Review: Julius Evola’s “The Myth of the Blood: The Genesis of Racialism”

The Myth of the Blood: The Genesis of Racialism
Julius Evola
Arktos, 2018.

My history with Julius Evola is proof that first impressions aren’t everything. I was in my mid 20s before I picked up my first volume by the Italian philosopher – a nicely presented hardback edition of Revolt Against the Modern World. I’d considered ordering it after a number of recommendations from friends and associates, and was finally pushed to the purchase after viewing a typically excellent 2010 speech/lecture on Evola (titled “The World’s Most Right Wing Thinker”) by Jonathan Bowden. Whether it was the sheer hype that I’d been exposed to, my resultant exaggerated expectations, or simply the content of the text itself, in the end I was disappointed with the book. It hadn’t helped that, other than forays into the work of Nietzsche and Heidegger, I possessed a marked inclination toward the Anglo-American or analytic philosophical tradition. As I result, I developed a kind of prejudice against Continental philosophy (and Continental philosophers) as being typified by pretentious posturing, convoluted or repetitive arguments, and (among the later set) more than a whiff of Marxism. Ideologically speaking, Evola was, of course, light years from the likes of quack contemporaries like Jean-Paul Sartre. I could tell, as I made my way through Revolt, that, in between quasi-mystical musings, Evola had some extremely important thoughts to offer. In fact, it was a source of great frustration that, despite apparently having these valuable things to say, they were unnecessarily and unfortunately lost in the convoluted style and structure of the text. Somewhat ‘burned’ by the experience, I avoided Evola for a number of years — a move I now regret.

In the interval between my reading of Revolt and my later rediscovery of Evola, the Italian’s perceived importance in mainstream academia began to grow, aided by increased translation and reception of his work. The most significant two works of recent years are  probably Francesco Germinario’s Razza del Sangue, razza dello Spirito: Julius Evola, lantisemitismo e il nazionalsocialismo (1930–43) (Bollati Borlinghieri, 2001), and Paul Furlong’s Social and Political Thought of Julius Evola (Routledge, 2013), in which the author posits Evola as a major anti-Enlightenment thinker and, in the words of another scholar, “convincingly disposes of the claim made by [leftist and “antifascist” academic] Roger Griffin, and assumed by many others, that Evola is merely a philosopher of fascism, suggesting instead that he should be understood ‘within the context of European conservative thought since 1789’.”[1]

Evola’s thought has been rising in prominence since the 1970s, when he was especially influential on the French New Right. Some of the notable texts from that period included Julius Evola le visionnaire foudroyé, (Julius Evola, the Devastating Visionary) (Michel Angebert and Robert de Herte, 1977), Julius Evola e laffermazione assoluta, (Philippe Baillet, 1978), La Terre de lumière. Le Nord et lorigine (The Earth of Light: The North and the Origin) (Christophe Levalois, 1985), L’Empire Intérieur (The Inner Empire) (Alain de Benoist, 1995), and Enquête sur la Tradition aujourdhui (Research on the Tradition Today) (Arnaud Guyot-Jeannin, 1996).This in turn led to an increasing (and ongoing) concerned reaction among leftist academics dominating the mainstream, as evidenced in particular in the work of Thomas Sheehan[2], Elisabetta Cassina Wolff[3], Stéphane François[4], and Franco Ferraresi, who described Evola in 1987 as “possibly the most important intellectual figure for the Radical Right in contemporary Europe.”[5] It should probably be added that media hysteria concerning Trump’s victory focused for some time on Steve Bannon’s stated admiration for the Italian philosopher.

With the exception of this media hysteria, I remained in ignorance of the deeper developments until last year when, by pure chance, I happened upon a copy of Evola’s A Handbook for Right-Wing Youth in a used book store. I picked it up, turned a few pages out of sheer curiosity and was struck by a new Evola. Around half the size of Revolt, Handbook was lighter in tone, more punchy and direct. The mysticism was gone. The text was exclusively concerned with practicalities and action. It was also remarkably timeless, containing wisdom and encouragement that would be effective and useful for anyone active in our cause today. I enjoyed Handbook a great deal, and it gave Evola his first permanent place in my home library. I then set about revisiting him, both in terms of his published works and also his reception in mainstream scholarship. It was with great interest, then, that I heard Arktos was preparing to translate and publish another of Evola’s works — a volume from the 1930s expressing Evola’s ideas on race and racialism. More intriguing still was the provocative title: The Myth of the Blood. The book has now been released by Arktos with a handsome and evocative Art Deco cover. As I opened it, though, I wondered: Was this a return to the mystical Evola I didn’t much care for? Or would the book present yet another side to this eclectic thinker?

At the outset, the volume benefits greatly from the translator’s preface. In just thirteen pages of well-written prose, John Bruce Leonard performs a very useful service in not only explaining relevant linguistic issues, but also the history of the text, which we learn was originally published twice — first in 1937 and then again in 1942. This double publication, along with the motivations behind it, is just one reason to agree with Leonard’s summation that The Myth of the Blood is “in some ways a very peculiar book in the Evolian oeuvre, and one that demands a special explanation.” In The Myth of the Blood, Evola essentially charts a course for his complete statement on race. As such, the text was presented by Evola as the first of a two-part treatment of the subject — the second being his Synthesis of the Doctrine of Race (translation forthcoming from Arktos). Evola published Synthesis after 1937 and saw fit to republish The Myth of the Blood shortly afterwards, with some significant changes. These changes, explains Leonard, resulted from a number of factors, including the fact Evola’s ideas had become more refined since 1937, and he essentially wanted to revise some of the earlier work in line with more definitive conclusions he had reached by the time of the publication of Synthesis.

