’ of liberal modernity. Yet, it’s not just in the general ideas about ‘retvrn’ (the letter ‘u’ is modernist tripe) that Bronze Age Pervert’s Evolaist influences become apparent; his views on biology and evolution also tack closely to those Evola expresses in Eros and the Mysteries of Love: The Metaphysics of Sex (1958).

There, the Italian argued that attempts to explain human sexuality in biological or procreative terms, rather than in ritual or transcendental terms, is part of the broader quest to separate us from the higher parts of ourselves. As such, Bronze Age Pervert rejects the idea of evolution. ‘Biology,’ he writes, ‘gives little opportunity for the kind of thinking that penetrates the mystery of nature’; ‘Darwinism is the product of bug-thought. In the end, it won’t show you the way out of the prison of the ages.’

The maleficent esotericist Evola had a complex relationship with both Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini during the violent upheavals of World War II. While Evola was not an official member of the Fascist or Nazi parties, he was associated with their ideologies and movements, and his views slickly aligned with certain aspects of their authoritarian regimes. Yet some regarded him as an eccentric outsider.

Evola’s relationship with Mussolini’s Fascist government in Italy was more direct. He expressed support for certain fascist principles of Mussolini and was briefly associated with the regime. However, Evola’s dissatisfaction with what he perceived as the inadequacies of Italian fascism led to a gradual distancing from Mussolini’s government. Evola’s association with Hitler and Nazi Germany was less formal but still notable. He admired certain aspects of Nazi ideology, particularly its emphasis on the idea of a traditional, hierarchical order and the rejection of liberal democracy as a functional entity. Evola’s antisemitic views and his belief in a racial hierarchy also aligned with some of the most damning and sickening core tenets of Nazi ideology.

Despite these ideological affinities, Evola’s relationship with the Fascist and Nazi regimes was not without tension. He critiqued aspects of Italian Fascism and German National Socialism that he deemed insufficiently radical or true to his esoteric and spiritual worldview. Evola was more aligned with a spiritual and elitist interpretation of traditionalism, which often put him at odds with the more instrumentalised rationality and pragmatic and politically-oriented goals of the Fascist and Nazi regimes. Jones notes that Evola and his fascist followers are not people whose influence is anything other than cancerous. However, we are remiss if we fail to understand that what they describe, and what their writing purports to offer, is in its way utopian, presenting the idea of a different and complete world.’

After World War II, Evola distanced himself from the failures of fascism and sought to reinvent himself as a traditionalist philosopher (see the Evolaist influences on Tolkien-inspired’ hobbit camps’ of Italy’s modern fascist movements). Despite his earlier associations, he was not subject to the same level of prosecution as some prominent fascist figures, and he continued to write and influence certain intellectual circles until he died in 1974. He is still admired by many functioning fascists, such as Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn party and Steve Bannon. Jones expresses the longings of those, like Bannon, who still fawn over Evola’s ideas: ‘Wouldn’t we all like to see the world with fifth-century eyes? To have rituals that bind us to eternity, to span deeper and truths larger than ourselves, and to not have to commute and wait for things to load and feel our lives to be small, disconnected slivers’?

Evola had a complex and nuanced relationship with the World War II fascist and Nazi regimes. While he shared certain ideological affinities, his intellectual pursuits and esoteric beliefs often set him apart from the political machinations of Mussolini and Hitler. Evola’s legacy is one of a controversial figure who straddled the worlds of philosophy, mysticism and political ideology during a tumultuous period in European history. When the fascists came to power in Italy in 1922, Evola jumped on board and regularly contributed to the regime’s mouthpiece magazine, Difesa della Razza (Defence of the Race). He devised his brand of antisemitism, which he called razzismo dello spirito, racism of the spirit. Evola regarded Benito Mussolini as his great fascist hope for the rebirth of ‘traditional’ society, ‘even authoring for the dictator a doctrine of ‘spiritual racism’ that would rank the world’s races according to their closeness to the ‘perennial’ tradition.’ The Second World War saw Mussolini embrace ‘scientific’ racism instead and champion the rhetoric of ‘progress.’ Evola saw this as a betrayal. Yet elements of Evola’s philosophy, known as ‘traditionalism,’ lay dormant, waiting to be picked up again by disaffected Italian youth decades later.

According to Ross, Traditionalist ideology infiltrated the Catholic Church in South America, particularly in Brazil, where Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, a leader of Catholic Action, established Tradition, Family, Property (TFP) in 1960. This group strongly opposed Vatican II and priests aligned with leftist ideologies. The influence of TFP extended beyond Brazil, reaching the United States in 1973, where it found support among far-right figures associated with the John Birch Society and the Religious Right, forming the ‘New Right.’ Simultaneously, other factions emerged, such as the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement (ORCM) led by Fenton and the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) founded by the Roman Catholic Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, a Vichy collaborator. As Catholic traditionalism gained global traction, TFP chapters expanded their influence in South America. In Argentina, for instance, the spiritual message of military dictatorships in 1976 adopted ‘Tradition, Family, and Property’ as its slogan. During the tumultuous Dirty Wars, the Argentine far-right, supported by sadistic paramilitary forces known as Alianza Anticomunista Argentina (the Triple A), orchestrated brutal campaigns against leftist guerrillas. This paramilitary group, organized by the sinister occult fascist Jóse López Rega, also known as ‘the Argentine Evola,’ had connections to Evolian terrorists, linking back to the Anni di Piombo. Ross maintains that in the crucible of Argentinian politics, where Bergoglio’s reformist spirit ripened, Pope Francis II emerged, a phoenix from the flames.

Yet, amidst the shadows of SSPX, ORCM, and TFP, dissenting voices, like tempered steel, were forged in the fiery embrace of the Cold War, their echoes persisting in the corridors of power. In the annals of 1984, Venezuela, in a thunderous decree, cast a ban upon the organization, accusing them of plotting the demise of Pope John Paul II. Whispers of paramilitary camps, where darkness embraced training rituals, danced through the air. Allegedly, the Pope’s image became a haunting target, a symbol marred in the crosshairs of controversy. Today, the debate rages on, casting a spectral light on whether the Venezuelan opposition houses members of the enigmatic TFP. From what I know of the Venezuelan opposition, it wouldn’t surprise me. Ross conveys an ugly scenario where, across continents, these clandestine networks weave a nasty net, connecting with far-right traditionalists in Europe. The Front National’s dance with the SSPX-linked lobbying force, Civitas, unfolds openly, a waltz of influence and alignment. Beatrix von Storch, a figure within AfD’s embrace, finds kinship with the director of the European TFP franchise, Federation Pro Europa Christiana.

Evola’s political views were often more extreme than the fascist mainstream of his day, and he was able to connect fascist ideology and Nazi racial theories, being ‘one of the early Italian proponents of an uncompromising antisemitic stance.’ According to Peter Staudenmaier, ‘Evola maintained friendly contacts with Nazi race ideologues Ludwig Ferdinand Clauß and Johann von Leers. As his appreciation for Nazi visions of Aryan glory grew, Evola came to admire the SS as an elite order representing superior values. An increasing kinship with Nazism, which had supposedly restored Germany to its original majesty and reclaimed the inheritance of Nordic paganism, counterbalanced his doubts about its all too modern political character.’

Evola’s ‘spiritual racism’ that produced a grim entwinement of biological and spiritual beliefs about race, ‘posited a fundamental dichotomy between the Jewish spirit and the Aryan spirit, expressed in cultural, intellectual and physiological terms’ and argued ‘that standard forms of ‘materialist’ racism were not up to the task of confronting the ‘Jewish menace’ in its full depth and breadth.’ Biological racism focused only on superficial traits and could only be a starting point for a much grander antisemitism; in and of itself, it remained woefully ‘insufficient’ for developing the Third Reich’s much-touted racial program. Hence, spiritual racists demanded more radical measures to be put into effect in handling its monumental plan to deal with the Jews. Staudenmaier concludes that Evola’s ‘syncretic re-working of the Aryan myth lent a grandiose sense of urgency to familiar antisemitic clichés while pressing for an intensification of concrete racial policies. He borrowed freely from disparate traditions, from religious anti-Judaism to scientific racism, from anthropology and archaeology to modern antisemitic conspiracy theories, from any source that could help construct a compelling image of the fearsome Jewish peril.’

