In an 1849 letter to a friend, Juan Donoso Cortes, Marques of Valdegamas and noble son of Spain, touched upon the essence of Christendom:
After the cult owed to God, there is nothing more beautiful than the cult of our ancestors.
With this casual observation, Donoso was able to express traditional Europe’s hierarchy of values and discern the contingent from the Absolute. The heritage of our fathers is accorded veneration, and to the God of our fathers we render all worship. Each nation, a communion of generations- the dead, the living and those yet to be born – is called to glorify Him in its own unique and unrepeatable way. Herein is found the true greatness of a culture.
Today European culture is in ruins, and our master class has enshrined new ideals to replace the ancient faith. So forget your fathers, for they were unenlightened barbarians unworthy of even your memory, fools who from heathendom came to believe in the promise of divine love and salvation after death. Liberated through reason, we have evolved past such childish fairytales. As free and equal supermen, we attend to the total organization of happiness on earth.
The quest to build the Brave New World is a war without limits; proclaiming freedom to every nation, the forces of Revolution amass power unprecedented and lay claim to our very souls. In addition to the farce of voting, perversion, infanticide, and universal consumerism are sacraments of the new, militant cult, defended at home and promoted abroad through any means necessary. Western troops shredded by IEDs in Afghanistan and elsewhere perish not merely for energy routes, poppy fields or geopolitical position, but for the birth of a global civilization. Their patriotism and valor are employed to advance a society that holds such virtues in contempt. Blessed are those who kill for Chevron, Goldman Sachs and Two and a Half Men; blessed are those who die for democracy.
“Civilization” has become a macabre, pornographic Disneyland writ large, expanding across the planet to envelop disparate peoples and tribes and subordinate them to its model, the only permissible model, of political economy. Our sacred liberty succinctly translates to pleasure and material well-being, the bourgeois values of the oligarchs who dominate the liberal order. Should you reject this proposition, should you insist upon your culture freely forging its own destiny, fighting the predatory banking cartels and social engineers, demographic displacement and moral corruption, you must be an accursed and intolerant retrograde, an enemy of progress, a fascist.
Far from the actual ideology of twentieth-century interwar Europe, “fascism” in the postmodern age is just a nasty label reserved for the programs of political opponents. In the American context, established pundits left and right label their targets as fascists with regularity, thereby devaluing the term to another form of cheap invective in liberal discourse. Contemporary society in the West does indeed share some commonalities with popular notions of fascist praxis, from corporate-state fusion and militaristic triumphalism to the pervasive indoctrination and surveillance of mass man. Yet these are general features of modern totalitarianism irrespective of doctrine.
Within several currents of interwar fascism, one can find inspiration in the will to react- meeting the powers of subversion head-on in battle to defend what remained of the West. Along with this readiness to combat both Bolshevism and liberal plutocracy, there was restored an ethic of heroic sacrifice for the national community. Conservative-Revolutionary Arthur Moeller Van den Bruck flew the black flag of revolt against Weimar decadence and foreign exploitation, and the Falange were among the first to crash through Communist lines and free Spain during that country’s savage civil war.
While the ethic of struggle is to be upheld in a just hierarchy of values, certain rightist movements, particularly National Socialism, fell prey to the seductions of self-worship, what Russian White émigré Ivan Ilyin saw as “national megalomania”. And from state, race or a leader of dubious inspiration, they crafted cruel idols commanding universal dominion and the enslavement and murder of other peoples. Today’s Europe, controlled by a U.S.-backed alliance of international capital and cultural Marxists, is largely the dialectical outcome of Adolf Hitler’s failed gamble for Weltmacht. Never is power, even over all the kingdoms of the world, worth the price of a man’s soul.
Physical survival is only the visible level of this contest. What we face, men and nations alike, is spiritual war, where neutrality is no longer possible. Let us take to heart this fervent appeal from the Captain of Romania’s Legionaries, the fearless and tragic Corneliu Codreanu:
The final aim is not life but resurrection. The resurrection of peoples in the name of the Savior Jesus Christ…There will come a time when all the peoples of the earth shall be resurrected, with all their dead and all their kings and emperors, each people having its place before God’s throne. This final moment, “the resurrection from the dead”, is the noblest and most sublime one toward which a people can rise.
Overcome self and sin; rise and conquer. Through struggle we are called to the highest honor- to become loyal companions of the Savior, He who trampled death underfoot. Babylon shall be razed, and the West resurrected.
Essay by Ivan Ilyin, 1948. Taken from the collection “Nashi Zadachi” and translated by Mark Hackard.
Fascism is a complex phenomenon: it is multifaceted and historically speaking, far from exhausted. Within it one finds elements of health and illness, old and new, protection and destruction. Therefore in an evaluation of fascism fair-mindedness and equanimity are needed. But its dangers must be considered in full.
Fascism arose as a reaction to Bolshevism, as a concentration of power guarding sovereignty from the Right. As leftist chaos and totalitarianism advanced, this was a healthy phenomenon, as well as necessary and unavoidable. And such a concentration will come about henceforth, even in the most democratic states: in an hour of national danger the more vigorous forces of the people will always rally to the defense of sovereignty. Thus it was in ancient Rome and the new Europe, and so it shall be hereafter.