Perhaps more importantly, however, Evola’s immediate environment had changed considerably in terms of racial thinking. A year after the first publication of The Myth of the Blood, the Italian Manifesto of Race was enacted — a piece of legislation modeled explicitly on National Socialist legislation but derided by Evola in The Path of Cinnabar as “a slipshod piece of work.” This was not to say Evola disagreed with the principle of race legislation. In fact, he felt such laws were necessary in Italy “principally due to the Italian Empire which was emerging in Africa; they were needed to establish a pathos of distance on the part of Italians in their dealings with the Africans.” What Evola objected to was the style, spirit, and, in some key respects, the direction of race legislation. As such, The Myth of the Blood came to represent his attempt to provide a constructive critique of scientific and materialist racialism.

The book is divided into twelve chapters, together comprising what Evola describes as a “genealogy,” rather than history, of racialist thought. These chapters deal with the deep origins of racialist thought from Biblical times to the eighteenth century; the work of Count Gobineau; late nineteenth-century race science; the work of Houston Stewart Chamberlain; Evola’s views on the theory of heredity; his views on “racist typology”; contemporary beliefs surrounding the Nordic-Atlantic race; race-influenced historiography of the type produced by Alfred Rosenberg; the Jewish Question and antisemitism; racialism and the law; Evola’s views on German race laws; and finally, his understanding of the racialist thought of Adolf Hitler. Purely from a historical point of view, it should by now be clear that The Myth of the Blood offers a remarkable range of opinions on some of the most decisive and controversial topics, both of Evola’s time and our own.

Evola offers his opinions on these interlocking topics in quite a descriptive and objective fashion, so that it may remain obscure to some readers what exactly (or succinctly) his critique of scientific racialism actually is. (Furlong has suggested that Evola is better at explaining what his ideas are not than what they are.) My own impression — and I’m quite prepared to be contradicted if necessary by other readers — is that Evola’s critique boils down to two key complaints that reoccur with subtlety throughout the text:

  • Evola’s belief that there is a lack of higher aristocratic impulse in generalized racial thinking (i.e., making the assumption that being Aryan is simply a matter of birth rather than also of spirit/nobility/character). Ferraresi cites Evola as arguing concerning the people: “only of an elite may one say that ‘it is of a race’, ‘it has race’ [in the French meaning of race for ‘of good breed’]: the people are only people, mass.” In other words, Evola is advocating a radically aristocratic and anti-egalitarian concept of race.
  • Evola’s unease or even annoyance at the special place accorded to the Nordic type in his day, at the expense of other Europeans.

These critiques place strict biological interpretations of race in a special position within Evola’s thought. Olindo de Napoli uses the label “spiritual racism” to denote such thinking in Italy during the 1930s, and describes Evola as “the point of reference for all spiritual racists.”[6] In de Napoli’s helpful summary of Evola’s work, the philosopher’s highly influential (at least within Italy) and “complex theory of racism had not been purged of biological elements: they were merely placed in a complicated subordinate relationship with respect to the voluntaristic elements.” Similarly, Wolff has characterized Evola’s thought as:

totalitarian’ or ‘Traditional’ racism, inspired by Ludwig Ferdinand Clauss’s book Rasse und Seele. According to this doctrine, superior races were made up of people with specific biological properties, in keeping with anthropological racism, but people, at the same time, with ‘spiritual’ characteristics: men able to show a strong character, able to govern themselves and master their own passions, and who would ‘naturally’ follow the values of Tradition. Evola intended this totalitarian racism to provide guidelines for the selection of a super-race capable of dominating the world: a combination of the Aryan-German and the Roman race. Evola’s antisemitism was just as totalitarian. The Jews were stigmatized, not as representatives of a biological race, but as the carriers of a worldview, a way of being and thinking—simply put, a spirit—that corresponded to the ‘worst’ and ‘most decadent’ features of modernity: democracy, egalitarianism and materialism.[7]

In the first chapter, “Origins,” Evola argues that racism rests on three principles. The first is that humanity is an abstract fiction. “Human nature is fundamentally differentiated.” There prevails among the differentiated races a fundamental inequality, and inequality is the original datum and the normal condition. The second, more abstract, principle is that each race possesses a determinate “spirit” that is reflected in its physical characteristics and its method of constructing civilization. The third is that it is important for a race to remain faithful to its spirit and type, and laws of heredity and non-mixing of blood come into play as vital factors in race history. Evola argues that corollaries to these principles can be found in the beliefs of antiquity:

We therefore find already in antiquity the idea of differences between human beings which are innate, congenital, and, to a certain degree, even “fatal,” because they draw their origin from a state anterior to the human state. Thus, for example, we find a tradition, also a Roman tradition, that whoever were connected to the influences of the sun would be a dominus natus, the man destined naturally and fatally to dominion.

I feel Evola gets closer to a more appropriate analogy when he touches on the racial principles of the Bible, especially the Old Testament or Torah. Although these are drawn out more clearly and scientifically by Kevin MacDonald in A People That Shall Dwell Alone, Evola is certainly correct in pointing to “certain racist elements in the theory of descendence” present in ancient Jewish texts. I also found Evola’s discussion of the racial ideas of the Emperor Julian (“Julian the Apostate”) to be very interesting. Julian rejected the Jewish, and later Christian, idea of a single-pair ( i.e., Adam and Eve) origin for mankind. Instead, and in line with pagan thinking, Julian noted “how very different in their bodies are the Germans and Scythians from the Libyans and Ethiopians,” and insisted that there had been a separate creation of different peoples.[8]

Moving on to the Medieval and Renaissance periods, Evola points to the doctrine of the four humors theorized by Hippocrates and Galen as antecedents to biological understandings of race, and he briefly discusses further developments and additions made by Paracelsus, Jean Bodin, and Pierre le Charron (who in 1601 developed ethnic classifications). Evola sees racial and eugenic thinking also in the work of Tommaso Campanella (1589–1639), who mocked the Europeans of his time who “dedicate themselves with great care to the improvement of the race of dogs and horses, and do not deign to occupy themselves with the race of men.” Evola finds the origins of his own spiritual understanding of race in the works of Herder (with his concept of Volksgeist), Fichte, Franz Bopp, August Friedrich Pott, and Jakob Grimm.