The range and amplitude of Evola’s hatred of the Jews knew no bounds. His fundamental assumptions ‘were shared across ideological boundaries: Jews routinely appeared as the personification of materialism, rationalism and abstract thought, the antithesis of the creative Aryan life force, in fascist as well as Nazi contexts, in Christian as well as pagan forms of antisemitism, in spiritual as well as scientific currents of race thinking.’ For Evola, materialist science could not fully answer the question of race in a way that captured the assumed superiority and glorious transcendence of the Aryan race. Race, according to Evola, could not be restricted to ‘heritable’ factors that were ‘principally genetic’ since ‘protecting biological purity’ was just an initial step. The more crucial step was averting ‘spiritual bastardisation.’ As Staudenmaier chillingly reveals, ‘It was therefore crucial to extend racial vigilance to the spiritual dimension because ‘despite their bodily race,’ even those who appeared physically Aryan ‘could be Jewish in soul and in life.’ Evola’s ‘spiritual antisemitism’ merely contextualised forms of antisemitism that reflected ‘the fear of a potential Jew lurking inside every gentile’ that already has a long and bloody history.

Staudenmaier cites George Mosse’s classic study Toward the Final Solution, which revealed the emergence of modern racism to be partly based on ’a growing emphasis on ‘the ‘inner man’ which would eventually lead to racial judgments about man’s soul.’ Consequently, according to Staudenmaier, Hitler perceived ‘Jewishness’ as a term that was not to be confined to ‘racial Jews’ but to be applied to non-Jews’ who sympathised with ‘Jewish’ inventions (democracy, socialism, internationalism, etc.).’ These non-Jews were classified as ‘spiritual Jews,’ which ‘made Hitler’s antisemitism far more flexible and destructive than the purely racial antisemitism of his radical predecessors and contemporary followers.’ Fascist ‘spiritual antisemitism’ was often seen as less extreme than the biological antisemitism of the ‘final solution’ of the Third Reich – a sentiment that could not be further from the truth.

Kaushik Jayaram weaves a cautionary tapestry of violence and fascism, warning of a rising tide of fascism that elicits not just mere disagreement but the fiery protests of an impassioned public. Yet, this sombre message, akin to an elegy, may be met not with the thunderous outcry it warrants but rather a cold indifference or even a callous aversion. Since the ascension of Donald Trump and the subsequent proliferation of fascist regimes, a narrative has unfolded, linking them in a dance of correlation, if not causation. Trump’s electoral saga, a mere chapter in this unfolding tale, seemingly bestowed an unwarranted blessing upon Italy’s fascist offspring who, akin to a phoenix, rose to triumph with the familiar backing of the middle class, urban labourers and farmers. Unlike Trump’s reaction to the 2020 election, it was a peaceful transition to power. In this political swampland, opines Jayaram, where fascism’s roots run deep, a disavowal of its tenets has not proven sufficient to quell its resurgence. The question lingers like a ghostly whisper: will coalitions, mirroring those of yesteryears, continue to rally behind neo-fascist banners masked as populism? If so, does this foretell the ascent of autocracy, tolling the mournful dirge of democracies worldwide?

As mentioned earlier, Evola’s perspectives are woven from threads of traditionalism, esotericism and a social order shaped by oppressive hierarchies. His views were complex and rooted in his interpretation of traditionalism, esotericism and the grand ideal of a hierarchical social order. What is most original in his work is the crucial role of spirituality in defining the hierarchy of individuals and races. He believed in a spiritual aristocracy, where certain individuals or races were considered more spiritually evolved. Picture a spiritual aristocracy, where certain races or individuals possess an innate spiritual consciousness capable of achieving a transcendental ideal. He believed there were spiritual and metaphysical dimensions to race, and he often invoked the idea of a ‘caste system’ that reflected a cosmic order. In this context, the term’ spiritual racism’ could be understood as the belief that certain races possess inherent spiritual qualities that place them in a higher position within this cosmic hierarchy.

It is worth underscoring that, for Evola, this hierarchy was not solely based on material or biological factors but on spiritual and metaphysical qualities, reflecting a belief in a hierarchical cosmic order where certain races were considered more spiritually advanced. For Evola, this hierarchy wasn’t a mere product of biological clay or material mould. Instead, it rose like ethereal pillars, anchored in the spiritual and metaphysical realms. His advocacy for nuanced racialism transcended mere flesh and bone, envisioning races as vessels carrying spiritual and metaphysical essences. In his philosophical gallery, he painted the concept of a ‘caste system,’ a reflection of a cosmic order where each stroke delineated a role in the grand celestial movement towards racial purity. This perspective, however, dances on a tightrope, criticised for its potential to rationalise discriminatory practices, a paradoxical symphony of cosmic ideals and earthly pitfalls. It’s important to note that Evola’s views on race and hierarchy have been widely criticised for their racial essentialism, elitism and potential to justify discrimination.

Evola’s philosophy of ‘spiritual’ racism, with its metabiological aspects, was developed in contrast to the ‘materialist’ racism that predominated within National Socialism. Since fascism had already shown the way toward the ‘superiority’ of the ‘Aryan peoples,’ Evola ‘cautioned that biological theories of race were not aristocratic enough and did not grasp true racial nobility.’ As Peter Staudenmaier reveals, Evola’s ‘spiritual antisemitism’ wove together disparate threads, constructing an image of a fearsome Jewish menace. It was no benign variant of antisemitism but a potent and toxic force that borrowed from traditions as varied as religious anti-Judaism, scientific racism, anthropology and archaeology. The canvas of Evola’s hatred, stretching across ideological boundaries, painted Jews as embodiments of materialism, rationalism and abstract thought, opposing the Aryan life force. Race, according to Evola, could not be restricted to ‘heritable’ factors that were ‘principally genetic’ since ‘protecting biological purity’ was just an initial step. The more crucial step was averting ‘spiritual bastardisation.’ As Staudenmaier chillingly reveals, ‘It was therefore crucial to extend racial vigilance to the spiritual dimension because ‘despite their bodily race,’ even those who appeared physically Aryan ‘could be Jewish in soul and in life.’

Evola’s ‘spiritual antisemitism’ merely contextualised forms of antisemitism that reflected ‘the fear of a potential Jew lurking inside every gentile’ that already had a long and bloody history. Staudenmaier cites George Mosse’s classic study Toward the Final Solution, which revealed the emergence of modern racism to be partly based on ‘a growing emphasis on ‘the ‘inner man’ which would eventually lead to racial judgments about man’s soul.’ It is a thinly veiled attempt to legitimise discrimination and prejudice under the guise of higher consciousness. By attributing spiritual significance to race, he not only distorts spiritual teachings but also perpetuates harmful stereotypes and fosters a heated environmental temperature of exclusion and hatred. It is crucial to recognise that spirituality should be a unifying force, promoting love, compassion and understanding among individuals regardless of their racial or ethnic background. Evola’s ideology stands in stark contrast to these values, seeking to create a false hierarchy that places one race above another based on distorted and prejudiced interpretations of spiritual concepts. Moreover, the historical context in which Evola’s ideas emerged cannot be ignored. His association with fascist ideologies and sympathies raises serious concerns about the intentions behind his spiritual racism. History has shown us the devastating consequences of ideologies that seek to dehumanise certain groups based on race, and Evola’s ideas dangerously flirt with these dangerous precedents.

