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Sunday, April 05, 2015

Traditionalists blog passes 250,000 page views

After almost nine years of existence, this blog has  passed 250,000 page views. It was started in June 2006 to make available additions to my book Against the Modern World, and has since become a general source of information on the topic of Tradiitonalism and the Traditionalists. This topic, as the number of page views shows, is one that many people find of interest.

The stats report that 45% of these 250,000 page views were by users in the US, UK and Canada, mostly in the US, as the map indicates. This is not surprising for an English-language blog.

The next seven countries, in order, have been France, Germany, Russia, Sweden, Brazil, Ukraine, and Italy. It is hardly surprising to find France and Italy on the list, given the national origins of René Guénon and Julius Evola, or to find Russia and Ukraine on it, given the prominence there of Traditionalism and of Alexander Dugin. The prominence of Germany and Sweden is unexpected, however, as is the prominence of Brazil. The current state of Traditionalism in those countries evidently deserves investigation.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Dugin and CEDADE

A Yale student, Emily Efland, is researching the relationship between Aleksandr Dugin and the Spanish group CEDADE (Círculo Español de Amigos de Europa) in the 1990s. Efland writes:
In the mid-1980s a group formed within CEDADE that devoted itself to esoteric Hitlerism and the study of the works of Miguel Serrano, whose works (and other esoteric Hitlerist texts) were published in the CEDADE-affiliated journal Excalibur. Amid internal factionalism in the late 1980s, members of this group left CEDADE to form their own more esoteric organization, which they called the Thule Group. In the beginning of the 1990s the Thule Group began publishing a journal entitled Hiperbórea. Dugin, presumably through his travels to Spain in the early 1990s, met members of the Thule Group and in 1991 published the Russian version of volume 1 of Hiperbórea, which he entitled Giperborea. I am wondering which members of the Thule Group Dugin was in contact with. I am also interested in receiving any information anyone might have on who was involved in the Thule Group, when it started, what its publications were and where I could find them, and any other information that exists on this faction. I can be reached at emily.efland@yale.edu.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Washington got the wrong man?

In an article just published in Foreign Affairs, "Scared of Putin's Shadow," Marlene Laruelle argues that "in sanctioning Dugin, Washington got the wrong man."

Dugin, she argues, is not that important, and neither is ideology. "By putting Dugin ... on the sanctions list, the United States is essentially conveying that it ... truly believes that nationalistic ideology is the dominant motivation for Russia’s position on Ukraine. If that is correct, then the United States dangerously misunderstands Putin’s strategy ... Moscow’s involvement in Ukraine is primarily strategic."

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dugin sanctioned

By RFE/RL March 11, 2015

"The United States has issued a new list of individuals and entities to be sanctioned over Russia's interference in Ukraine, including Kremlin-connected nationalist ideologue Aleksandr Dugin and former Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov.

"The Treasury Department on March 11 also sanctioned a bank in Crimea -- the Russian National Commercial Bank -- two other former officials from the government of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, eight Ukrainian separatists, and two other leaders of Dugin's Eurasian Youth Union.

"Any U.S. property held by those individuals is frozen, and U.S. citizens are prohibited from doing business with them. The United States took the action to "hold accountable those responsible for violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity." Russian FSB chief Aleksandr Bortnikov, who has been targeted by sanctions in the EU and Canada, was not on the list of individuals targeted by the Treasury Department in this latest round of sanctions."

Friday, February 27, 2015

Houellebecq and Guénon

Soumission (Submission), the new novel by the controversial and best-selling French novelist Michel Houellebecq, has been widely identified (especially in the English-language press) as Islamophobic, but might better be described as Traditionalist.

Houellebec and Soumission were featured on the January 7, 2015 cover of Charlie Hebdo (shown here). Houellebecq's novel was selling well even before the Charlie Hebdo cover and attacks, has since become even better known, and is due out soon in English translation.

Perhaps the book's incidental link to Charlie Hebdo helps explain its identification as Islamophobic. The book certainly features the election of an Islamist as president of France and the consequent Islamization of some aspects of French life, a scenario reminiscent of the Eurabia about which writers such as Bat Ye'or have been warning. However, these events are not the book's main subject. National political events are the background against which the book tells its real story.

The book's real story is the decline and redemption of the narrator, François, a literature professor and expert on Joris-Karl Huysmans (1848-1907), author of À rebours (1884).  The novels of Huysmans are partly autobiographical, and the redemption of Huysmans was found in Catholicism. The story of Houellebecq's hero François evidently echoes some aspects of the life of Houellebecq himself, and certainly echoes Huysmans. The difference is that François finds his redemption in Islam. And his path to Islam runs through identitarian Traditionalism.

Two of the book's characters are or have been involved in the mouvement identitaire, the "identitarian movement." Houellebecq does not explain this movement, but it will be familiar to some readers of this blog as that section of the New Right that emphasizes traditional cultural identities (as against globalized multiculturalism), is partly inspired by Traditionalism, has been further developed by thinkers such as Alain de Benoist and Guillaume Faye, and acknowledges Alexander Dugin. Both of Houellebecq's characters with connections to the identitarian movement are presented sympathetically. One, Robert Rediger, is a major character in the book, the Islamist president of the Sorbonne and later a minister in the Islamist government of France.

Houellebecq's Rediger wrote his PhD thesis on Guénon and Nietzsche, and converted to Islam when he concluded that Catholicism had lost the power to regenerate a fallen West, and that the future lay in Islam, as Guénon had shown. These ideas are developed at some length in Soumission, and are the book's philosophical heart. They are simplified Traditionalism: Traditionalism because they acknowledge Guénon and identify modernity as decline and tradition as the solution, and simplified because they make no mention of perennialism or of the esoteric. Houellebecq's Guénon was a convert to Islam, not a Sufi.

In the end, the real topic of Soumission is probably the decline of the West, and specifically of the French Left, not Islam. Houellebecq does not in fact seem particularly interested in Islam, which he seems to understand primarily in terms of polygamy. Houellebecq's Islam does not stop anyone from drinking good wine. His book, however, shows how Guénon's work is assuming new relevance as Europe's political landscape changes.

My thanks to Bertrand for drawing my attention to Bouddhanar's post "Michel Houellebeck lecteur de René Guénon" and thus to the Traditionalist content of Soumission.