In chapter two, Evola’s genealogy of racial thought progresses with the move away from philosophical understandings and towards clear biological categorization. Although titled “The Doctrine of Count Gobineau,” the chapter explores, contextualizes, and connects the work of Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, Peter Camper, Anders Retzius, Paul Broca, Fabre D’Olivet, Gustave D’Eichtal, and Victor Courtet de L’Isle. Evola sees in de Gobineau’s contribution the discovery of racial causes in the death of civilizations. Evola writes:

The secret for the decline of civilisation for Gobineau is therefore ethnic degeneration. A people is degenerate “because it no longer has the same blood in its veins, continual adulterations having gradually affected that quality of blood. In other words, though the nation bears the name given by its founders, the name no longer connotes the same race.” 

I found Evola’s discussion of de Gobineau to be interesting not merely for its summaries and explorations, but also because of the quite obvious fact that Evola possesses a dislike for aspects of the Frenchman’s work. Not least among these is de Gobineau’s discussion of “Semitic Rome” in which he ponders the infusion of Black blood into the southern Italian gene pool. Evola never makes his (understandable) annoyance explicit, but it’s certainly an undertone to his broader treatment not only of de Gobineau but also later Nordicist thinkers concerned with race purity. Because it remains an undertone, the text avoids becoming a bitter tit-for-tat “in-fight” and the tension within the text actually, for me personally, adds to its character and appeal. Indeed, Evola clearly admires the majority of de Gobineau’s work and opens his third chapter with high praise for the Frenchman’s “manifestation of an aristocratic instinct.”

In this third chapter, “Developments,” Evola deals with post-Gobineau thought, concerning himself most heavily with another Frenchman, Count Georges Vacher de Lapouge. He credits (if that is the right term) de Lapouge with dividing the White, Aryan or Indo-European race into such categories as “Alpine man,” “Western-Atlantic men,” etc. In de Lapouge he sees the origin of the idea of Nordic Aryan man as a blond dolichocephalic. Such was his concern with facial angles and skull proportions that de Lapouge prophesied:  “I am convinced that in the next century millions of men will come to the battlefield on account of the difference of one or two degrees of the cephalic index.” Evola quotes de Lapouge dispassionately, but one gets the strong sense that here he is presenting one of the clearest and worst examples of materialistic racialism. More ambivalent is his treatment of other racial anthropologists including Ludwig Wilser, Friedrich Lange, Ludwig Woltmann, and Heinrich Driesmans.

The fourth chapter concerns the work of the pan-German Nordicist Houston Stewart Chamberlain. Evola is unsparing here in his criticisms of Chamberlain, remarking in relation to his Foundations of the Nineteenth Century: “One is rather disturbed by Chamberlain’s a-systematicality, by his continuous flitting about between one domain and another, movement which bears the pronounced mark of the dilettante.” Again, one senses that Evola is perturbed on some level by Chamberlain’s dismissal of Latins and his description of the superior race as including only the Celts, Teutons, and Slavs. Even Chamberlain’s discussion of spirituality contains, according to Evola, “a violent anti-Catholic and anti-Roman affect.” If that wasn’t bad enough, Chamberlain’s use of the word “Latinising” to describe “the fusion with the chaos of peoples” appears to have provoked yet more annoyance from the author. At this point, Evola lets fly: “It is clear that here Chamberlain’s racism lays its hands fully on the most trivial and banal commonplaces of a profane, liberaloid-Enlightenment and anti-traditional interpretation of history.” At the conclusion of the chapter, Evola has kinder and more nuanced words to say about Chamberlain’s foremost disciple, Joseph Ludwig Reimer.

The fifth and sixth chapters deal with the theory of heredity and the typology of race. In the latter, Evola discusses almost exclusively the work of Hans F. K. Günther, especially his anthropological classifications. This is done with such thought and consideration that to summarize here would do it a kind of injustice. It should suffice to say that Evola appears appreciative that Günther’s classifications aren’t exclusively concerned with physical differences in the races, but also their psychic, psychological, or even quasi-spiritual aspects. In “The Arctic Myth”, the seventh chapter of the book, Evola examines theories regarding the polar origins of the White race. Although subtle, it is again clear that Evola has little patience for such lines of thought, and sees in the Arctic hypothesis the same persistent and unreasonable Nordicism he found elsewhere.

In the eighth chapter, “The Racist Conception of History,” The Myth of the Blood marks a turn to contemporary matters (mainly National Socialist thought) for the remainder of the text. This last quarter of the book is extremely interesting. In “The Racist Conception of History,” Evola examines the work of Alfred Rosenberg. It’s clear from the outset that Evola possesses a marked antipathy for Rosenberg, and, indeed, the very title of the book may be seen as a riposte to Rosenberg’s The Myth of the Twentieth Century. Rosenberg’s first mistake is that he “draws his principle inspiration from the theories of Chamberlain,” and his second is to purvey “a yet more evident anti-Catholic coloration.” Aside from these issues, Evola gives Rosenberg’s race history a reasonably fair hearing, finding fault mainly with what he sees as Rosenberg’s “incomprehension for and the depreciation of aesthetic values in the face of warrior values.” Evola’s next, and by now familiar, critique of Rosenberg concerns the latter’s discussion of the peoples of the Mediterranean, especially the ancient Etruscans. To Rosenberg, the Etruscans were a “mysterious and foreign (Levantine) people, whose dark and subversive influence never really vanished despite Nordic incursions. Rosenberg, for example, sees in Dante’s Inferno an example of “frightful depictions of the afterlife proper to the Etruscans…their superstitious ritualism, their obscene demonism of a Levantine type.” As an avid fan of Dante’s work, especially the Inferno and the majestically chivalrous La Vita Nuova, I found myself agreeing more or less with Evola’s portrayal of Rosenberg as profoundly ignorant in cultural matters requiring any sensitivity.