Standing against leftist totalitarianism, fascism was correct, as it sought just socio-political reform. This quest could be successful or unsuccessful: solving such problems is difficult, and first attempts might not have made any headway. But to meet the wave of socialist psychosis- through social and consequently anti-socialist measures- was imperative. These measures had long been imminent, and waiting any further was out of the question.
Finally, fascism was right since it derived from a healthy national-patriotic sensibility, without which a people can neither lay claim to its existence nor create a unique culture.
However, along with this fascism committed an entire range of grave and serious errors that defined its political and historical physiognomy and lent its very name that odious pallor which its enemies never tire from emphasizing. Therefore for future social and political movements of a similar cast, another self-designation is necessary. If someone gives his movement the former name (“fascism” or “National Socialism”), this will be interpreted as the intent to restore all the faults and fatal mistakes of the past. These faults and mistakes comprised the following:
Irreligiousness: a hostile attitude toward Christianity, religions, faith and churches in general.
- The creation of right-totalitarianism as a permanent and supposedly “ideal” system.
- The establishment of a party monopoly and the resultant corruption and demoralization that sprang from it.
- Withdrawal into extremes of nationalism and militant chauvinism (national megalomania).
- Mixing social reforms with socialism and the slide through totalitarianism to a state takeover of the economy.
- The fall into idolatrous Caesarism with its demagoguery, subservience and despotism.
These errors compromised fascism and set against it entire religions, parties, peoples and states, ultimately leading it to an unwinnable war and destruction. The cultural and political mission of fascism failed, and the Left flooded in with ever greater force.
- Fascism should not have held a position hostile to Christianity and any religiosity in general. A political regime that attacks the Church and religion brings schism into the souls of its citizens, undermines in them the deepest roots of justice and begins to claim its own religious significance, which is mad. Mussolini soon understood that in a Catholic country, state power needs an honest concordat with the Catholic Church. Hitler, with his vulgar godlessness, behind which was concealed equally vulgar self-deification, unto the end never recognized that in anticipating the Bolsheviks, he walked the path of Antichrist.
- Fascism could have not created a totalitarian system: it could have satisfied itself with an authoritarian dictatorship sufficiently strong to a) uproot Bolshevism and Communism, and b) provide religions, the press, academia, art, sectors of the economy and non-communist parties freedom of judgment by virtue of their political loyalty.
- Never and nowhere can the establishment of a one-party monopoly lead to anything good: the best men will depart the stage, and the worst will flock to the party in droves. For the better men think independently and freely, while the worse are ready to adjust to anything in order to make a career. For this reason the monopolist party lives by self-deception: beginning “qualitative selection”, it demands “party consensus”. Making this the condition for work in any legal and political capacity, it calls men to absurdity and hypocrisy; in so doing it opens the doors wide to all manner of imbeciles, dissimulators, impostors and careerists. The qualitative level of the party breaks down, and pretenders, crooks, predators, speculators, terrorists, yes-men and traitors come to power. As a result all the shortcomings and errors of political partisanship reach in fascism their highest expression; the party monopoly is worse than party competition (a law known in trade, industry and all the creation of culture). Russian “fascists” did not understand this. If they manage to entrench themselves in Russia (God forbid), they will compromise healthy ideas of sovereign power and fail in ignominy.
- Fascism did not at all have to fall into “political megalomania”, despise other races and nationalities, and proceed with their conquest and extermination. A sense of one’s own dignity is not in the least arrogant hubris. Patriotism does not call for the subjugation of the Universe; to liberate your people does not at all imply overtaking and wiping out your neighbors.
- The line between socialism and social reforms has a deep, principal significance. Stepping over this line would mean the ruin of social reform. For we must always remember that socialism is antisocial, and justice and liberation in society tolerate neither socialism nor Communism.
- The greatest fascist error was the restoration of idolatrous Caesarism. “Caesarism” is the direct opposite of monarchism. Caesarism is godless, irresponsible, and despotic; it holds in contempt freedom, law, legitimacy, justice and the individual rights of men. It is demagogic, terroristic and haughty; it lusts for flattery, “glory” and worship, and it sees in the people a mob and stokes its passions. Caesarism is amoral, militaristic and callous. It compromises the principle of authority and autocracy, for its rule does not prosecute state or national interests, but personal ends.
Franco and Salazar recognized this and are attempting to avoid the aforementioned errors. They do not call their regime “fascist”. We shall hope that Russian patriots will also reflect in full upon the mistakes of fascism and National Socialism and not repeat them.
 An excellent post-war analysis of Mussolini’s fascism and Hitler’s National Socialism in practice is Julius Evola’s Critique of Fascism from the Right (Russian translation). Evola wastes no time in bringing to light fascism’s proletarian and Bonapartist inclinations, as well as the quintessentially modern social mechanization and racial materialism of the Third Reich.
 In the early 1930s Ilyin, living and writing in exile in Berlin, had supported the Nazis for halting Germany’s bolshevization, yet he would later come to realize that their plans were not traditional-authoritarian in nature, but totalitarian. Harassed by the Gestapo, he left for Switzerland in 1938, where he resided until his death in 1954.