While Evola trucked in antiegalitarian, antiliberal, anti-democratic and antipopular systems of government, his works remained relatively dormant after World War II. Evola distanced himself from the failures of fascism and sought to reinvent himself as a traditionalist philosopher. Despite his earlier associations, he was not subject to the same level of prosecution as some prominent fascist figures, and he continued to write and influence certain intellectual circles until he died in 1974. But his notion of spiritual racism lives on since it also points to non-Jews who support the cultural, scientific and political contributions of Jews. According to Staudenmaier, Hitler perceived ‘Jewishness’ as a term that was not to be confined to ‘racial Jews’ but to be applied to non-Jews who sympathised with ‘Jewish’ inventions (democracy, socialism, internationalism, etc.). These non-Jews were classified as ‘spiritual Jews,’ which ‘made Hitler’s antisemitism far more flexible and destructive than the purely racial antisemitism of his radical predecessors and contemporary followers.’ Fascist ‘spiritual antisemitism’ was often seen as less extreme than the biological antisemitism of the ‘final solution’ of the Third Reich. But this was surely not the case.

Evola, an alchemist of ideas, developed a philosophy embracing aristocracy, chauvinism and heroic valour tied to spiritual and metaphysical considerations. Eschewing metabiological traits and focussing on the nobility and aristocracy of the fascist esprit de corps has only added deep blood stains to the slaughter bench of history. Yet, like dormant seeds awaiting a season’s return, Evola’s sinister ‘traditionalism’ found fertile ground among the world’s disenchanted youth in later decades. Critics argue that attempting to legitimise racial hierarchy based on spiritual or metaphysical criteria can serve as a dangerous justification for prejudiced and exclusionary ideologies – ideologies that in the past have led to concentration camps, crematoria and mass pits where spindle-shanked victims lie in overflowing heaps of bone and melted flesh.

We ignore Evola’s antisemitism at our peril. Staudenmaier quotes a 1946 affidavit by SS functionary Dieter Wisliceny, responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Jews, who confirmed that Nazi antisemitism ‘stemmed from two sources, a ‘pseudo-scientific biological’ component and a ‘mystical-religious’ component.’ Since spiritual racism can no longer be considered a benign variant of antisemitic thought, a chilling query emerges: do modern proponents of fascism, like Trump, harbour shades of spiritual antisemitism in their attacks on those who align themselves with what is perceived as Jewish innovations – socialism, communism, internationalism? Could Trump, perhaps unwittingly, be breathing life into the Aryan myth? The question lingers, a spectral presence haunting the present. It gives us further pause when we hear him proclaim:

We pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country that lie and steal and cheat on elections…. They’ll do anything, whether legally or illegally, to destroy America and to destroy the American Dream…. the threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous and grave than the threat from within. Our threat is from within.’

Who was Trump referring to when he used the term Marxists, communists and radical left thugs? Who was he referring to when he used the term ‘vermin’? Was he associating these Marxist and communist thugs with Jewishness? How would the vermin be rooted out? History has shown us how dictators have dealt with their enemies.

One of the founding traits of fascism is heroic violence in the service of racial purity. Here Evola’s fascism joins Joseph de Maistre’s in championing bloodletting’s creative power. Reiff has this to say:

Today, Evola is a favourite of the alt-right, and he suggests that a hero’s death is preferable to a life built on liberal compromise. ‘The moment the individual succeeds in living as a hero,’ Evola writes, ‘even if it is the final moment of his earthly life, weighs infinitely more on the scale of values than a protracted existence consuming monotonously among the trivialities of cities.’

The ultraconservative Catholic authoritarian and opponent of the French Revolution, Joseph de Maistre, who is recognised as one of the intellectual forefathers of fascism, goes even further.

‘The whole earth, perpetually steeped in blood, is nothing but a vast altar upon which all that is living must be sacrificed without end, without measure, without pause, until the consummation of things, until evil is extinct, until the death of death,’ Maistre writes. Indeed, without an executioner, the man who kills other men, Maistre claims society could not exist. For violence is necessary to satisfy ‘men’s natural desire to be destructive,’ he writes; it leaves them feeling ‘exalted and fulfilled.’

The Trumpet Blows

On the sacred eve of Rosh Hashanah, the 2024 Republican frontrunner took to his Truth Social canvas, casting an image crafted by JEXIT, architects of the Jewish departure from the Democratic fold. He bemoaned ‘liberal Jews’ who, in his eyes, failed to grasp his support for Israel. The accusatory brushstrokes painted a narrative where these Jews, enchanted by false tales, purportedly voted against the very essence of America and Israel.

A pastoral plea emerged, urging these wayward souls to glean wisdom from past missteps and tread a wiser path. The Anti-Defamation League’s sentinel, Jonathan Greenblatt, declared the composition ‘dangerous and wrong,’ emphasising that the community needed no didactic soliloquies on voting choices. Amy Spitalnick of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs deemed it an ‘antisemitic’ opus, while the Tel Aviv Institute discerned in Trump’s words a dark shadow nurturing antisemitic sentiments in the American heartland. This was an ominous portent for American Jews, revealing a glaring dissonance between Trump’s rhetoric and the prevailing sentiments within the Jewish community. Rep. Jerry Nadler, a Jewish Democrat, cautioned Trump against launching his rhetorical arrows on the holiest of days.

An artist of accusation, Trump never tires of pointing fingers at American Jews, lamenting their perceived lack of loyalty as he is want to remind Jews: ‘No President has done more for Israel than I have.’ The King of Israel demanded appreciation, a melody that seemed discordant to some ears. We need to pause for a moment and allow ourselves to be reminded of Trump’s proclamation that he regards himself as King of Israel and the Second Coming of God.

Bess Levin writes:

Yesterday, the president unleashed an anti-Semitic rant in the Oval Office in which he declared that Jews who vote for Democrats are either uneducated or disloyal. Unfortunately, with about 70% of American Jews being registered Democrats, that’s a lot of disloyalty. So, Trump looked elsewhere for answers, and, lo, he found an unhinged supporter who says Israelis (the real Jews!) love Trump like the ‘King of Israel’ and ‘the second coming of God.’ Then he cited him on Twitter: ‘Thank you to Wayne Allyn Root for the very nice words. ‘President Trump is the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world, not just America, he is the best President for Israel in the history of the world … and the Jewish people in Israel love him … like, he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God…. But American Jews don’t know him or like him. They don’t even know what they’re doing or saying anymore. It makes no sense! But that’s OK, if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’s good for … all Jews, Blacks, Gays, everyone. And importantly, he’s good for everyone in America who wants a job.’ Wow!

Levin captures the madness of King Trump in the following words that are worth quoting at length:

It’s probably self-evident that anyone claiming Trump is the Messiah is not right in the head, but just so it’s on the record, Wayne Allyn Root – a self-described ‘Jew turned evangelical Christian’ – is an unhinged conspiracy theorist who believes the 2017 Las Vegas shooting was a ‘coordinated Muslim terror attack’ by ISIS and that George Soros paid actors to stage the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville that included Nazi chants like ‘Jews will not replace us.’

Trump, incredibly, seems to believe that he’s going to win over Jewish voters by telling them they don’t know what’s good for them (‘They don’t even know what they’re doing or saying anymore!’). Or perhaps he’s just given up on American Jews and is looking to the Likudniks for narcissistic supply. Insulting Americans for being disloyal to Israel, where the second coming is going to take place – led by Trump in the role of Jesus – seems like an odd pitch to anyone who knows literally anything about Judaism, but that’s probably beside the point. Stay tuned for tomorrow, when Trump cites the teachings of Mel Gibson as reason for this particular constituency to get on board.

It’s one thing to have a sense of humour about Trump’s narcissist proclamations; it’s quite another to contemplate the cataclysmic destruction of the United States – and possibly the world – should he be elected to office for a second term, as the polls as of this writing are predicting. On another, no less apocalyptic note, in an interview on CNN’s ‘State of the Union,’ presidential candidate Chris Christie criticised Trump’s role in fuelling bigotry against Jews, linking it to the increase in antisemitic and anti-Muslim incidents following the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas. Christie had previously expressed concerns about Trump’s contribution to the rise in antisemitism in an interview with the New York Times during his trip to Israel earlier in the month. He restated his assertion that ex-President Donald Trump has been a catalyst for the surge in antisemitism and hatred nationwide. According to Christie, Trump’s use of ‘intolerant language and conduct’ serves as a kind of permission for others to follow suit, fostering an environment where intolerance becomes pervasive. ‘Intolerance toward anyone encourages intolerance toward everyone,’ he cautioned.

