Saturday, September 02, 2023

The influence of Traditionalism on contemporary Dutch politics

Guest post by Milan Reith

In recent years Traditionalist ideas have surfaced on the fringes of Dutch politics, yet another instance of their ongoing revival. The most notable examples of this phenomenon coalesce around a network of individuals connected to the far-right political party Forum voor Democratie (FVD). Originally founded as a conservative think tank, this organization later evolved into a political party which did very well in the 2019 provincial elections, and has since undergone a significant process of radicalization. While its political agenda initially centered around Euroscepticism, it has increasingly begun to put forward conspiratorial, antimodern and racist ideas, leading to a considerable loss of electoral support.

In 2022, the affiliated youth wing of FVD published a special issue of their periodical De Dissident dedicated to the topic of “Tradition” (see image). Some pieces of note within this special issue include an interview with Alexander Dugin and a new Dutch translation of an article by Julius Evola. This translation was completed by Massimo Etalle, who is the editor-in-chief of the magazine in question, as well as the interviewer of Dugin. As it happens, this marks the second time Evola has been translated into Dutch, with the first instance being a translation of Evola’s book Orientations which was completed by the Flemish nationalist Peter Logghe in 1982.

In the interview titled “Western Europe has chosen Satan,” Dugin repeats his familiar talking points, portraying traditional religion and extremist politics as indispensable instruments in the fight against modernity. In the course of the discussion, he particularly emphasizes active resistance against the forces of modernization, reminiscent of Evola’s distinctive brand of Nietzschean esotericism. This hostile dimension is confirmed in the conclusion of the piece, where Dugin stresses the need for young people in the Netherlands to read authors such as Guénon and, especially, Evola, as he emphasized the need for practical action.

Owing to this renewed appreciation for Traditionalism within the FVD, it is perhaps unsurprising that the party leader Thierry Baudet has routinely put forward ideas which mirror the sentiments of Dugin’s political thought. For example, Baudet’s framework for viewing the geopolitical sphere as a clash between Russian and American civilization owes much to Dugin’s theories. Whereas Baudet perceives America to be guided by a globalist conspiracy, he praises Russia as the only country offering a conservative resistance against the progressive agenda.

The special issue of De Dissident marks an attempt to introduce Traditionalism to a broader range of readers in the Netherlands. Although the target audience is already somewhat embedded in a subculture of conspiracy, nationalism, and a deep sense of nostalgia, they are likely not overly familiar with the thought of either Evola or Dugin. In that regard, it is certainly significant to see FVD make the decision to go in this particular direction. This development once again highlights the significance of Traditionalism as a source of inspiration for the contemporary far-right.

Milan Reith is pursuing both a research master's in philosophy at Radboud University, and a master's in religious studies at the University of Amsterdam. He is primarily interested the relationship between esotericism and politics in the twentieth century.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The so called traditionalists have come a long way! From sex-cults in America to neo-nazis in Europe, I'm sure Guenon is jumping for joy up above, seeing the effects of his work. What a joy indeed! Seriously though, this just proves that more often than not, the original vision of the founders of anything becomes compromised as time goes on and more and more unqualified people find out about it. Even a cursory glance at the original vision in question is enough to show that political-nationalist-populism of whatever form is completely incompatible with the idea of an esoteric qualification that would encompass people from all races and backgrounds, who would then form an elite, an elite by definition being the very antithesis of political-nationalist-populism! This simple observation however does not stop people like these from arrogantly pressing on with their nonsense.