Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right

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Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right
cover
Cover of the Third Edition
Author(s) Tomislav Sunic
Cover artist Andreas Nilsson
Country London
Language English
Genre(s) Politics
Publisher Arktos
Publication date 2011
Pages 266
ISBN 9781907166259

Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right is a book by Tomislav Sunic first published in 1990. Based on Dr. Sunic's 1988 disseration with the same title, it presents the ideology and history of the intellectual current known as the European New Right, including its French pioneers in the GRECE as well as the German Thule Seminar and a number of other manifestations. The book goes into several aspects of the New Right phenomenon, including its adaption of various intellectuals and philosophers of the 20th Century to a postmodern setting. Carl Schmitt, Julius Evola and Vilfredo Pareto are discussed as major influences.

Originally written before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the book discusses the differences and fundamental similarities of the Soviet citizen, Homo Sovieticus and the Western Homo Economicus. These and other passages concerning the Eastern Bloc remained in the second and third editions, the latter being heavily reedited, but not revised. Other subjects discussed includes the New Right adaption of Paganism, anti-Christian tendencies, its failure to influence mainstream politics directly, and its potential for the future.[1]

Contents

Cover Text

"Against Democracy and Equality was the first book ever published in the English language on the European New Right, and it remains an indispensable introduction to a school of thought which remains a vibrant force in the understanding of European politics.

Dr. Sunic examines the principal themes which have concerned the thinkers of the New Right since its inception by Alain de Benoist in 1968, such as the problematic nature of the label 'New Right' for a school which sees itself as being beyond traditional concepts of both the left and the right; its revolutionary political philosophy; its conception of history in terms of cycles; its attitude toward democracy, capitalism and socialism; and its endorsement of 'pagan' spirituality.

He also discusses the significance of some of the older authors who have been particularly influential on the development of the movement, such as Oswald Spengler, Carl Schmitt and Vilfredo Pareto. This new edition of Against Democracy and Equality has been completely re-edited, and offers new prefaces by both Dr. Sunic and the principal theorist of the European New Right, Alain de Benoist. Also included for the first time is the Manifesto for a European Renaissance, which highlights the positions of the New Right as it enters a new millennium."[2]

Contents

  • Editor’s Foreword
  • Preface to the Third Edition
  • The New Right: Forty Years After
  • Introduction and Acknowledgments to the Second Edition (2003)
  • Preface to the Second Edition
  • Preface to the First Edition (1990)
  • Part One: Introducing the New Right
    • Introduction
    • I. Enter the New Right
    • II. The ‘Gramscianism’ of the Right
    • III. The Conservative Left or the Revolutionary Right?
    • IV. Carl Schmitt and Politics as Destiny
    • V. Oswald Spengler and History as Destiny
    • VI. Vilfredo Pareto and Political Pathology
    • VII. The Pagan Right
  • Part Two: The Egalitarian Mystique
    • Introduction
    • I. The Metaphysics of Equality
    • II. The New Right and the Elusive Equality
    • III. Homo Economicus: The Battle of All Against All
    • IV. Totalitarianism and Egalitarianism
    • V. Homo Sovieticus: Communism as Egalitarian Entropy
    • Conclusion
  • Appendix I: Major Figures of the European New Right
  • Appendix II: Manifesto for a European Renaissance
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Opinions on the Book

"Unlike the traditional American right, ENR is not committed to unchecked capitalism, and its economic critique is integral to its overall political position. The idea is that through globalization and the expansion of capital, politics, what should be the province of natural organic political units, has become simply a tool of borderless capital in its drive toward global economic hegemony. And with this drive comes a universal rationalism consisting of “repetitious economic transactions” in all aspects of life. Spiritual degradation of Homo economicus is a well known theme, even apart from the ENR, and although theorists of anarcho-capitalism (Carl Menger, Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk, Ludwig Mises, F.A. Hayek, etc.) all presented compelling arguments supporting their description of the natural economic law—that is, the catallactics of market exchange within an a priori praxeological framework guiding human action, we must ask whether the individual's spiritual life is greatly enhanced by the presence of exceedingly cheap DVD players of ephemeral quality, produced in a Shenzhen factory, and found on a shelf in the blue light section at a Walmart Supercenter, or whether man ought to have something else in his life? Contra the free market, ENR theorists are not averse to government intervention, but de Benoist's call for “a single European currency managed by a central bank under the control of a European political authority” may require some rethinking.

For the American right, ENR ideas must appear rather alien. Its tenets would certainly not be very accepted by neo-conservatives, nor would it pass muster among the libertarians. Perhaps so-called paleo-conservatives would be more accepting, though. American left-liberals could also find agreement with ENR on certain essential points, but probably would not want to be associated due to their own embrace of egalitarianism."

Review on The Brussels Journal, by Michael Preston</ref>
- Review of the second edition in The Brussels Journal, by Michael Preston

Cover of the second edition of Against Democracy and Equality

"Against Democracy and Equality by Tomislav Sunic not only traces the distinguished history of “revolutionary conservatism” but introduces a contemporary school of European writers who are struggling to find answers to the questions that, in America, are not yet being asked. As Professor Paul Gottfried writes in the preface to this little volume, Dr. Sunic has given us the first book-length introduction in English to the European New Right.

The very title suggests how boldly the New Right is prepared to defy the most cherished liberal assumptions. If this group of thinkers can be said to have one central tenet, it is that the essential nature of man lies not in equality but in inequality. Individuals, races, cultures, and nations are different and unequal; any attempt to treat them as equals is a form of tyranny"[3]
- Review of the first edition in American Rennaissance, by Thomas Jackson

"Beginning with a great introduction by Paul Gottfried, the book features a discussion of the ideas of the leading theorists of this very obscure movement, the most predominant of whom are Carl Schmidt, Vilfredo Pareto and Oswald Spengler. These scholars were noteworthy intellectuals of the so-called “conservative revolution” in pre-world war Italy and Germany. Other intellectual inspirations have come from Nietzsche and the pagan-traditionalist philosophies of Julius Evola and Alain de Benoist. Oddly enough, Sunic notes how these radical conservative critics presaged, during the 1920s and 30s, the leftist critiques of materialism and middle-class society that became popular during the 1950s, 60s and 70s by philosophers such as Hannah Arendt and Herbert Marcuse.

The book concludes with observations about the communist systems of government in Eastern Europe. It is unlikely, in my opinion, that any of the ideas expressed by the “New Right” in Europe will get any type of audience amongst conservatives in America because of the explicitly anti-Christian stance it takes. The New Right believes that Christianity is a corrupt religion because of its explicitly monotheistic theology, a supposed reflection of its Jewish origins and totalitarian tendencies."[4]
- Review of the Second Edition on the website of the New Right Australia/New Zealand

References

  1. Tomislav Sunic, Against Democracy and Equality (London: Arktos, 2011)
  2. Tomislav Sunic, Against Democracy and Equality (London: Arktos, 2011)
  3. Review on American Renaissance by Thomas Jacksson
  4. Recommended Reading, New Right Australia/New Zealand

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