Jayaram underscores that racist ideologies, ethereal and elusive, captivate through emotions rather than intellect, weaving a cult of tradition that doesn’t demand scrutiny of historical accuracy. Fascism paradoxically embraces technology, glorifying it while shunning modernism and the spirit of scientific inquiry. It nostalgically invokes a mythical past, stirring national pride and historical grievances, defining a majoritarian identity that seeks an antagonist, whether foreign or domestic, as an existential threat. Jayaram warns: ‘It is not an accident that all fascist dictators stem from the milieu of the little reactionary man.’ The ‘subjugated little man’ of Wilhelm Reich finds a modern counterpart in the populism of Donald Trump, who embodies a proto-fascist outlook. Reich, writing during the rise of the Nazi regime, delved into modern society’s inherent contradictions, asserting that support for fascist dictators stems from a particular form of ‘mass psychology’ arising from the authoritarian and patriarchal roots of society. Reich observed a class that revered morality, honour and duty toward the nation yet practised amorality in daily life. These contradictions, according to Reich, form the core of the mass psychology of fascism.

Contemporary politics witnesses the adulation of authoritarian figures promising simple solutions reminiscent of an imagined golden age in the past. Surveys reveal the rapid spread of populism in Europe, driven not by anti-democratic sentiments but by disillusionment with democratic institutions. Jayaram notes that the term ‘fascism’ itself may be all-encompassing due to its nebulous nature, as noted by the Italian scholar Umberto Eco, who considered it the archetype of right-wing authoritarian movements. The ‘New Despotism’ referred to by Jayaram distinguishes itself by manipulating constitutional systems, legal structures, democratic tools and mass media to bend society toward its ideology. Unlike classical fascism, these regimes seek popular endorsement rather than merely group acquiescence out of fear or the creation of political quislings, always ready to offer enthusiastic support for whatever necrophiliac policies the proto-fascist politicians decide to promote.

Freire refers to Erich Fromm when he points to the potential of necrophiliac behaviour to ‘transform man into a thing’ and when he contrasts biophilia, the love of life and living things, with necrophilia, which is the root cause behind oppression as the means of absolute control. Robert Lake and Vicki Dagostino note,

While life is characterised by growth in a structured functional manner, the necrophilous person loves all that does not grow, all that is mechanical. The necrophilous person is driven by the desire to transform the organic into the inorganic, to approach life mechanically, as if all living persons were things. Memory, rather than experience; having, rather than being, is what counts. The necrophilous person can relate to an object, a flower or a person only if he possesses it; hence, a threat to his possession is a threat to himself. If he loses possession, he loses contact with the world. He loves control, and, in the act of controlling, he kills life.

Jayaram maintains that it is difficult to maintain the illusion that fascism dies when democracy matures. He emphasises that ‘the politics of mass fascism are deliberately nurtured. Its people cannot be victims but must be willing participants in the process. The supporters of the regime are not merely content to support it but also actively demonise and attack the real or imagined enemies of the regime. That is undoubtedly the fascism of the masses.’

If Jayaram is correct in asserting that, in thrall to mass psychology, everyone harbours a metaphorical proto-fascist akin to Oskar Matzerath from Gunter Grass’s The Tin Drum. We need to do more than simply challenge the illusion that fascism dies with democratic maturity. We need to wipe clean the enduring persistence of fascism, requiring not only a vigilant awareness of its potential resurgence but also the means and the will to fight for a democratic socialist alternative – even when the main protagonist in the struggle for fascism happens to be the former and likely forthcoming president of the United States.

Eyeing a potential victory in the 2024 presidential election, Trump intends to revolutionise the governmental machinery, paving the path for an unrestrained exercise of authority. Jill Colvin notes that when Trump unveils the canvas of his second-term dreams, shadows of fascism will dance with the sombre hues of a Muslim ban, mass deportations of immigrants and tariffs on all imported goods. Colvin reports:

Trump wants to reimpose his travel ban that originally targeted seven Muslim-majority countries and expand it to ‘keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the country.’ In the wake of the Hamas attack on Israel, he has pledged to put in place ‘ideological screening’ for immigrants. His aim: bar ‘dangerous lunatics, haters, bigots and maniacs,’ as well as those who ‘empathise with radical Islamic terrorists and extremists.’

To deter migrants, he has said he would end birthright citizenship, using an executive order that would introduce a legally untested interpretation of the 14th Amendment. The order would prevent federal agencies from granting automatic citizenship to the children of people who are in the US illegally. It would require that at least one parent be a US citizen or lawful permanent resident for their children to be eligible for passports, Social Security numbers and other benefits.

Under a Trumpian fascist reign, according to Colvin, ‘freedom cities’ will rise like mystical realms on federal land, as Trump seeks to strip the cloak of civil service protection from career paths, a narrative spun through the reissued ‘Schedule F’ executive order, aimed at those he deems ‘corrupt bureaucrats’ and guardians within the intelligence labyrinth. Trump’s necrophiliac dreams extend to a crackdown on leaks, civil service tests, and the largest domestic deportation in American history with a focus on those with ‘jihadist sympathies.’ Russell Vought, the former head of the Office of Management and Budget during Trump’s tenure, articulated the strategy as an endeavour to pinpoint pockets of autonomy and assert control over them, as reported by the New York Times.

At the core of Trump’s ambitious strategy to consolidate power is incorporating independent agencies into the presidential domain. This includes entities such as the Federal Communications Commission, which is responsible for overseeing television and internet companies, and the Federal Trade Commission, which is tasked with upholding antitrust and consumer protection regulations. Beyond this, Trump seeks the ability to impound funds, rejecting allocations for programs he deems unfavourable. Despite the prohibition of this tactic during the Nixon era, Trump contends on his campaign platform that presidents possess a constitutional right to impound funds, signalling a potential legal showdown.

In addition to financial manoeuvres, Trump plans to dismantle employment safeguards for many civil servants, facilitating their replacement. Subsequently, he aims to purge officials from intelligence agencies, the State Department and defence agencies whom he categorises as members of the ‘sick political class that hates our country.’ Trump’s agenda extends to the potential launch of a direct attack on the ‘deep state.’ As reported by Colvin:

Trump would try to strip tens of thousands of career employees of their civil service protections. That way, they could be fired as he seeks to ‘totally obliterate the deep state.’

He would try to accomplish that by reissuing a 2020 executive order known as ‘Schedule F.’ That would allow him to reclassify masses of employees, with a particular focus, he has said, on ‘corrupt bureaucrats who have weaponised our justice system’ and ‘corrupt actors in our national security and intelligence apparatus.’ Given his anger at the FBI and federal prosecutors pursuing criminal cases against him, Trump probably would target people linked to those prosecutions for retribution.

Beyond the firings, he wants to crack down on government officials who leak to reporters. He also wants to require that federal employees pass a new civil service test.

Trump has pledged to ‘immediately stop the invasion of our southern border’ and end illegal immigration.

Ideological screening will become common practice under Trump, and birthright citizenship will end just as the spigots of the oil industry are yanked wide open. Education will enter a new phase with the dissolution of the Department of Education, the re-consecration of school curricula as a patriotic sonnet to Moms for Liberty, with armed teachers as guardians of the classroom’s sanctuary set up for spawning future MAGA Republicans. Law enforcement could once again initiate a stop-and-frisk policy and allow the shooting of suspected shoplifters.

In the realm of identity politics, Colvin reports the following:

Trump says he will ask Congress to pass a bill establishing that ‘only two genders,’ as determined at birth, are recognised by the United States.