That being said, I found it difficult to shake the feeling that The Myth of the Blood risked sliding into a kind of racial-philosophical apologetic for non-Nordics. What continually rescues the text from such accusations is the long-standing attitude of Evola in regards to elitism, and the recurrence of this theme throughout the book. Evola’s ultimate, and, certainly from one standpoint, most devastating critique of Rosenberg and other National Socialist thinkers like him, is that their ideology remains in a strong sense egalitarian. Evola writes:

The tradition of the man of Nordico-Teutonic race according to these thinkers was not continued in Charlemagne, but rather in the lineage of the pagan Saxons eradicated by this emperor, and then in the Princes of the Reformation, in revolt against the imperial authority. Von Leers sees in the anti-aristocratic and communistic revolt of the German peasants “the last Nordic revolution of the Medieval” suffocated in blood, and Rosenberg, who likewise sees in this event an insurrection against the Roman servitude in the triple form of Church, State, and Right, adds that in the twentieth century this “spiritual” revolt will be lit anew for the definitive victory. In a yet more pressing way, these ideas are sustained by Walter Darré, whose last work on the Peasantry as Fount of the Life of the Nordic Race has had a diffusion and a success in Germany which we would like to attribute to extrinsic causes…The truly Nordic type is not that of conqueror, but that of peasant: an armed peasant, if you please, ready to defend himself, but a peasant nonetheless.

Evola is left aghast by thinkers like Carl Dryssen who argued that it was necessary “to recognise the farmer-socialist tradition as a Teutonic tradition, and on that basis, to recognise that Germany is essentially related to the Orient, that is the Slavic-Bolshevik element: with the Bolshevik – which is a regime born precisely by free agricultural-soldierly representatives – it must make a common cause against the ‘West.’” Francesco Germinario summarizes Evola’s critiques here as:

attacking the crass, plebian character of Nazi ‘blood-racism’. Nazism, he believed, defined the Aryan race at once too broadly and too narrowly: by making the race coextensive with the entire German Volk, Nazism offered the noble title of Aryan to even the most lowly members of the national community. This also made the mistake of locating legitimacy with the masses, rather than with their leaders. A radical return to tradition would instead require Fascists and Nazis to abandon populist nationalism altogether, in favour of a ‘pagan imperialism’. On the other hand, by claiming that the Nordic peoples of Northwestern Europe were the only Aryans, the Germans foolishly excluded Europe’s other racial elites, and thus demonstrated the unsuitability of Nazi ideology to serve as the basis of the New Order, or revived Holy Roman Empire.[9]

These key critiques resurface in chapters 10 (The Racist Conception of Law), 11 (The New Racist Legislation) and 12 (The Racism of Adolf Hitler). The specific content of these chapters is interesting and worthy of careful reading, but space precludes a full treatment and, because of Evola’s overarching critique, any summary of them would run the risk of this review becoming repetitive in such a manner as to do the text itself an injustice. For the remainder of the review I will therefore focus on the one chapter of the book that may simultaneously be the most interesting and the most out of place. This is Evola’s ninth chapter – Racism and Antisemitism.

This chapter is the most out of place because Evola refrains from presenting a viewpoint that he then critiques or questions. Rather, he immediately locates the Jewish Question outside normal racialist thought, and then highlights the specificities of the issue that require such a location. Evola possessed a great deal of familiarity with the Jewish Question, having edited an Italian edition of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion prior to writing The Myth of the Blood. In “Racism and Antisemitism,” he argues against the idea that Jews are a pure race akin to an Ur-Volk, positing that they are instead “a people of mixed breeds” that became biologically distinct. He concedes that this mixing of breeds occurred in deep history, but that the people we see today were forged by Judaism to such an extent that “it has elaborated instincts and attitudes of a special type which through the centuries has become hereditary.” He quotes the Jew James Darmesteter as writing “The Jews has been formed, not to say fabricated, by his books and by his rites. As Adam issued from the hands of Jehovah, so he [the Jew] issues from the hands of his rabbis.” Such assertions, of course, fit rather well with Kevin MacDonald’s account of the quasi-biological role of early Judaism in A People That Shall Dwell Alone.

According to Evola, Judaism reached its completion not in the age of Christ but in the post-Christian era – in the era of the Talmud. It was during this period that “formulations of the Jewish Law further reinforced and characterised the Jewish way of being and instinct, above all with respect to their relations with non-Jews.” Evola concurs with René Guénon that those Jews who abandon Jewish Law are even more dangerous than those adhering to it since “it is he who is raceless becomes anti-race; he who is without nation becomes the anti-nation.” He also assents to the view of Heinrich Wolf in which the Jewish element is

an ungraspable, elusive, nationless substance within every nation…the very principle of anti-race, anti-tradition, anti-culture: not the antithesis of a determinate culture, but of every culture insofar as it is racially and nationally determined…With the spirit of nomads, of Desertic people connected to no land, the Jews have injected into the various peoples – beginning with the Roman – the virus of denaturalization, or universalism, of internationalism of culture. It is an incessant action of corrosion of everything which is differentiated, qualitative, connected to the blood, and to tradition.

