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Sunday, February 05, 2017

Arktos's Jorjani attacks perennialism

Ever since its launch in 2010, Arktos has been one of the major platforms for Traditionalist writings. But now its new editor-in-chief, Jason Reza Jorjani (born 1981, pictured), an American who describes himself as of Persian and Northern European descent, has published "Against Perennial Philosophy" (AltRight.com, October 21, 2016), in which he identified Traditionalism as the "greatest enemy."

The original basis of Arktos was that while there was wide agreement in certain circles that "that something has gone terribly wrong with the modern world," there were differences about whether the problem was political, sociological, spiritual or metaphysical, and consequent "internal squabbles." Arktos therefore sought to provide useful resources for what it called "the subculture of anti-modernity," not to "seek consistency." Its initial offerings, some of which it published itself and some of which it resold, included books by Frithjof Schuon, Ananda Coomaraswamy and John Michell, as well as Julius Evola, Alain de Benoist and Carl Schmitt. Since 2010, Arktos has commissioned and published English translations of Evola and Dugin, and carries works by both Benoist and the other leading author of the French New Right, Guillaume Faye. It sells most of the authors on Amazon's "top ten" list (see post here).

In his "Against Perennial Philosophy," a version of a lecture given to an American group called "Iranian Renaissance," Jorjani concludes that
Our greatest enemy in this venture [an Iranian renaissance] is not Islam, but the Traditionalist mentality of Javidan Kherad [Persian: eternal wisdom] or “Perennial Philosophy” that cannot tolerate fundamental uncertainty and honest intellectual conflict. This Javidan Kherad, which Leibniz imported into the West and Guénon later elaborated and used to legitimate Islam, has its origins in a false reconstruction of Sassanian culture on the basis of an Islamic-Mongol mentality that is truly going to be the death of us if we do not have the courage to free ourselves from it.
Jorjani certainly knows his Traditionalist history. Not only does he know about Javidan Kherad and the role played by Leibniz as well as by Guénon, but in his article he also refers to the Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, and even Peter Lamborn Wilson (Hakim Bey).

Leaving aside possible reconstructions of Sassanian culture, Jorjani's argument is in many ways a classic one. "Revolutionary scientific and sociopolitical breakthroughs" require brilliant thinkers and freedom of thought, and brilliant thinkers are Aryan (which of course includes the Iranians, but not the Arabs), and the enemies of freedom of thought are the Abrahamic revelations and the problem that "if a society believes that there is an eternal, unchanging Wisdom that can be definitively attained... then that society will never see... scientific and political revolutions." If Christianity is preferable to Islam, that is because it is more incoherent, and so less powerful as "an eternal, unchanging Wisdom." In pitting Aryan Iranians against non-Aryan Arabs, Jorjani is following an argument that was developed in the nineteenth century and never became as problematic in Iran as it did in the post-Nazi West. In identifying Christianity as an obstacle to free thought, he is following many people, including Evola. In placing Islam in front of Christianity as an enemy, he is following Guillaume Faye--and abandoning Traditionalism.

That Jorjani is an anti-perennialist may have implications for the future of Arktos, though Arktos's original editor in chief, John B. Morgan (born 1973), notes in a comment to an earlier version of this post that "Arktos has always been a collective venture, and is subject to the decisions made by its Board and by its shareholders." According to Morgan, who remains on the board of Artktos, there is no intention to change the broad direction noted above. It also has wider implications. Jorjani has recently teamed up with Richard Spencer (born 1978) of the the National Policy Institute and, most famously, of the controversial 2016 post-election rally at which he controversially declared "Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!" Spencer was mentioned sympathetically in "An Establishment Conservative’s Guide To The Alt-Right" on Breitbartpreviously edited by President Trump's powerful advisor Steve Bannon. Some have therefore associated Bannon with Traditionalism, pointing out that Spencer was married to Nina Kouprianova, the Russian-born translator of Dugin into English, and that Bannon has one one occasion referred to Dugin and Evola (see post here). But Bannon's association with Spencer is so weak as to be non-existent, and Jorjani is now identified not with Traditionalism but with an understanding of Islam as the enemy. Spencer is no longer married to Kouprianova.