As part of his crackdown on gender-affirming care, he will declare that hospitals and health care providers that offer transitional hormones or surgery no longer meet federal health and safety standards and will be blocked from receiving federal funds, including Medicaid and Medicare dollars.

He would push Congress to prohibit hormonal or surgical intervention for transgender minors in all 50 states.

Doctors typically guide kids toward therapy before medical intervention. At that point, hormone treatments such as puberty blockers are far more common than surgery. They have been available in the US for more than a decade and are standard treatments backed by major doctors’ organisations, including the American Medical Association.

One of his most dangerous commitments lies in the degradation of the environment. According to Colvin:

Under the mantra ‘DRILL, BABY, DRILL,’ he says he would ramp up oil drilling on public lands and offer tax breaks to oil, gas and coal producers. He would roll back Biden administration efforts to encourage the adoption of electric cars and reverse proposed new pollution limits that would require at least 54% of new vehicles sold in the US to be electric by 2030.

And again, he says, he will exit the Paris Climate Accords, end wind subsidies and eliminate regulations imposed and proposed by the Biden administration targeting incandescent lightbulbs, gas stoves, dishwashers and shower heads.

What Trump has in store for education comes directly out of an American Horror Story script:

He would push the federal government to give funding preference to states and school districts that abolish teacher tenure, adopt merit pay to reward good teachers and allow the direct election of school principals by parents.

He has said he would cut funding for any school that has a vaccine or mask mandate and will promote prayer in public schools.

Trump also wants a say in school curricula, vowing to fight for ‘patriotic education.’ He says that under his administration, schools will ‘teach students to love their country, not to hate their country like they’re taught right now’ and will promote ‘the nuclear family,’ including ‘the roles of mothers and fathers’ and the ‘things that make men and women different and unique.’

To protect students, he says he will support school districts that allow trained teachers to carry concealed weapons. He would provide federal funding so schools can hire veterans, retired police officers and other trained gun owners as armed school guards.

Trump aims to address homelessness by constructing tent cities on affordable, spacious land, simultaneously proposing a collaboration with states to prohibit urban camping. Offenders would choose between arrest and treatment. He advocates reviving extensive mental institutions for the ‘severely mentally ill’ or ‘dangerously deranged.’ To combat urban violence, Trump suggests deploying the National Guard to cities like Chicago, utilising federal funding and prosecution powers to pressure local governments. Additionally, he plans to mandate controversial policing measures, including stop-and-frisk, for law enforcement agencies receiving Justice Department grants. Trump suggests empowering local police to shoot suspected shoplifters as a deterrent, stating, ‘Very simply, if you rob a store, you can fully expect to be shot as you are leaving that store.’ Furthermore, Trump supports the death penalty for drug smugglers and those involved in trafficking women and children. He proposes a federal takeover of the nation’s capital, criticising Washington as a ‘dirty, crime-ridden death trap’ inconsistent with the nation’s standards.

Whether Trump reinvigorates his fascist predilections with the works of Evola, we can be sure that we have not seen the last of his antisemitism. Branstetter explains why so many people today are drawn to catastrophists such as Evola, and why they find today’s burgeoning fascist organisations so appealing – and why this does not portend well for Europe and the United States:

Humanity’s obsession with the End is a reflection of our innate fear of death. It is not acceptable to us that we dwindle away into obscurity, shaped by the faulty memories of those who come after us. A far better fate, thinks the apocalyptic, is to be remembered as a valiant warrior in the last battle — against modernity, against secularism, or whatever bogeyman someone has suggested will bring on their doom.

It is one reason this current wave of populist nationalism has found such fertile ground. The world is undeniably at a central fluctuation point. People the world over are seeing their livelihood threatened by technology and their culture altered by the increasingly egalitarian forces of globalisation. To folks like Bannon or the far-right leaders of Europe, these are existential threats on the verge of shoving their Traditionalism aside as backwards and bigoted. It was exactly this fear that drove anti-Modernists like Evola….[The alt-Right]… are echoing an anxiety felt by Traditionalists for more than a century. They are finding comfort in the cyclical ideals of Evola or Strauss and Howe because, after all, the kali or Crisis is followed by a krita, High, or some other Utopian vision of a resurgent society that will echo the greatness of a time long forgotten – you cannot make American great, you can only make it great again.

The Magical Musketeer

And, when we are not confronted by Trumpian antisemitism, we have another billionaire’s racism to contend with – Elon Musk. We can’t get rid of antisemitism by paying a visit to Israel while it is in the middle of a war, even if we are Elon Musk, who is trying to do damage control after endorsing an antisemitic post on his platform X, formerly Twitter. As Jill Filipovic has noted, Musk made a journey to Israel, a nation entangled in the throes of a crimson war, seeking to assert, in the eloquence of deeds superseding words, that he is not an antisemite.

Filopovic sets the context for Musk’s antisemitism thus:

Musk’s latest problem started when an X user addressed antisemites on the platform, posting, ‘To the cowards hiding behind the anonymity of the internet and posting ‘Hitler was right’: You got something you want to say? Why dont (sic) you say it to our faces ….’

Another responded: ‘Okay. Jewish communties (sic) have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them. I’m deeply disinterested in giving the tiniest s*** now about western Jewish populations coming to the disturbing realisation that those hordes of minorities that support flooding their country don’t exactly like them too much.’

In response, Musk replied, ‘You have said the actual truth.’

And then he went further, saying that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) ‘unjustly attacks the majority of the West’ by calling out antisemitism. Musk claimed: ‘This is because [the ADL]cannot, by their own tenets, criticise the minority groups who are their primary threat.’

In the ethereal space of X, a user addressed the shadows of antisemitism, challenging the anonymous echo with words designed to embolden: ‘Speak to our faces if ‘Hitler was right’ resides within you.’ Musk’s response, a dark resonance: ‘You have spoken the veritable truth.’ Further, he cast shadows upon the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), accusing them unjustly, in his narrative, of attacking the majority. Yet, the tapestry of Musk’s endorsed truth unfurls a sinister design, a racist conspiracy echoing in the corridors of an all-to-familiar history. The ‘Great Replacement’ whispers tales of invaders, immigrants guided by unseen hands, dismantling the power and culture of White people. Filipovic writes:

The idea is that Jews are letting immigrant invaders into the country to strip Whites of their power and destroy White culture. And it’s not just some bigots bantering on social media. This ugly ‘Great Replacement’ theory has been behind mass shootings that have targeted specific racial or ethnic groups, including at a grocery store in Buffalo that killed 10 Black shoppers and employees.

Swift was the rebuke from Jewish groups. Advertisers withdrew, and international censure engulfed Musk. Musk ventured to Israel and, after a meeting with the Prime Minister, a tour of a besieged kibbutz, encounters with families marked by the hand of Hamas, in a live symphony on X, pronounced, ‘Those intent on murder must be subdued, propaganda silenced.’ Gaza, he proclaimed, must be made ‘prosperous,’ a utopian vision painted with empty words on a war-torn canvas. Yet, this odyssey to Israel, a mere distraction, constituted a thin veil against the spectre of antisemitism.

Under Musk’s stewardship, X has metamorphosed into a swamp of prejudice, where neo-Nazis found refuge, and hate speech has thrived. Musk’s response to this crescendo of bigotry? Lawsuits against watchdogs and a defiant defence of ‘free expression.’ In the words of Filipovic:

Under Musk’s leadership, X has turned into a swamp of prejudice and bigotry. Known neo-Nazis and white supremacists have had their accounts reinstated. Members of the Islamic State returned to the platform, and some QAnon conspiracy theorists have been allowed to pay for verification badges on the site.

In the months after Musk’s takeover, hate speech on the site surged: Anti-Black racial slurs tripled, and antisemitic posts increased by 61%, according to a report by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH). Musk’s response? He sued the CCDH.

‘X is a free public service funded largely by advertisers,’ X said in a blog post about the lawsuit. ‘Through the CCDH’s scare campaign and its ongoing pressure on brands to prevent the public’s access to free expression, the CCDH is actively working to prevent public dialogue.’