Evola’s discussion on the Jewish notion of acting as a “light unto the nation” is priceless and exceptional, and concerns what Evola terms the Jewish self-concept as the “man of redemption.” It deserves to be read and absorbed in full, but it should suffice to state here that the “man of redemption” ultimately “acts towards the contamination and degradation of every higher value.” Similarly, Evola sees in the idea of the Jews as self-appointed “Chosen People” destined for dominion over all other peoples “a profound and boundless hatred for every non-Jew” that would “concretize itself in a serpentine praxi.” Evola then proceeds to a list of anti-Gentile passages from the Talmud that very capably support his argument.

Evola insists that none of these issues, although rooted in deep history and the earliest writing of the Talmud, have gone away: “these precepts have for centuries acted formatively in the intimate Jewish substance: they have left their indelible traces.” Evola provides what may in fact be a primitive, 1930s, version of the theory of a group evolutionary strategy. Instead of speaking strictly of genes and traits, Evola instead refers to a “complex of instincts” that have merely become secularised and practical in modernity. This instinct is, he argues, primarily “revolutionary… which could act for itself, without any precise point of reference, as the ferment for continual agitation and subversion.” Evola argued against some of the anti-Jewish thought of his time which revolved around specific conspiracy theories. Instead, he suggested that, in instances of apparent Jewish coherence in subversive activities, “we are not dealing with precise intention, nor a plan, but precisely an instinct, a mode of being which manifests itself naturally and spontaneously. The convergence realises itself by “syntony,” by the affinity of the instinct and of inspiration. With respect to these Jews one might thus not even speak of true responsibility: the Jew cannot do otherwise, even as an acid cannot do other than corrode. It is his way of being, determined by the aforementioned atavistic and racial causes.” A group evolutionary strategy by another name.

Before finishing with a discussion of the Protocols, the entire second half of the chapter is full of insightful, and highly quotable, comments. One borrowed from Theodor Fritsch (“the Jewish community has less the characteristics of a religious community than of a social conspiracy”) simply begs for inclusion here. Evola even provides a kind of miniature Culture of Critique by highlighting the work of Freud, Adler, Claudio Lombroso (Jewish criminologist), Nordau, Wasserman, Hirschfeld and Durkheim, adding:

These are specific and easily multiplied examples of actions with a thousand faces but with a single effect: to disintegrate, to degrade, to subvert. It is Schadenfreude – the enjoyment in demoralising, in spoiling, in dirtying, in sensualising, in opening the doors to the “subteranean” parts of the human soul, that this might unleash itself and satisfy itself – it is the characteristic Schadenfreude of the Jewish-Levantine soul, the soul of the “man of redemption.”

******

The Myth of the Blood is a remarkable book in several respects – as a historical artefact; as counterweight to modern scientific racialist thought; as an example of radical anti-egalitarian thought; as a contribution to the discussion of the Jewish Question; as an influential and consequential riposte to strictly Nordicist visions of European civilization (in the past, present, and future); and even as an important development within Evola’s own oeuvre. I can say with some certainty that no-one will find agreement with everything that Evola has to say in the text, but I can equally say that no-one will struggle to find significant value in it either. This is a book that challenges and provokes, mocks and cajoles, directs and instructs. I found myself frustrated with Evola, perplexed by him, and yet also deeply informed. He refuses today, as he refused in the 1930s, to be ignored.


[1] Marcus Hunt, “Review: Social and Political Thought of Julius Evola by Paul Furlong,” Political Studies Review (2015) Vol. 13, 239–316, 247.

[2] Thomas Sheehan, “Myth and Violence: The Fascism of Julius Evola and Alain de Benoist,” Social Research, Vol. 48, No. 1, (Spring 1981), 45-73.

[3] Elisabetta Cassina Wolff, “Apolitìa and Tradition in Julius Evola as Reaction to Nihilism,” European Review, Vol. 22, No. 2 (May 2014), 258 – 273; and “Evola’s interpretation of fascism and moral responsibility,” Patterns of Prejudice, 50:4-5, 478-494.

[4] Stéphane François, “The Nouvelle Droite and “Tradition””, Journal for the Study of Radicalism, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Spring 2014), 87-106.

[5] Franco Ferraresi, “Julius Evola : tradition, reaction, and the Radical Right,” European Journal of Sociology, Vol. 28:1 (May 1987), 107 – 151.

[6] Olindo De Napoli, “The origin of the Racist Laws under fascism. A problem of historiography,” Journal of Modern Italian Studies 17(1) 2012: 106–122.

[7] Wolff, “Evola’s interpretation of fascism and moral responsibility,”, 483.

[8] Although not mentioned by Evola, I was moved to recall the Scandinavian Rígsþula in which a Norse god (interpreted alternately by scholars as Odin or Heimdall) wanders the earth fathering three classes of men that are unalterably distinguished by their appearance, spirit, and abilities.

[9] Benjamin Martin, “Review: Francesco Germinario, Razza del Sangue, razza dello Spirito: Julius Evola, l’antisemitismo e il nazionalsocialismo (1930–43),”  Modern Italy, Vol. 9, No.1, (2004), 124-125.

21 replies
  1. Chauncey Mcdermott
    Chauncey Mcdermott says:

    ‘as counterweight to modern scientific racialist thought’

    So which side do you err on?

    The Italian Fascists were notoriously tolerant of Jews. Evola to me always seemed to have a bit of the apologist about him.

  2. JRM
    JRM says:

    A masterful review! My only minor quibble is that the sentence that contains the words “as counterweight to modern scientific racialist thought;” should have been rendered with quotes around the word “scientific”.

