Interview with Robert Steuckers (part 3)


Robert Steuckers is one of the most important and inspiring thinkers of our time, and his erudition is impressive. Therefore, the interview today continues with a question about our intellectual and literary heritage.

In your many articles you have exhibited an impressive knowledge of European thinkers from Hamsun and Evola to Spengler and Schmitt. Do you consider some of them more important, and a good starting-point for the pro-European individual?

The study of our “classical" heritage of authors is a must if we want to create a real alternative worldview (“Weltanschauung"). Moreover, Evola, Spengler and Schmitt are more linked to each other than we would imagine at first glance. Evola is not only the celebrated traditional thinker who is worldwide known as such. He was an intrepid alpinist who climbed the Northern wall of the Lyskamm in the Alps. His ashes were buried in the Lyskamm glacier by his follower Renato del Ponte after he had been cremated in Spoleto (a town that remained true to Emperor Frederick Hohenstaufen) after his death in 1974. Evola was a Dadaist at the very beginning of his career as an artist, a thinker and a traditionalist. He was totally involved in the art avant-gardes of his time, as he himself declared during a very interesting television interview in French language that you can watch now on your internet screen via “you tube" or “daily motion". This position of him was deduced from a thorough rejection of Western values as they had degenerated during the 18th and 19th Centuries. We have to get rid of them in order to be “reborn": the Futurists thought we ought to perform promptly this rejection project in order to create a complete new world owing absolutely nothing to the past; the Dadaists thought the rejection process should happen by mocking the rationalist and positivist bigotry of the “stupid 19th Century" (as Charles Maurras’ companion Léon Daudet said). Evola after about a decade thought such options, as throwing rotten tomatoes at scandalized bourgeois’ heads or as exhibiting an urinal as if it was a masterwork of sculpture, were a little childish and started to think about an exploration of “the World of Tradition" as it expressed itself in other religions such as Hinduism, the Chinese Tao Te King, the first manifestations of Indian Buddhism (“the Awakening Doctrine"), the Upanishads and Tantric Yoga. For the European tradition, Evola studied the manifestations and developed a cult of Solar Manly Tradition being inspired in this reasoning by Bachofen’s big essay on matriarchal myth (“Mutterrecht"). Thanks to the triumph of the Solar Tradition, a genuine Traditional Europe could awaken on the shores of the Mediterranean and especially in the Romanized part of the Italic peninsula, invaded by Indo-European tribes having crossed the Alps just before the Celts did after them. Besides, he was the translator of Spengler and reviewed a lot of German books written by authors belonging to what Armin Mohler called the “Konservative Revolution". In Italy Evola is obviously very well known, even in groups or academic work teams that cannot be considered as “conservative-revolutionist", but the role he played as a conveyer of German ideas into his own country is often neglected outside of Italy. But still today people rediscover in Latin countries figures of the German “Konservative Revolution" through the well-balanced reviews Evola once published in a lot of intellectual journals from the 1920s to the 1960s. As his comments on these books and publications were very well displayed on didactical level, he can also be still very helpful to us today.


Evola was also a diplomat trying to link again to Italy the countries having belonged to the Austrian-Hungarian empire. He was active in Prague, in Vienna (a City he loved) and in Budapest. He also had contacts with the Romanian Iron Guard, which he admired as a kind of citizens’ militia controlling severely the bends of petty politics limping towards corruption and “kleptocracy". Even if he was mobilized when he was still a very young man as an artillery officer in the Italian army during WW1, Evola disapproved the war waged against traditional Austria and didn’t agree with the Futurists, d’Annunzio and Mussolini who were hectic interventionist warmongers. He was aware that the destruction of the Holy Roman Imperial Tradition in the centre of Europe would be a catastrophe for European culture and civilization. And it was indeed a catastrophe that we still can grasp today: a contemporary author like Claudio Magris, born in Trieste, explains it very well in his books, especially in “Danube", a kind of nostalgic travelogue, written during peregrinations from one place to another in this lost Empire of former times, now torn into many scattered pieces belonging to thirteen different countries.

