Some good news: distinguished writer Kerry Bolton is writing a new biography of Francis Parker Yockey, from a pro-Yockey perspective, which will delve into issues of political philosophy and race.
A new Yockey biography is needed. While Coogan’s Dreamer of the Day has some good points, it is a book written by someone essentially hostile to Yockey’s worldview (albeit Coogan is reasonably objective), and has too little about Yockey’s philosophy and especially about his book Imperium and its influence in the “movement.” In addition, Coogan wastes too many pages on arcane “movement” groups and leaders from the past, and has too much effort wasted on speculation on a “post-war fascist international.” Coogan’s book is, I believe, more about the bizarre world of “international fascism” in the decades after WWII than it is about Yockey himself. We need better.
As a long-term admirer of Yockey, I am looking forward to Bolton’s work. True enough, I’m a critical supporter of Yockey, similar to those described by Bolton thus:
There were even some important individuals in the “Right” who, while disagreeing with Yockey’s views on the USSR and on “race,” nonetheless never lost sight of the brilliance of Yockey and his seminal writings on “Cultural Vitalism.” Two of the most important were Professor Revilo P Oliver and Willis Carto. Although the two fell out quite bitterly, neither ever renounced their admiration for Yockey.
My disagreements with Yockey center around three issues: (1) biological race and science, (2) Spenglerian Pessimism, and (3) Eastern Europe as being outside the West. This post is not the place for a comprehensively detailed analyses of these disagreements, but some comments will, for now, suffice.
Many of Yockey’s ideas on biological race specifically, and on science and scientific topics generally, are not only ludicrous but just plain wrong. Objectively wrong. With respect to race, I suspect that the views of Yockey (and Evola as well) were negatively influenced by some of the racial theories popular before WWII, and still extant today, particularly in the American “movement.” In other words, I don’t think Yockey had any problem with the major racial (e.g., European/African/Asian) distinctions; instead, Yockey was likely troubled by the idea of disjunctive subracial (e.g., Nordic/Alpine/Mediterranean) European subdivisions that considered these putative subraces as almost different species (with implications of superiority/inferiority). As a promoter of European unity, Yockey eagerly latched on to absurd Boasian counter-theories to invalidate what he saw as invidious and divisive distinctions among Europeans. This is in essence the same sort of “moralistic fallacy” (is from ought) that leftist race deniers practice: deriving “objective” natural “facts” (e.g., “race does not exist”) from subjective moral considerations (e.g., “if race does not exist, then we can eliminate racism”). This moralistic fallacy is the opposite of the type of naturalistic fallacy — the ‘is-ought problem” (deriving values from natural facts, ought from is) — often described as a failing of the “Social Darwinist Right.”
However, Yockey’s “spin” on race is not necessary. There are differences between Europeans (although these are better conceptualized as objective statistical genetic differences, and not as disjunctive classifications derived from an outdated Coonian physical anthropology), but these differences are small compared to the enormous European/African/Asian divide, and these smaller differences are not incompatible with Yockey’s political vision for a Western Imperium. Yockey’s racial theories, much less his gross scientific illiteracy, are not necessary for actualizing his political objectives; therefore his bizarre ideas on race/science should be put aside. I’ve written on this previously.
Yockey’s rigid endorsement of Splengerian cyclical history and inevitability — of Pessimism — is understandable given the huge impact that Decline of the West had on his thought. Further, Yockey’s life overlapped with that of Spengler, Hitler, Mussolini, etc. and at that time perhaps it was understandable to believe that the “fall season” of the West, of Caeserism and Imperium, was still ahead (although the outcome and aftermath of WWII should have been a lesson refuting that idea). However, from our vantage point, more than a half-century after Yockey’s death, it is clear that we are in the “winter” of the West. I have previously advocated a proactive strategy of civilizational rebirth that goes beyond the “pessimism” of Spengler and Yockey. To the extent that Spenglerian cycles are real, Spengler’s own insights, as a diagnostician of the “aging and death” of High Cultures, provide us with the tools necessary to overcome “inevitability” and shape our own civilizational future.
As far as Eastern Europe goes, in Imperium, Yockey was adamant that Eastern Europe, especially Russia, was not part of the West; indeed, Russia was described as implacably hostile to the actualization of the Western High Culture. Later, Yockey modified these views, and even talked about “European possibilities” in Russia itself. I advocate inclusion of Eastern Europe into a reborn West (“Overman High Culture”), and my views on Russia are described here.
So, I have my disagreements with Yockey (and, likely, with Bolton as well), but I nevertheless consider myself a Yockeyist of sorts (similar to Oliver and Carto), and therefore look forward to this new Yockey biography. Warts and all, Yockey was, and remains, an enormously important and influential figure on the Far Right, and a good biography of the man and his philosophy will no doubt stimulate useful discussion, analysis, and debate. And this need not be purely theoretical — let us not forget that in the last decade of his life, Yockey was first and foremost a political soldier, actively involved in real-life endeavors. We must remember that he gave his life in pursuit of real-life objectives as part of on-the-ground political Far Right activism. An honest evaluation of Yockey and Yockeyism will benefit the theoreticians and the political soldiers alike. Thank you Mr. Bolton for taking on this important project.