    With a mere handful of exceptions, the modern writer on race begins with the desired outcome “no differences between races” or “race is a social construct”, and works his way back, quite carefully, through any “evidence” he can misrepresent for his purposes. “Scientific”, they are not.

  3. mp
    mp says:

    “…in between quasi-mystical musings…” “The mysticism was gone….”

    Regarding the two review quotes, I’m sure Andrew Joyce writes loosely, using the word mysticism in its more colloquial or general meaning. However, we must be aware (and I’m sure Dr. Joyce is) that in the context of Evola’s work that word takes on a specific and rather technical usage, a usage contrary to what Evola’s writings intended to support. [This is also the case for Rene Guenon, a writer who influenced Evola in certain important ways.]

    Within this special context, mysticism (or the mystical experience) results from an emotive, typically uncontrolled, heightened spiritual (often religious) experience that may or may not be repeatable. An experience that is extremely personal, and whose “knowledge value” may not be capable of particular generalization.

    Evola’s “mysticism” (as the review calls it) is in fact a learned activity, requiring intense training along with much work on oneself. It is what he calls an “esoteric” ascesis. This ascetic practice is not meant to evoke religious “feeling.” Instead, its goal was an understanding of a “vertical” non-common knowledge. Certainly against Hume, and the limits of the critical methodology stemming from Kant (where the transcendental ground of knowledge precluded any knowledge of the transcendent), Evola argued that through ascesis, higher transcendent knowledge was possible.

    For those interested, the difference in meaning is highlighted, first for Guenon, in the chapter, “The Initiatic and Mystical Paths” (Perspectives on Initiation); for Evola one can turn to his chapter, “Varieties of Ascesis” (found in his book, Doctrine of Awakening).

    However it is, I am happy that more of his works are available to English readers, and happy that Dr. Joyce and this site are helping to make them more known. Arktos’ editors have also done a good job in sourcing many of Evola’s own loose references, whenever they can be found, and this book is no exception.

  4. Trenchant
    Trenchant says:

    (Mod. Note: Trenchant, this moderator makes spelling corrections and will change incorrect diction when pointed out, but I don’t mess with CONTENT and particularly proper nouns. When notified of problems in this arena, I forward the info to TOO Editor, who is responsible for content. A comment-stream moderator deals mainly with comments. The TOO editor deals with the content of articles he chooses. Thank you very much for pointing out possible content errors! Your concern has been communicated to the editor.)

    • Charles Frey
      Charles Frey says:

      Trenchant, once again I have to draw attention to Pierre’s uncharacteristic, prolonged radio silence. Last time, after his operation, you were able to quieten our concerns by informing us, that he was well.

      Could you please repeat that !

  5. royAlbrecht
    royAlbrecht says:

    I pity people who try to, as the article makes mention of…, scientifically quantify…, the amount of influence different aspects (i.e. race, breeding (as in aristocratic vs. commoner), work input, etc.) of peoples’ lives have on the ability to determine Spiritual Enlightenment and/or noble behavior.

    I see the two (S.E. &/or n. b.) intimately linked in the long run because once the first is experienced the second becomes more a matter of course rather than a forced endeavour.

    Spiritual Enlightenment can be induced upon or is available to anyone who either is forced against their will into doing the work necessary and learning the techniques or willing to consciously “go the distance” without any force whatsoever.

    The only barrier that I see on the path is the “age factor”.

    As people age, the parameters of both macro and micro movement become continually narrower until, usually just before they die, they are hardly capable of moving at all, let alone able to establish the physical parameters required to attain sufficiently deep enough states of metabolic stasis so as to be able to return to macro a state of movement with renewed vigour and purpose.

    As for specific aptitudes of different sub-Races of humanity, and whether one is superior to another, the answer to this question is more determined by the general paradigm of existence we as a planet wish to live in than any absolute rule.
    If the planet, on balance, is okay with being ruled by a bunch of small brained, superstitious, cunning liars (Jews) who are consumed with an addiction to material gratification, then obviously the Jewish behavioural traits are superior.
    If life as a whole wishes to conduct itself in a more compassionate and mutually inclusive manner then Central Northern European behavioural traits are superior.
    The fact that Evola, because of his southerly Italian features, is excluded from the above “opinion-definition”, and he is therefore irked by this concept, is irrelevant, because the Roman Empire long ago fell to the infiltration of the cunning Jews.
    The last vestiges of Aryan behavior are predominantly to be found in the Central Northern European genotype…, no matter where on the planet they may be.
    If the Jews are indeed successful in wiping it out, the world will have decided to take the path of a rat infested, pig sty filled, A-spiritual, backstabbers paradigm.
    If life on the planet decides that it wishes to live in relative peace, it will route out the Jews within their midst’s and either bind them or, as I am in favour of, proceed directly to the nearest active volcano for the “cast into” solution the Bible speaks of. Only thereafter IMO will life be able to take a turn in the paradigm it is pursuing.

    • Neil C
      Neil C says:

      royAlbrecht
      I read somewhere and had to agree Generally, Europeans are quite addicted to Materialism (Maybe equipment is/was more necessary).
      Jews I have met/worked for seem non-material(in terms of actual goods), although their usury takes advantage of our materialism.
      They seem more interested in the distilled result- Money (It may be that you also include money in that definition) What I read implied that our obsession with goods leaves us wide open to entrapment by usurers.

      • RoyAlbrecht
        RoyAlbrecht says:

        Personally, I try to avoid the term “…Europeans…”, although I do lapse from time to time.