Corrections: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Richard Spencer writes for Breitbart. The Spencer who write for Breitbart is Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch, not Richard Spencer of the NPI. The earlier version also suggested that the appointment of Jorjani might have been responsible for a change in the direction of Arktos, a suggestion against which John B. Morgan argues in a comment to this post, and which I have therefore withdrawn.

17 comments:

Apuleius Platonicus said...

Fascinating! I wonder if Jorjani will succeed in taking anyone with him?

Anonymous said...

richard spencer most certainly does NOT write for BB.

Mark Sedgwick said...

Thanks, Anonymous, you're right. Corrected.

N. Wahid Azal said...

The so-called "Iranian Renaissance" Jorjani belongs to is a neo-SUMKA/Pan-Iranist (Aryanist) Fascist organization tied to diaspora Iranian pro-monarchist circles in the US. Jorjani is also on record describing himself as an "archeo-futurist."

John Morgan said...

Prof. Sedgwick makes a lot of incorrect assumptions in this article that could have been cleared up by contacting one of us. First of all, the fact that Dr. Jorjani is now the Editor-in-Chief of Arktos has nothing to do with a change of direction in the company. While Jason's viewpoints are in some ways different from my own, he does not exercise sole control over Arktos' activities, any more than I did when I was EiC. Arktos has always been a collective venture, and is subject to the decisions made by its Board and by its shareholders. Furthermore, I am still on the Board of Directors of Arktos, as well as one of its editors. I resigned as EiC for entirely personal reasons that had nothing to do with Arktos' direction, and I can assure you that those of us who are directing Arktos today have no intention of changing that direction. We of course are hopeful that Jason will bring some new perspectives to Arktos, as he did with his book, "Prometheus & Atlas." But while traditionalism has always been one of many areas that Arktos engages with, and will continue to engage with, it was never at any point our intention to make Arktos an exclusively traditionalist venture, any more than we wanted to produce works solely in keeping with any single ideology or school of thought. That being said, we are just about to publish another book by Evola, "Handbook for Right-Wing Youth," an anthology of Evola's essays that was originally assembled by the Hungarian traditionalists (and which we have been announcing in our newsletters), and we are currently working on a translation of Evola's "The Bow and the Club," which has also never been published in English before. So this should put to rest any rumors that Arktos is abandoning traditionalism.

As for why we are no longer selling Frithjof Schuon, Ananda Coomaraswamy, or John Michell, this is because we made the decision in 2016 to close down our warehouse in the UK, which is where all of our stock was kept, as it was no longer profitable for us to maintain it. Since October, we now only sell our own titles, which is much simpler for us to manage and allows us to focus our resources on producing our own books, which seemed a logical decision. All of the Schuon, Coomaraswamy, and Michell books that we sold were published by others, hence why we can no longer offer them. This in no way indicates that we are now "against" non-Evolian traditionalism. While we would love to publish Schuon, Coomaraswamy, and/or Michell, unfortunately for us the market on those has long since been cornered by other publishers.

I hope this makes things clearer.

Traditionally yours,

John B. Morgan
Director/Editor, Arktos Media

Mark Sedgwick said...

Thank you for your comment, Mr. Morgan. I have corrected the oriignal post.

Anonymous said...

You should write something about this from your perspective Mr. Azal. I have seen other writing by this person on the Alt Right website in which he seems to be deliberately playing into the hands of the Trump administration and taking an anti-Iranian stance while he also feigns pro-Iranian relations as well. He cannot be both pro Trump and pro Iran at the same time....but which one is the lie? I would be interested in finding out the truth, and have found some of other articles interesting.