Musk’s voyage to Israel turned into a controversy, a saga of contradictions, where he did not offer an apology in the cacophony of his misdeeds. Instead, vile content still finds haven on the digital tapestry of X, as the enablers and opportunists dance to Musk’s discordant tune.

This month, the discerning vigilance of Media Matters, a progressive watchdog group, unveiled a disconcerting revelation: a slew of advertisements adorned the periphery of antisemitic and pro-Nazi posts on the platform owned by X. How did Elon Musk, the proprietor of this controversial domain, respond to the damning exposé? He opted for a legal offensive, suing Media Matters to mitigate the fallout. Earlier in the year, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) had contributed to the narrative, disseminating a report that meticulously detailed the surge of antisemitic content proliferating under Musk’s stewardship of X. Astonishingly, Musk’s retort to this factual indictment was not introspection or corrective action but a veiled threat to litigate against the ADL. In an Orwellian twist, he laid blame at the organisation’s doorstep for a substantial decline in X’s advertising revenues.

In a stark departure from his professed commitment to ‘free speech absolutism,’ Musk curiously directed his efforts not towards curtailing the voices of White supremacists and neo-Nazis on the platform but, perplexingly, towards stifling the usage of terms embraced by the pro-Palestinian movement. Concepts like ‘decolonisation’ and ‘from the river to the sea’ found themselves under the banhammer wielded by Musk, ostensibly to shield X from further criticism. While it is acknowledged that these terms can be perceived as deeply provocative when applied to Israel, connoting an envisaged dissolution of the Jewish state and the potential expulsion of millions of Jews from the region, the irony remains palpable. Musk, having endorsed antisemitism by association with objectionable content, has embarked on a paradoxical journey by selectively censoring certain expressions about anti-Israeli discourse.

The audacity is further accentuated by the complicity of opportunists and enablers who, rather than challenging Musk’s incongruities, acquiesce to this theatrical charade. Even figures such as Netanyahu and ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, the latter’s organisation having diligently documented the pervasive antisemitism on X, seemingly overlooked these transgressions. In a curious display of cognitive dissonance, Greenblatt not only refrains from condemning Musk’s equivocal stance on hate but commends him for his purported’ leadership in fighting hate.’ The divergence between Musk’s actions and the laudatory endorsements he receives underscores a disconcerting willingness among influential voices to overlook substantive issues in the name of expediency. According to Filipovic,

Musk has compromised his ‘free speech absolutism,’ not to make significant efforts to ban White supremacists and neo-Nazis but to prevent terms widely adopted by the pro-Palestinian movement, including ‘decolonisation’ and ‘from the river to the sea,’ from being used on X.

Many people find these terms deeply offensive when applied to Israel, as they suggest an end to the Jewish state and the likely expulsion of millions of Jews from the region. But it’s pretty rich to ban these words after endorsing antisemitism. And richer still to see a number of opportunists and enablers allow Musk to continue with this farce.’

He has, however, found time to post more vile content on X.

Elon Musk has emerged as a provocateur, a sculptor of rhetoric chiselled with the jagged edges of controversy. Enter George Soros, a figure etched in the annals of resilience, a survivor of Nazi occupation in the 1940s. Musk, however, casts him as a Jewish supervillain. Here, the etchings of history clash on a canvas marred by conspiratorial brushstrokes. Filipovic writes:

After ‘Dilbert’ creator Scott Adams went on a racist rant in which he said Black Americans were a ‘hate group’ who people should ‘get the hell away’ from, Musk defended him, tweeting that the ‘media is racist.’ Later, he added that while Adams’s comments ‘weren’t good,’ they did express an ‘element of truth.’ There’s that word from Musk again: ‘Truth.’

In the aftermath of Scott Adams’ divisive soliloquy, where the words cut through the air like shards of glass, Musk steps onto the stage of defence. A knight in the realm of controversy, he provides the media’s cover for racism, offering shelter to Adams’ verbal tempest.

Yet, within this defence, Musk introduces a paradox. A concession that Adams’ words, though tainted, bear an ‘element of truth’ – a cryptic revelation, a seed of unsettling veracity nestled within the thorns of divisive rhetoric. And there, in the heart of Musk’s lexicon, the word ‘Truth’ resounds like a haunting refrain. But this truth, a chameleon in disguise, wears the garb of ugliness, bigotry and falsehood. Musk, the alchemist of words, transmutes convictions into a potion potent with disconcerting realities. We should not be beguiled by Musk’s prose but delve into the undercurrents of his convictions since he speaks a language that demands our discernment. The notes may be dissonant in Musk’s metaphorical symphony, but they carry a resonance that should not be ignored. Is this spiritual racism that Musk deploys? Something we are supposed to ignore as a less poisonous racism than biological antisemitism? Thankfully, Evola is no longer with us to provide his answer.

Or has he really left us? Has that craftsman of darkness and decay found a way to live on and spread his hate through influential others? Presently, factions within the Republican far-right, exerting considerable influence in Congress, have expressed solidarity with Hungary and its leader, Viktor Orbán. This alignment involves admiration for Orbán’s illiberal and authoritarian governance. Furthermore, there is a noticeable affinity for Putin’s anti-LGBTQ stance among these elements, leading certain Christians to affiliate with the Russian Orthodox Church, headed by the odious and controversial figure Patriarch Kirill, known for his belligerent and homophobic views. Some conservative politicians are drawn to Putin’s advocacy of Traditionalism, albeit with uncertain comprehension of its occult origins. Putin’s global political maneuvering is, to a significant extent, shaped by the visions of occultist mystics like Evola, as channelled through Putin’s mentor Alexander Dugin.

As pointed out by Tara Isabella Burton, Dugin, often referred to as ‘Putin’s brain’ or ‘Putin’s Rasputin,’ overtly aligns himself with a strain of occult, reactionary Traditionalism. This intellectual tradition, with roots erroneously traced to a bygone era, finds its origins in a network of reactionary artists and writers in late-19th-century Paris. This group, encompassing various figures such as dandies, decadents, reactionary Catholics, surrealist Satanists, destitute aristocrats and self-proclaimed title-holders, sought to distance themselves deliberately from the perceived pitfalls of liberal modernity. Central to this circle’s ethos was a fervent enthusiasm for the occult, combining a genuine interest in magical arts with a desire to shock conventional sensibilities. Traditionalists advocated for a return to an idealised past characterised by honour, order, authority and natural hierarchies. Influenced by figures like René Guénon and Julius Evola, foundational Traditionalists wove these intellectual currents into a somewhat cohesive narrative, contending that the world had deviated from a once-hierarchical and pure state into the chaos of the ‘Kali Yuga,’ a term loosely borrowed from Hinduism.

Dugin openly embraces these Traditionalist leanings, having matured within the Yuzhinsky circle – a blend of Guénon enthusiasts, neo-Nazis, punks and Satanists. His early publication included a Russian translation of Evola’s ‘Pagan Imperialism,’ where he criticises political correctness and liberalism, heralding the Eurasian order as a ‘spiritual order that penetrates all levels of reality.’ For Dugin and other Traditionalists, the culture war becomes a cosmic battlefield – an ideological jihad against a liberal order perceived as demonic. While chair of the international relations section of the sociology department at the prestigious Moscow State University, he called for the mass slaughter of Ukrainians (‘Kill them, kill them, kill them all’). The influence of Dugin and Traditionalists extends beyond Russia, reaching Hungary, where far-right leader Gábor Vona consults with a Traditionalist spiritual adviser, Tibor Baranyi. Greece’s Golden Dawn party includes Evola on its reading list, and Traditionalism underpins far-right movements in the United States. Evola himself worked for the Nazi SS, translated ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ into Italian, and was a proponent of anti-Semitism and genocide. Notably, figures like Stephen K. Bannon, an occasional adviser to Donald Trump, have hinted at their interest in Traditionalist ideas. Could Traditionalists be further ensconced in our culture than we imagine?