        1) How can one justify grouping Sicilians with Central Swedes? It isn’t happening.
        Genetically Sicilians are closer to Iranians than say Germans and even among Germans there is a notable difference between Northerners and Southerners.

        2) The Rothschild project to wipe out resistance to Jewish debasement is dependent upon general amalgamation of Racial characteristics and Centralization of power.
        Although it’s obvious that culturally, people within the European land mass do share more in common than they do with people outside it, except perhaps the Japanese and some other elements of Aryan blood in Central Asia,
        saying all Europeans are materialistic does not rub quite right with me.

        Nevertheless, since the Jew has stealthily infiltrated infrastructural control nodes within almost ALL Races on the planet, (((they))) have made the prevailing paradigm appear as though,
        “…the more material one has the better one’s life is…”.
        This Jewish Lie of Materialism is a sickness that has trickled down and infected most life on the planet and it is precisely this sickness that exposes non-Jews to periodic bouts of “…usurious harvesting…” by Jews.
        Life runs on the tread mill of materialism as taught by the (((Hollywood American Dream))) and Jews through various schemes of
        “Quantitative Thieving and/or Legal Unilateral Redistribution”
        of wealth, periodically “…relieves…” non-Jews of their accumulations.

        In short, humanity is taught what to chase and Jews periodically “…convolutedly harvest…” what has been accumulated.

        To say that one Race or Sub-Race is more materialistic than another is IMO like saying, one form of life wants to survive more than another form.

        Swedes and Germans for example (to say nothing of the more “…Pure…” English) may be more innovative, but the Chinese are better “…bean collectors…”, however both are subject to Jewish Theft and the (((imparted notion))) that more is never enough.

        Jews are somewhat at an advantage in their drive to exterminate Aryan behaviour in that they are:
        1) Hidden amongst all Races,
        2) Work collusively through the Stolen Criminal Safe Haven State of Occupied Palestine,
        3) Actively shield the identity of their “true leadership” from non-Jewish eyes,
        4) Have either criminalized or made it amoral to identify Organized Jewry as the driving force behind Global Malignancy.

        Even Jews are not really materialistic per se, in that (((they))) willingly underwrite bankrupt Jews according to their Aptitude at Thievery.
        Jews are however, at a disadvantage when it comes to actual achievement.
        1000’s of years of usury has a way of making hideous and useless, the physical attributes necessary to achieve in their own right.
        Even the thought of having to actually work for a living is so foreign a concept that it scares the hell out of most of them.

        • Neil C
          Neil C says:

          RoyAlbrecht
          When I say Europe I really think in my mind’s eye of Northern Europe, something I have not thought about. I would of think Italy and Greece as the Mediterranean (something to think about).
          I must say I have never seen a Jew up a set of ladders or on roadworks digging a hole or driving a truck even!
          Thanks for the reply

          • RoyAlbrecht
            RoyAlbrecht says:

            I really am not much for nit-pickers, so to do it myself is hypocritical.
            Notwithstanding, in my attempt to reverse the amalgamating trends of the debasing Jew, I treat Racially aware Northern Shore Mediterraneans, no matter which country they come from, as members of a larger White army doing battle against the Globalist Criminal Jew.

            IMO, White materialism is not the root factor in the Jewish weapon used against Whites.
            I would say it is a combination of factors:
            1) The Jewish war against Aryans is being waged on people who have come to internalize the idea that to think that a secret cabal of Jews is actually trying to kill them is pathological.
            2) Jews have taken over our Religious institutions (among many others) and turned them into battle shields that hide (((their))) own cunning deviousness.
            3) On a metabolic level, Our collective immunity and personal energy has been so run down that our will power to resist Jewish lies is, at present, extremely low.

            Thank you for caring!

        • King Kong
          King Kong says:

          Even the lowest caste Indians like the Gondi, the Paniya are more “Aryan” then Northwestern europeans.
          You live in a fantasy land.

          • RoyAlbrecht
            RoyAlbrecht says:

            Low caste Indians remind me of Australian Aborigines without the violence but with a talent for cattle herding and Brahman worship.

            Tamils by any other name.

            Granted they are Hindus but have the IQ of sub-Saharan Africans.
            Good if you need someone to collect cow dung and build mud huts.
            Unfortunately Germans design BMW M5s that cruise on the Autobahn at 320 Kmph. and bamboo is not a widely obtainable building material in Germany.

  6. Tarrasik
    Tarrasik says:

    Great article. I have not read the book, but here are some thoughts.

    The ‘Myth of the Blood’ is most certainly a slam against Rosenberg’s The Myth of the 20th Century. There is really no other possible reason for that name. Rosenberg’s book is all about the importance of blood in the development and achievements of human society. He uses the term both in a physical, i.e., racial sense, and in a metaphysical sense similar to Jung’s collective memory. For his effrontery, Rosenberg was hanged at Nuremberg as a ‘major Nazi war criminal’.

    But what does Evola mean by blood or race? What is the relationship between the two terms? He believes race exists but then makes the claim that ‘blood is a myth’. Doesn’t blood have DNA? Evola fails Voltaire’s dictum that one must define terms.

    According to Francesco Germinario’s quote, Evola felt Nazi racial views were wrong because they “…offered the noble title of Aryan to even the most lowly members of the national community. This also made the mistake of locating legitimacy with the masses, rather than with their leaders.”

    How would the Nazis answer Evola’s criticisms? Hitler had this to say about people like Evola:

    “The knights of the pen and the literary snobs of to-day should be made to realize that the great transformations which have taken place in this world were never conducted by a goosequill…. All great movements are popular movements. They are the volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotions, stirred into activity by the ruthless Goddess of Distress or by the torch of the spoken word cast into the midst of the people. In no case have great movements been set afoot by the syrupy effusions of æsthetic littérateurs and drawing-room heroes. The doom of a nation can be averted only by a storm of glowing passion.”