N. Wahid Azal said...

I have already written a short piece on Jorjani, which I published on my blog as well as on academia.edu, here: https://wahidazal.blogspot.de/2016/11/the-publisher-arktos-and-nazification.html

Jorjani is not only playing into the hands of the Trump regime. I would argue that he, the so-called "Iranian Renaissance" (neo-SUMKA/Pan-Iranist) organization he belongs to (together with Richard Spencer's NPI) are among some of the leading lobbyists on current Iran policy who have the ear of Steve Bannon himself inside Trump's White House. Implied proof of this can be found with the article Breibart published on 25 February 2017 cheerleading for Reza Pahlavi, the late Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's son and claimant to the Peacock throne: http://www.breitbart.com/california/2017/01/25/exclusive-irans-crown-prince-reza-pahlavi-civil-disobedience-for-a-free-iran/

Anonymous said...

Arktos might not be abandoning Traditionalism, but through this and Friberg's 'activities' Arktos has clearly decided to go the route of the disgraceful Trump and persecute the whole Middle East. All of your publications indicate the current goal is nothing but thinly disguised racism, and Richard Spencer is just the icing on the cake. Arktos should be embarassed to work with him and other similar white organisations in the US. Evola of course gets published, because he is popular with the US racists, unlike the other authors mentioned. Preventing terrorism is fine, but using terrorism as an excuse to spread lies and prejudice is disgusting. I threw my Arktos catalogue away as soon as Spencer appeared.

N. Wahid Azal said...

Correction on the date of the Breibart article: it is 25 January, not February.

Listener said...

John Morgan and Arktos have no need to defend themselves, especially not against the delusions of N. Wahid Azal.

https://wahidazal.blogspot.de/2016/11/winter-is-here.html

Read this article. It is truly vile and despicable. Nothing Spencer or Jorjani have written can even begin to compare to this level of lies and hatred.

Anonymous said...

From Schuon:"Another point to be considered is the personal center in connection with certain racial factors. If the mixture between races too different from each other is to be avoided, it is precisely because this disparity generally has as a consequence that the individual possesses two centers, which means practically speaking that he has none; in other words, that he has no identity. But there are cases where, on the contrary, the mixture gives rise to a harmonious result, namely when each parent represents a sort of racial supersaturation, such that the racial type is limitative rather than positive;"

Banning Muslims from European countries, including the US, can easily be situated in a traditionalist framework. Accepting Islam as an authentic revelation, either in the Arab world or in Persia, does not imply that Arabs and Euros should live in the same spaces. Clearly, Persians and Euros are "closer" racially/ethnically than Arabs and Euros. That Iranian Muslims might be different from Arab Muslims, or other Muslims is too nuanced a position to take for the American population.

Not allowing Muslims, or any population for that matter, into a country is not racist, quite obviously, as any nation reserves a right to decide on who shall enter, rightly or wrongly, as the case may be.

N. Wahid Azal said...

Listener, make sure you see this article as well https://wahidazal.blogspot.de/2017/01/fuck-alt-right.html

N. Wahid Azal said...

Frithjof Schuon was a racist white supremacist bigot and a crypto-fascist to boot. Be that as it may, the concept of the "nation," "race" and the "state" are the two most anti-traditional concepts that these fake Traditionalists-cum-Alt.Right have latched on to. "Nation," "race" and "state" are spawns of modernism and the European Enlightenment project. In fact, as Joseph Massad has demonstrated in a recent book (i.e. ISLAM IN LIBERALISM, 2014), the very concepts of "race," "nation" and "state" are intrinsically bound with the underlying hegemonic framework of Western European liberalism itself. As such as much as these hipster Fascists of the alt-right and their fellow travelers believe they are destroying liberalism in order to transform it into some "archeo-futurist" dystopia, as Jorjani often frames it, they are in fact very much part and parcel of the legacy of Western European liberalism. It therefore defies belief how these people can call themselves "Traditionalists" and still espouse the nonsense that they do with a straight face.

With that said:

Verily the earth belongs to God, and He causes to inherit it among His servants whomsoever He wills ~ Quran, 7:128

The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the LORD ~ Psalm 24:1

Anonymous said...