In Todd Fine’s revelation, the Washington Street Advocacy Group has unearthed a disconcerting wave in the tech realm – a surge towards various cryptic fascist ideologies. This unsettling shift poses a grave threat to the American republic, signalling an escalated risk of right-wing extremist turmoil and cyber propaganda come the 2024 election. In response, the group has pledged itself to wield imaginative advocacy strategies, coupling their expertise in art and philosophy to amplify awareness and thwart this looming danger. Their heightened vigilance sprouted in the summer of 2022, an odyssey into the cosmos of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). As they traversed the pinnacles of the Ethereum blockchain, they stumbled upon profound political, ideological and philosophical treasures. Amid these digital troves, the ‘Bored Ape Yacht Club’ by Miami-Yuga Labs emerged as the most conspicuous and contentious. Presently under government scrutiny and besieged by consumer lawsuits, Yuga Labs brazenly flaunts egregious racist symbols and references to racist memes, particularly targeting the Black community.

The disquieting claims by New York City artist Ryder Ripps spurred Fine and his group to delve deeper into the labyrinth connecting Bored Ape Yacht Club, Yuga Labs and the avant-garde realms of anti-Semitic, racist, misogynistic and alt-right ideologies thriving on platforms like 4chan and among radical technologists, including influential venture capital firms such as a16z. (Pioneered in 2009 by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, Andreessen Horowitz reigns as a preeminent private American venture capital firm. Nestled in Menlo Park, California, the company clinched the apex spot among venture capital firms in assets under management, as of April 2023). Exposing ties between the founders of Bored Ape Yacht Club and a media outlet named Expat (linked to the Hungary-based’ Terror House’) unveiled allusions to fascist philosopher Julius Evola and his meditations on the ‘Kali Yuga’ in founder Manuel Marrero’s writings.

Expanding on Ripps and fellow NFT aficionados’ research, the Washington Street Advocacy Group, according to Fine, employed platforms like Twitter threads and ‘Twitter Spaces’ to enlighten the crypto and NFT communities about Yuga Labs’ extensive deployment of references to Traditionalism – an esoteric fascist strain reminiscent of Nazism. This ideology, employing Eastern religion and Hinduism to rationalise the Jewish genocide, roots itself in the belief that the Hindu cycle of time, the ‘Kali Yuga,’ justifies discarding all moral constraints on political conduct. Contrary to Yuga Labs’ assertions, notes Fine, the company’s moniker appears to deliberately echo the right-wing adoption of this religious concept rather than a veiled nod to a Gameboy game. Yuga Labs denies the claims.

J. Hoberman opens his article in Art Forum entitled ‘Mythic Proportions,’ with the following:

Given the Hellenistic Bombast of fascist kitsch – ersatz Parthenons and nude Übermenschen; Giorgio de Chirico’s ‘Gladiators at Rest, 1928–29’; Leni Riefenstahl’s partly staged documentary Olympia (1938), Julius Evola’s political manifesto Pagan Imperialism (1928) – it’s no wonder that modernism’s flirtation with classical antiquity would be regarded as suspect. Mussolini had barely marched on Rome when, in 1926, Jean Cocteau hailed this classicising tendency as ‘le rappel à l’ordre’ (the call to order); a quarter of a century later, he produced the movement’s belated epitome with his 1950 masterpiece, Orphée.

Whenever a twentieth-century artist tries to create a refurbished myth – in Cocteau’s masterpiece, it was Hellenistic Greece – you know that Evola is buried in there somewhere. In Hoberman’s words, the Germanophilic Cocteau used this myth ‘to create a portal between mundane reality and the haunted inner worlds of those who have lived through mass atrocities.’ He references the princess in Orphée as ’a glamorous psychopomp who bears the dead to the underworld in her chauffeured Rolls-Royce and who on one such trip invites confused Orpheus along for the ride, then falls in love with him and has her goons assassinate his wife, Eurydice.’ He once wrote in his journal, ‘In Hitler, we have a poet beyond the comprehension of souls of drudges.’ He also admired Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will and Olympia.

But was Cocteau a fascist? Stephanie Bailey acknowledges a huge mistake made by Cocteau while crafting his art during the Nazi occupation of France:

If Cocteau made one mistake in his life, it was a monumental one. In 1942, on the front page of the journal, Comoedia, he published his salute to Arno Breker. Comparisons to Michelangelo were invoked. Breker, who specialised in the muscled supermen so well-suited to the Nazi vision of its manhood, was Hitler’s chosen sculptor: he was to granite what Leni Riefenstahl was to celluloid. The occasion was Breker’s exhibition at the Paris Orangerie, and, even now, the hyperbolic makes uneasy reading. (Cocteau’s comrades were horrified: ‘Freud, Kafka, Chaplin are forbidden by the same people who honour Breker,’ the poet Paul Eluard wrote to Cocteau. ‘We used to see you among the forbidden. How wrong you were to expose yourself among the censors.’). Stephanie Bailey begs to differ when it comes to Cocteau’s fascism.

But, then, Bailey asked herself, ‘what would I have done if I were an artist living in Paris when Hitler’s tanks rolled in? Thankfully, he was no Heidegger, a full-fledged member of the Nazi party. And he was a firm supporter of Jean Genet, the notorious enfant terrible of the queer scene, even defending Genet in court in 1941. Cocteau’s Nazi shadow made no sense.’

Cocteau’s frequent use of a mirror in his works suggests a man who wishes to escape the mundane aspects of modern life. In The Blood of the Poet, ‘the poet’ falls into a mirror that suddenly turns into a pool of water. Bailey writes: ‘In his early self-portraits, the reflective potential of a piece of paper works like the cinematic image, as a portal enacting a desire to know and transcend one’s self.’ J. Hoberman highlights Cocteau’s use of the mirror in his Orphée, which Hoberman claims is among the greatest cinematic works made in the decade following Citizen Kane. It is ‘[a] movie in which an enchanted mirror serves as the portal between the realms of the living and the dead. Orphée is itself an unnerving enchanted mirror, refracting historical trauma through the filmmaker’s psyche – a portal between mundane reality and the haunted inner worlds of those who have lived through mass atrocities.’ Wouldn’t we all like to jump through a mirror to escape the mundane aspects of modern life and also its daily traumas? Jones captures this sentiment perfectly:

At one point in Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, our protagonist, a shiftless Californian in search of class and culture at a sequestered, elite East Coast College, talks about the feeling he gets when he studies Ancient Greek late into the night. Breaking from the reverie, he says that in this he sees, briefly, the world with ‘5th-century eyes,’ a world ‘disconcertingly sluggish and alien, as if it were not their home.’

I thought about this line a lot as I sat doing the emails and admin that make up so much of contemporary life and listening to nasal American crypto-fascist men stumble over the words of Julius Evola on YouTube. Wouldn’t we all like to see the world with fifth-century eyes? To have rituals that bind us to eternity, to spans deeper and truths larger than ourselves, and to not have to commute and wait for things to load and feel our lives to be small, disconnected slivers?

Was fascism something that provided Cocteau with a mirror to jump into a world of Nazi rituals and Aryan supermen, a world of torchlit marches, banners, advanced weaponry, jousting and mythological heroes dating back to the era of knights saving maidens in distress? Jones announced that, in the annals of the year 2015, a new chapter unfolded in which Daniel Friberg, a prominent figure in the Swedish neo-Nazi echelons, demonstrated intellectual prowess within the far-right milieu. His written treatise, steeped in Evolaist parlance, beckoned the far-right factions to metaphorically ‘strangle the tiger.’ In his philosophical narrative, he contended that liberal modernity, burdened by its decadence and internal contradictions, had reached a state of sufficient enfeeblement, prompting the call to dismount from its proverbial steed and take up arms. This ideological whisper resonated and burgeoned, so much so that, by the 2010s, within the peripheral realms of an ascendant radical right, the influence of Julius Evola became conspicuously pronounced.