Carl Schmitt in several books or articles expresses the nostalgia of a kind of “Empire’s secret Chamber" regulating the general policy of a “greater room" (“Grossraum"): for him the members of such a Chamber, if it ever becomes reality, would find inspiration from Bachofen’s ideas and their interpretations, from Spengler pessimistic decay philosophy and from the analyses of all possible teams devoted to geopolitics (Haushofer and others). Carl Schmitt just as Evola was also deeply interested in art avant-gardes.

My interest for Hamsun comes from the implicit anthropology you find in his works: the real man is a peasant running an estate. He is free: what he owns is his own production; he is never defined or bound by others, i. e. by alien capitalists or by State’s servants or by foreign rulers or by the eager members of a ruling and crushing party (Orwell’s pigs in “Animal Farm"). The general urbanization process that started in the historical cities of Europe (especially Paris, London and Berlin) and in the new hectic cities of the United States lead to the emerging of an enslaved mankind, unable to coin its own destiny with the only help of his own inner and physical forces. Spengler and Eliade both say also that true mankind is incarnated in the “eternal peasant", who is the only type of man that can generate genuine religion. David Herbert Lawrence’s most important book for us is without any doubt “Apocalypse": this English author laments the disappearing of “cosmic forces" in man’s life, due to the bias inaugurated by Reformation, Deism (mocked by Jonathan Swift), 18th Century Enlightenment and political extremism derived from the blueprints (Burke) of the French Revolution. Man became gradually detached from the cosmic frame in which he was embedded since ever. He’s lost also all his links to the natural communities in which he was born, like the poor immigrant Hamsun was in Chicago or Detroit, limping from one miserable job to another, bereft of all youth friends and family members. The cosmic frame Lawrence was talking about receives a comprehensive and understandable translation for the humble in the aspect of a religious liturgy and calendar (or almanac), expressing symbolically the rhythms of nature in which each man or woman lives. Although Flanders has been urbanized since the Middle Ages and had important industrial cities like Bruges and Ghent, the anthropological ideal of the 19th Century romantic or realist Flemish literature is the one of the independent peasant (“Baas Gansendonck" in Hendrik Conscience’s novel, the unfortunate and stubborn Father figure in Ernst Claes’ “Vlaschaard", the heroes of Stijn Streuvels’ and Felix Timmermans’ rural novels and short stories, etc.). In Russian literature too, the rural element of the population is perceived as doomed under any communist or Westernized regime but simultaneously perceived as the only force able to redeem Russia from its horrible past. Solzhenitsyn pleaded for a general liberation of the Russian peasantry in order to restore the Ukrainian “Corn Belt" in the “Black Earth" area, giving Russia back the agricultural advantages it potentially had before the total destruction of the “Kulaks" by the Bolsheviks.

But we can talk for hours and hours, write full pages of interpretations of our common literary heritage; I cannot answer your question thoroughly as it would need writing a good pile of books. Let us conclude by saying Tradition or literary “ruralism" (be it Flemish, Scandinavian or Russian) are good things provided you don’t remain glued into it. Futurism is a dynamic necessity also, especially in societies like ours, where the countryside isn’t the only life frame anymore. Marinetti and more recently Guillaume Faye stressed the fact that in order to be able to compete on the international chessboard we have the imperious task to get rid of archaisms. But if Faye is obviously more futurist that “archaist", I plead for a good balance between immemorial past and audacious future (like Claes did in his marvellously filmed novel “Mira", in which a backward rural community refuses the building of a bridge that would link the village to the next important town; the young sensual prostitute Mira, treated as a witch by the village bigots, having just come back from Paris, where she was on the game, falls in love with the handsome engineer, the bridge is built and the village dwellers linked to the rest of the people’s community without abandoning their roots the ideal balance between past and future, between demure morality and forgiven sin, is realised). To put it in realistic arguments: we need both a sound rural population (crushed nowadays by the EU-ukases) and a high tech engineering elite (able to create super-weapons) to become a re-born superpower, which would not be unnecessarily aggressive or feverish “imperialist" (in the bad sense of the word), but calmly civilian (Zaki Laïdi) and simply powerful by its plain presence in the world. Mentally, we, as the forerunners of the needed “new teams" in present-day messy and derelict Europe, should be real and staunch “archeo-futurists", mastering our roots and planning boldly our future. The rest is only mean and petty trifles.

Thank you very much, Mr. Steuckers.


Interview with Robert Steuckers (part 1)
Interview with Robert Steuckers (part 2)