    Yes, Hitler believed power resides in the masses. But there is ample evidence this is true. In our time, populism is the global elite’s number one enemy. Trump’s success hinge on that support. He has been very careful to maintain contact with the masses which explains why the masses love him, and the elites call him a Nazi. The fake news sources break themselves on the rock of populism.

    “A movement which has great ends to achieve must carefully guard against the danger of losing contact with the masses of the people. Every problem encountered must be examined from this viewpoint first of all and the decision to be made must always be in harmony with this principle. The movement must avoid everything which might lessen or weaken its power of influencing the masses; not from demagogical motives but because of the simple fact that no great idea, no matter how sublime and exalted it may appear, can be realized in practice without the effective power which resides in the popular masses.”

    Unlike Evola, Hitler doesn’t make a distinction between race, blood, or species.

    “People of the same blood should be in the same Reich. The German people will have no right to engage in a colonial policy until they shall have brought all their children together in the one State. When the territory of the Reich embraces all the Germans and finds itself unable to assure them a livelihood, only
    then can the moral right arise, from the need of the people to acquire foreign territory. ”

    He makes the amazing claim that the State is a racial organism:

    The instinct for the preservation of one’s own species is the primary cause that leads to the formation of human communities. Hence the State is a racial
    organism, and not an economic organization. The difference between the two is so great as to be incomprehensible to our contemporary so-called ‘statesmen’. That is why they like to believe that the State may be constituted as an economic structure, whereas the truth is that it has always resulted from the exercise of those qualities which are part of the will to preserve the species and the race.”

    My impression is that Evola stumbles on his own sense of eliteness.

    • Hatecrime Hotline
      Hatecrime Hotline says:

      I have to agree in entirety.

      As undoubtedly intellectually powerful as Evola was, I often gained the impression he was too intellectually secluded from mass-existence to have an opinion to apply to an entire race that could contain complete kernels of truth. In his being, he lacked something fundamental. His affliction was like that of many of the middle classes today who cannot comprehend the problems of the working classes. Did Evola serve among the hell of the First World War? I’m sure his so-called ‘aristocracy’ kept him well insulted from the mud, blood and carnage of the actual battlefields.

      Evola wasn’t a ‘man of action’, and the true aristocrat (‘of the soul’ as well as of the blood!) knows when to put down the pen/ keyboard and pick up the sword or rifle. Italians throughout the early twentieth century proved that Chamberlain’s and Rosenberg’s leanings towards a superiority of racial-health among Nordics, or at least Nordic-Alpinids was entirely correct, and remains so. In Germany, when the chips were down, the truly great characters joined the fight and became Heroes, until the forces of darkness turned their mortality into dust.

      I believe these men (men like Evola) used their intellects as a shield, and they hid behind it when the violent tremors of change began to register on the Richter-scale of history. Certainl, much of their diagnostics were intellectually valuable and their names were inflated by the acknowledgement of their writing by the media, but their writings have NOT been instrumental in any great movement. They did not join their co-called superior intellects to the weight of the swinging hammer of revolution in volcanic oratory to hungrily receptive masses (masses including ALL classes!!!).

      Interesting they were; read they were, certainly; instrumental, absolutely not. No Spengler or Evola ever lived ‘der Heldenleben’. This is why they tended towards a ‘classical conservativism’. Conservativism of all types is incompatible with the eternal Hero’s life.

      As usual, Hitler’s view of these types was unsurpassed – it merits repeating,

      “The knights of the pen and the literary snobs of to-day should be made to realize that the great transformations which have taken place in this world were never conducted by a goosequill…. All great movements are popular movements. They are the volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotions, stirred into activity by the ruthless Goddess of Distress or by the torch of the spoken word cast into the midst of the people. In no case have great movements been set afoot by the syrupy effusions of æsthetic littérateurs and drawing-room heroes. The doom of a nation can be averted only by a storm of glowing passion.”

      A true ‘aristocrat’ feels the life-blood of his whole race surging through his being, and as such is able to commune with all classes of his kinfolk with the undimming awareness that he is a chief of the racial-family (volksgemeinschaft of the Nationalsocialists) and therefore is responsible for them, just as they have the power to bury him or crown him.

      When they are crest-fallen, he understands it befits his position to stride forward, out of the comfort of his intellectual desk-study, to lead from the front, spear are sharp as intellect, combined to protect the rest of his kinfolk in whatever way his attributes best suit him for, just as the Alpha wolf does so for the rest of the wolf pack. He does not hide away and bury himself in paper at his writing desk or in a library!

      PS I don’t think it is merely coincidence that the only genuine Nationalsocialist organisation in the world today is the Nordic Resistance Movement of Scandinavia. HS Chamberlain was right!

      • mp
        mp says:

        @ HH: “Evola wasn’t a ‘man of action’, and the true aristocrat (‘of the soul’ as well as of the blood!) knows when to put down the pen/ keyboard and pick up the sword or rifle.”

        Evola fought in WW1, and in 1945 was paralyzed from the waste down after an allied bombing action (at which time he was 47 years old. Not prime fighting age.). What was he supposed to do? Mount a machine gun on his wheelchair?

  7. Evola
    Evola says:

    The only fair solution is to ensure perpetual, exhaustive intermarriage with the lowest sub Saharan intellects possible.

  8. PermReader
    PermReader says:

    The conflict of today`s rights and leftists is : who is more scientific -who posesses the future.Both sides declare that science is on their side,that is quite ridiculouse after the marxism collapse. But the extreme rights keep fighting with the rationality and common sense. As a conservative by myself,be cautious.

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