The notions of citizenship, liberty, and equality of political rights, as well as popular sovereignty, were closely interrelated. The most essential feature of citizenship was one’s origin and heritage: Pericles was the ‘son of Xanthippus from the deme of Cholargus’. From 451 BCE, one had to be born of an Athenian mother and father in order to become a citizen. Defined by his belonging, the citizen (polites) was opposed to the idiotes, or non-citizen—a designation that quickly took on a pejorative meaning (from the notion of the isolated individual with no belonging came the idea of the ‘idiot’). Citizenship as a function thus derived from the notion of citizenship a status which was the exclusive prerogative of birth. To be a citizen meant, in the fullest sense of the word, to belong to a homeland – that is, to a homeland and a past.
- Excerpt from: The Problem of Democracy, by Alain de Benoist
“Modern liberalism has suppressed patriotic nationhood into a situation in which politics has been reduced to a “delivery service” decision-making process resembling the economic “command post,” statesmen have been reduced to serving as tools for special interest groups, and nations have become little more than markets. The heads of modern liberal states have no options but to watch their citizenry being somatized by civilizational ills such as violence, delinquency, and drugs.
Ernst Junger once remarked that the act of veiled violence is more terrible than open violence. (Journal IV, September 6, 1945). And he also noted: “Slavery can be substantially aggravated when it assumes the appearance of liberty.” The tyranny of modern liberalism creates the illusion inherent in its own principles. It proclaims itself for liberty and cries out to defend “human rights” at the moment when it oppresses the most. The dictatorship of the media and the “spiral of silence” appear to be almost as effective in depriving the citizenry of its freedom by imprisonment. In the West, there is no need to kill: suffice it to cut someone’s microphone. To kill somebody by silence is a very elegant kind of murder, which in practice yields the same dividends as a real assassination—an assassination which, in addition, leaves the assassin with good conscience. Moreover, one should not forget the importance of such a type of assassination. Rare are those who silence their opponents for fun.”
- Excerpt From: Alain de Benoist on the Decay of Modern Societies
“In the postmodern world, change no longer occurs by explosion but rather by implosion. Life begins to change when enough citizens turn away from the institutional game because they believe that “real life is elsewhere”. Today, what we need the most is not revolutionaries – these emblematic figures of modernity – but rebels. The men and women of whom the popular slogans gloss over like rain on ducks, simply because they have chosen to think and live differently.”
- Alain de Benoist in an interview with Zinnober Magazine – Sping 2004
The Modern Conception of Sovereignty: A Jacobin Invention
Alain de Benoist
The question of sovereignty reappeared at the end of the Middle Ages, when many began to ask not only what is the best possible form of government, or what should be the purpose of the authority held by political power, but what is the political bond that unites a people to its government? That is to say, how ought we to define, within a political community, the connection between those who govern and those who are governed?
This is the question that Jean Bodin attempted to address in his famous book, La République (The Commonwealth), which appeared in 1576. Bodin did not invent sovereignty, but he was the first to make a conceptual analysis and to propose a systematic formulation. The starting point for this exercise was not an observation of the facts but a two-fold aspiration: first, Bodin’s desire for a restoration of the social order, which had been turned upside down by the religious wars, and second, the demand, on the part of the kings of France, for emancipation from every form of allegiance to the emperor and the pope. Bodin’s treatment of sovereignty would quite naturally constitute the ideology of the territorial kingdoms, then in their infancy, which sought to emancipate themselves from the tutelage of the Holy Roman Empire, while consolidating the transformation of power that resulted from the king’s success in dominating his feudal nobility.
Continue reading ‘Conception Of Sovereignty’
If egalitarianism is reaching its ‘final stage of affirmation’, what will succeed it will necessarily be something different. Moreover, if the present world is the materialization of the end of a cycle, it is equally clear that the only possible source of inspiration possible for what must be born can only be something which has preceded what has just occurred. The projective force for the future resides in the spirit of the remotest past. The ‘positive nihilism’ of Nietzsche has only one sense: one can only build on a site which has been completely cleared and leveled. There are those who do not want to construct (a certain kind of left) and do not want to raze to the ground (a certain right). In my view both these two attitudes are to be condemned. If a new right is to be brought into being we have to start from scratch. And given the time which has to be made up it will need about a century to succeed. Which means there is not a minute to lose. – Alain de Benoist.
From: Les idées à l’endroit [Ideas in their place] (Albin Michel, Paris, 1980)
The Path Toward the Sacred
Alain de Benoist
In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Renaissance was genuinely a re-naissance, a rebirth. “It involved,” as Ernest Renan said, “seeing Antiquity face to face.” Yet that rebirth was not a journey backward nor a simple resurgence of the past, but on the contrary a point of departure for a new spiritual adventure, a new adventure of the Faustian soul, henceforth triumphant because finally awakened to itself. Today “neo-paganism,” likewise, is not a regression. It is, on the contrary, the deliberate choice of a more authentic future, more harmonious, more powerful — a choice that projects into the future, for new creations, the Eternal from which we come.
Continue reading ‘Path Toward The Sacred’
Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft: A Sociological View of the Decay of Modern Society
Alain de Benoist
(Translated and interpreted by Tomislav Sunic.)
Peaceful modern societies which respect the individual evolved from age-old familistic ties. The transition from band-type societies, through clan and tribal organizations, into nation-states was peaceful only when accomplished without disruption of the basic ties which link the individual to the larger society by a sense of a common history, culture and kinship. The sense of “belonging” to a nation by virtue of such shared ties promotes cooperation, altruism and respect for other members. In modern times, traditional ties have been weakened by the rise of mass societies and rapid global communication, factors which bring with them rapid social change and new philosophies which deny the significance of the sense of nationhood, and emphasize individualism and individualistic goals. The cohesion of societies has consequently been threatened, and replaced by multicultural and multi-ethnic societies and the overwhelming sense of lost identity in the mass global society in which Western man, at least, has come to conceive himself as belonging.
Continue reading ‘Gemeinschaft & Gesellschaft’