The racial elements that are presented as 'Traditionalism' as in the cultic sense are just plain dumb and should be separated from Perennial Philosophy so that normal people don't have to wade through mumbo jumbo from tin hat wearing basement dwellers with Aspergers. The Alt-Right isn't dangerous because it's too stupid to actually achieve anything - a non-violent segregated ethnostate? How stupid would someone have to be to believe that's possible? And what about white Muslims, of which there are many? Are they going to be banned too? What about people who buy skin-bleach, a popular cosmetic in the region? Going to change the world with memes? I doubt it. The only thing that separates a Persian from a Muslim is religion. Racially they are the same - if you are racist against one demographic, it means racism against both...one day this Jornjani person will probably realize that he's trying to sell ideas to people who are equally as prejudice to him as they are to the Muslims and deeply regret wasting his time preaching to idiot racists who fnd him just not 'white' enough to ever fit in.

LucifugusRofocalus said...

If a philosophy theory falls down, is anyone left at the end of time to hear it? There is a reason why it is called 'Perennial Philosophy'. It is eternal, ancient and will live a lot longer than any mortal argument. Can a speculation damage a transcendent truth? No. The mundane philosophy of the mortals is another thing. According to Traditionalist thought it is the Kali Yuga, under the reign of materialism...the form of Tradition therefore, has to be "Promethean/Luciferian/Dionysian/Titanic" - which, if the author is actually sincere, would logically entail that it is as anti-Christian as it is anti-Islam. And most of the alt-right are Christian Fundamentalists, which is where the schism is most likely to occur, as that is as far from 'Promethean' as is possible. It seems to me that a few people in this thread (if not all of them) have not read what he is actually writing, and are concentrating on the alt-right material. The alt-right won't get anywhere, it's not even worth fighting, as it's likely to expire from 'natural causes' soon. I would not even classify it as a real political movement and in reality, it has no connection to the president at all, except as a 'smear campaign' deployed against Republicans. It's government propaganda from much larger organizations - most likely MOSSAD that is fueling this anti-immigration trend - MOSSAD, of course, having a invested interest in trashing the whole of the Middle East, Islamic, Sufi, Zorastrian, or otherwise...and this channels into the USA due to Zionism having control of both parties. It would, therefore, be in the interests of both Jorjani and Azal to curb the influence of this.

N. Wahid Azal said...

Although I disagree with almost everything else you said, thank you all the same LucifugusRofocalus for putting your finger on a very, very sensitive point. Now, anyone who has watched the alt-right as well as their EuroFascist brethren across the pond for any length time knows that this present generation of active Anglo-European far-rightist Fascists are tout court Zionist-friendly while simultaneously being antisemites too. In fact the far-right of Israeli politics has actively cultivated this contradictory state of affairs for a long time now. Whether we are talking about Israeli support for PEGIDA in Germany or Marine Le Pen and her FN in France or Geert Wilders in the Netherlands or known Mosad support for neo-Nazi militias in Ukraine or the kind of contorted defenses offered of Steve Bannon and Breibart by the likes of Alan Dershowitz, or even Alexander Dugin's rather cozy relationship with settler Zionists, ad nauseum, the story is the same wherever we look. Far-Right Zionist politics has found common ground with NeoFascism (not that there ever was a difference between them), and the two actively cultivate and support each other because their targets and scapegoats during this current generation are the same: 1. Islam and 2. liberal/progressive Jews who have increasingly abandoned in droves the ship which has become the Zionist project in occupied Palestine. Of course there is a clear precedent for all this as well during the 1930s with the Zionist-Nazi collaboration that Leni Brenner has written a whole book length study on -- ZIONISM IN THE AGE OF DICTATORS -- not to mention what Hannah Arendt put her finger on during her coverage of the trial of Adolf Eichmann in the early 1960s. History is literally repeating itself as we speak, and this time potentially on an even higher octave.