From its inception during those early years, Evola’s ideological influence has stretched beyond the periphery, reaching into domains that border on mainstream impact, surpassing the boundaries of the White House. Jones sheds light on one aspect of Evola’s allure as she expresses the following:

Evola is also, for want of a better word, quite vibey; he wrote a lot, and his work has wide-ranging applications. Whether you are a young Republican looking for some esoteric intellectual cred, a statue avi Twitter user looking for theoretical justification for your posts about ancient wisdom and contemporary decadence, or a man embedded in the far-right media ecosystem planning to kill innocent civilians in a local bar, school or shopping mall, there will be something for you to adapt to your purposes in his body of work.

In short, Jones has nothing good to say about Bronze Age Mindset and Evola. The ideologies they espouse are deeply troubling, steeped in racism, antisemitism and a distorted view of history. These ideas, described as ‘cancerous,’ have no place in a society that values equality, diversity and human rights. It is essential to denounce and reject such ideologies unequivocally. While these thinkers may present their ideas in a utopian guise, it is crucial to recognise that their vision promotes exclusion, discrimination and a dangerous nostalgia for a distorted past. Comparisons to A24 fascism, or Dungeons and Dragons for racists, highlight the fantastical and detached nature of their proposals, emphasising the danger of romanticising exclusionary ideologies. The romantic language used to discuss these ideas, such as the analogy of Empedocles throwing himself into a volcano, adds an unsettling layer to their rhetoric. It attempts to cloak hateful ideologies in an aura of intellectualism or mysticism, obscuring the inherently harmful nature of their proposals. It is imperative to distinguish these ideologies from more mainstream conservative thought, which often seeks to preserve traditions or maintain the status quo. The extremist views propagated by figures like Bronze Age Mindset should be unequivocally condemned, as they pose a threat to the principles of equality, justice and human dignity that underpin a just society. As activists, we must stand against such ideologies and work towards a world that embraces diversity, inclusivity and mutual respect.

Casting further aspersions regarding Musk, James Risen writes that Musk’s actions, reminiscent of the historical missteps of figures like the famous antisemite Henry Ford, raise serious concerns about the direction in which he is steering his companies. Recent revelations about Tesla investigators allegedly hacking an employee’s phone to spy on private messages underscore a troubling disregard for privacy and a blatant disregard for ethical boundaries. Musk’s vehement opposition to unionisation, as evidenced by hiring a public relations firm to investigate a pro-union employee Facebook group, mirrors the anti-labour stance that has led companies down a destructive path before. The reported firing of SpaceX employees who spoke out against Musk’s controversial tweets and called for the company to condemn his behaviour adds another layer to the pattern of suppressing dissent within his organisations. The acquisition of Twitter by Musk seems to have emboldened his authoritarian approach, with substantial layoffs and dismissals of employees critical of his actions. This move raises questions about the company’s commitment to free expression and diverse perspectives. Most alarming is Musk’s apparent alignment with right-wing ideologies, enabling hate on an unprecedented scale. Such a pivot not only endangers the inclusive values many strive for but also mirrors the historical mistakes of influential figures like Henry Ford, whose actions fuelled a destructive trajectory.

In pursuing corporate success, it is crucial to recognise the responsibility that comes with immense influence. Musk’s actions demand scrutiny, as they not only affect the livelihoods of his employees but also have broader societal implications. As activists, we must advocate for ethical conduct, workers’ rights and a corporate culture that prioritises justice and inclusivity over unchecked power and divisive ideologies. Katherine Denkinson has condemned Musk for endorsing the reinstatement of England’s notorious racist group, Patriotic Front. Musk’s decision seems to align with his advocacy for free speech, but if he had a comprehensive understanding of Patriotic Alternative (PA), he should recognise the perilous implications for marginalised and politically adrift young men on X/Twitter. Many of these individuals are susceptible to far-right recruitment through the platform.

Examining the cases of two young men recently sentenced to lengthy prison terms for far-right terrorism, such as Daniel Harris (19) and Luca Benincasa (20), sheds light on the broader issue. Harris, serving an 11-year sentence, propagated videos that inspired mass shooters in the US, while Benincasa, sentenced to nine years, was associated with the proscribed neo-Nazi group Feuerkrieg Division. Holding these individuals accountable is crucial, but their actions did not originate in isolation. They were not born with a predisposition to wreak havoc at 17; rather, their behaviours and beliefs evolved through years of indoctrination by online extremists. Unlike groups like the English Defence League, which engage in more overt and confrontational activities, PA and similar factions operate as tech-savvy PR machines. They recognise the significance of optics and are adept at blending into more mainstream right-wing circles when necessary. This is evident in their strategic use of social media, where they promote seemingly innocuous activities like community-friendly litter picks and share images of cute red squirrels to appeal to a broader audience.

Jacob Crosse reported that Elon Musk publicly endorsed the reprehensible and prejudiced ‘Great Replacement Theory’ on X/Twitter, the social media platform under the ownership of the billionaire CEO of Tesla and Space X. The Great Replacement Theory (GRT) is a baseless conspiracy-laden with anti-immigrant and antisemitic sentiments, alleging a plot by Jewish individuals and progressive groups to replace white populations in Europe and America with what it deems ‘inferior stock’ from South America, Africa and Asia. The GRT has found support among certain segments of the financial elite and a significant faction within the Republican Party. In a disturbing episode from August 2017, then-President Donald Trump openly embraced white supremacists participating in the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, who brazenly chanted ‘Jews will not replace us!’ Trump shockingly referred to them as ‘very fine people.’ This fascist conspiracy theory has unfortunately been linked to neo-Nazis responsible for heinous acts, including the tragic 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue mass shooting and the 2019 Poway synagogue massacre in California.

Elon Musk’s psyche, as observed through the lens of my comprehension, presents a complex amalgamation of brilliance and controversy, akin to peeling layers of an onion to uncover the intricate depths within. While there is no direct tether between Musk and the philosophical works of Evola that I have been able to uncover, the intricate threads of his thinking seem to create an agglomeration reminiscent of a certain fascist mindset, setting him apart as a distinct breed from the likes of Cocteau. Musk emerges as a psychological genius, demonstrating an unparalleled mastery of insight and entrepreneurship. His ability to envision and execute groundbreaking ideas places him in a league of his own. However, this brilliance is juxtaposed against a public persona that casts him in the role of a tragic figure on the national stage. This portrayal alludes to a sense of betrayal, hinting at an illusive and illogical dimension that echoes Cocteau’s struggle with detoxing from opium. Unlike Cocteau, though, Musk lacks the redemptive quality of creative genius, making his journey through the public eye all the more poignant.

My comparison of Musk to Cocteau adds a layer of complexity to Musk’s narrative. Cocteau’s opium addiction and subsequent detox represent a personal struggle, a battle with inner demons that ultimately fuelled his creative output. In contrast, Musk’s trajectory suggests a detox from societal norms and ethical considerations, unveiling a narrative that raises questions about the cost of his unyielding pursuit of public recognition for his power and his desire to become worshipped as an idol for his iconoclastic achievements. What makes Musk’s case unique is the revelation of fascist undertones in his thinking and behaviour. This isn’t a conventional manifestation of fascism but a nuanced and contemporary iteration. Musk’s entrepreneurial empire, with its ambitious projects and grand visions, exhibits a certain authoritarian charisma. When peeled away, the layers of the onion expose not just a maverick innovator but also someone with aspirations that carry shades of a fascist worldview.

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Full Citation Information:
McLaren, P. (2023). Spiritual and Material Antisemitism, Julius Evola and the Threat of Contemporary Fascism. PESA Agora. https://pesaagora.com/columns/spiritual-and-material-antisemitism-julius-evola-and-the-threat-of-contemporary-fascism/

Peter McLaren

Peter McLaren is Emeritus Professor at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles. From 2013-2023 he served as Distinguished Professor in Critical Studies, Co-Director and International Ambassador for Global Ethics and Social Justice, The Paulo Freire Democratic Project, Attallah College of Educational Studies, Chapman University, USA.