If you haven’t the foggiest notion of who we’re talking about, you’re not alone. Julius Evola was an occultist and radical “traditionalist” philosopher who, for a time, was the darling of the Italian Fascists (A chapter of Mussolini’s Intellectuals: Fascist Social and Political Thought  is devoted to this period of his life). Like many unapologetic villains of the twentieth century, he thought he looked like a fancy lad in a monocle.
Brushing aside his surname’s seeming similarities to hemorrhagic fever and GMO-free microwavable foods, Franco Ferraresi once labeled his philosophy “one of the most radically and consistently antiegalitarian, antiliberal, antidemocratic, and antipopular systems in the twentieth century.” It’s part of the generic fascism pantheon, though it’s important to note Evola was not a proponent of the biological racism most famously advocated by the NSDAP, but of the palingenetic powers of “spiritual racism”. From Elementi di una educazione razziale (Elements of a Racial Education):
[R]acism invigorates and renders tangible the concept of tradition; it makes the individual get used to observing in our ancestors not just a series of the more or less illustrious “dead,” but rather the expression of something still alive in ourselves and to which we are tied in our interior. We are the carriers of a heritage that has been transmitted to us and that we need to transmit – and in this spirit it is something going beyond time, something indicating, what we called elsewhere, ‘the eternal race.’ … In other words race is at a same time a heritage and a collective substrate. Irrespective of the fact that it expresses itself among all people, it is only among few that it attains its perfect realization and it is precisely there that the action and the significance of the individual and the personality can assert themselves.
It’s nearly impossible to neatly summarize Evola’s “spiritual racism”, so if you really want to wade through the pedantic muck of his belief system, follow this link and go to 3: Esoteric-traditionalist Racism and Eugenics: Julius Evola. The point is that his Weltanschauung had both an immediate impact and a lasting legacy. In 1942, a version these views was officially adopted as part of Italian Fascism’s platform. In the 1960s and 1970s, far-right Italian terrorists were so inspired by him that they called themselves Children of the Sun after the “Solar Civilization” he envisioned.
And today, Evola is still celebrated by those whose who find inspiration in a bundle of rods, from the “race realists” at Stormfront and Occidental Observer to Greece’s Golden Dawn, Hungary’s Jobbik and Russia’s Aleksander Dugin. Dugin, whose own influential mystic-fascistic worldview we plan to expound upon greatly in the near future, describes Evola as “one of the leading antiegalitarian philosophers of the twentieth century.”
He’s also found his way into Great Manipulator Steve Bannon and punching bag Richard Spencer’s intellectual milieu. Bannon in particular seems to have developed his own mystic-fascistic belief system based on the idea of “The Fourth Turning” around which his ideas about racial supremacy and the war for the spiritual survival of the West orbit. It makes perverse sense that he would have taken succor in Evola’s byzantine, Hyperborean gobbledygook during his mazeway resynthesis. Nor should it shock us that the professionally detestable Spencer is ecstatic about the Chief Strategist’s esoteric reading list:
Mr. Spencer said “it means a tremendous amount” that Mr. Bannon was aware of Evola and other Traditionalist thinkers. “Even if he hasn’t fully imbibed them and been changed by them, he is at least open to them,” he said. “He at least recognizes that they are there. That is a stark difference to the American conservative movement that either was ignorant of them or attempted to suppress them.”
While you won’t find this on Facebook’s Trending Topics or as The Huffington Post’s Big Dumb Headline, let’s just say it’s a big deal that Julius Evola impressed the Devil who whispers in the president’s ear enough for him to have cited him in public. This is not typically done in the open. Richard Spencer is right to differentiate between the typical (if authoritarian-leaning) intellectual throughlines of establishment conservatism and the far more extreme “traditionalist” ideas nested inside Trump’s Movement. More’s the pity that Evola and other nasty viruses are spreading through the halls of power at a fantastic speed.
(Year Zero/Day Twenty-Three)