|Logo of the French New Right think tank GRECE|
It is with the rise of Protestantism, an individualistic version of Christianity, that modernism was born in Europe. There was no longer a homogeneous Catholic population because of the rise of this new anti-Roman Catholic branch of Christianity. Secular and tolerant governments became the only way to insure peaceful coexistence. It is following the Enlightenment and the French Revolution that the traditionalist and anti-liberal right emerged. In the United States, because there never was a pre-liberal and aristocratic society, the right was inspired by the Enlightenment thinkers and differed greatly from the European traditional right. It is this model of the false right that was implemented in Europe following the Second World War, the traditional right having been discredited by Fascism and National Socialism. Since then, even the left has been uprooted and become liberal, rejecting its anti-capitalist struggle in order to adopt liberal policies close to those of the modern right. It is in this context that the GRECE (Groupement de Recherche et d'étude pour la Civilisation Européenne) was born in 1968, a group of thinkers set up to rethink traditionalist ideas. It is what the media labeled the "New Right".
The GRECE, very similar to what the Frankfurt School was for Marxists, believes in the importance of culture in order to bring about political change. Unlike other rightist groups, the GRECE is not rooted in Catholicism (although some members do follow that creed), or in fascism but in European tradition. Because of its diversity, it would be impossible to summarize in a few words the different ideas proposed and defended by Grecists, but the core belief is an anti-liberalism "committed to the integrity of European culture and identity." If modernism and postmodernism are not totally rejected, liberal capitalism is. In order to develop himself and reach his full potential, man must root himself in his collective traditions.
Grecists depart from Cartesian rationalism, which tends to quantify everything and obliterate European values. They also reject individualism, a philosophy that removes the individual from his organic community without which no culture would be possible. It is those very ideologies that crush the people, uproot them, encourage mass immigration with the dual objective of dissolving racial distinctiveness and decreasing production costs. Liberalism places the individual with his basic instincts at the centre of the world, a tendency that is most visible in the sexual field. After feminism, whose objective was not to free women but rather to make them the competitors of men, they now seek, with Gender Theory, to liberate themselves from sexual restraints, the last bulwark against total freedom. The New Right (of the GRECE) responds by reminding us of the polarity and complementary relationships between men and women. Thus, not only Gender Theory and feminism must be rejected, but also misogyny.
GRECE of the New Right has lost sight of its original objective and does not defend the ethnic integrity of European peoples anymore Michael O'Meara knows his topic, as is evident in his book, New Right, New Culture (Arktos, 2013), and unlike many North American dissidents does not wrongfully idealize the European New Right. He notes that after thirty years of existence, the GRECE made a 180 degree turn and started demanding recognition and rights for non-European communities living on Europe's soil. It is one of the major flaws of this school of thought and it caused many renowned thinkers to leave the GRECE. He also notes that the GRECE lost sight of its original objectives. A metapolitical school of thought, it totally gave up on the cultural and political aspects of the struggle, heading towards a hyper-intellectualization that cut them off from the people and from their identitarian ideals.
In their research about Europe's soul and tradition, many Grecists came to reject Christianity, which they believed was an imported religion, whose universalism and individualistic character — in respect to redemption — paved the way towards liberal modernism. Far from wanting to revive pre-Christian gods, they wish instead to revive the heroic values of the past, forgetting that those values were never as well exemplified as within the Christian knighthood of the Middle Ages.
If some of the Grecists' critiques do apply to Protestantism, a Judaised-version of Catholicism, it is clear that Catholicism and Orthodoxy are pure European products and that despite the individual aspect of salvation they managed to unite Europe against external foes like no other religion or ideology. French Canada is a striking example of the link between the organic community and Catholicism; if French Canadians survived, it is thanks to the Catholic clergy. In his conclusion, O'Meara also stresses that it would be ludicrous to think that after 1500 years of European Christianity, this religion does not carry the European spirit or at least a part of it. He also reminds us that the truly traditionalist Europeans are usually to be found among traditionalist Catholics.
When it comes to history, Grecists favor Heidegger's, Nietzsche's and Spengler's vision. Instead of the linear perception of history, they favor a cyclic vision. It is based on this concept of return and archeofuturism that they propose a tripartite division of society based on the Indo-European model, where the producers and salesmen (economics) are at the bottom of the pyramid, while at the top we can find the priests and warriors who represent far more honorable values.
If opposition to American hegemony is nowadays associated with the left, it is the anti-liberal right with Evola, Bardèche and Spengler, that was the first to identify the USA as a major threat, a threat even worse than the one coming from the USSR. For Grecists, the USA, built on a purely artificial and rational basis, soon became the incarnation of Calvinist individualism, and the idea that capitalism is a universal system driven by abstract individuals irrespective of tradition and ethnic identity. In fact, according to Grecists, very few things separated the USA from the USSR, and it is because of the ideological proximity of the two powers that Grecists refuse to consider themselves as members of the West, an American term. Wishing to be neither American nor Russian vassals, Grecists turned towards the Third World countries that rejected liberal dogmas.
Grecists claim that Europe is declining despite its cultural and technological advances. And so is the concept of the nation state. A united Europe different from the Eurocrats' dream and closer to Dugin's theses — although Grecists officially distance themselves from the Russian thinker — would be the best way to reorganize Europe. For them, an empire encompassing Europe and Russia with independent ethnically-based communities would be the way to preserve European cultures and traditions.
Among the criticisms formulated by O'Meara, the most relevant is probably the fact that anti-Americanism has made a few Grecists lose sight of the fact that immigration is a far more imminent threat than US hegemony. The disappearance of European culture in favour of American culture is less dangerous than the disappearance of the European peoples in favour of always increasing numbers of immigrants. This anti-Americanism has also made Grecists forget that in America many ethnic groups, like the Catholic Irish, Polish, Italians and French Canadians and an increasing number of Anglo-Saxons, oppose the Calvinist American model.
What will strike the North American reader is that in the European New Right, nothing is explained in overtly racial terms. Identity, whose distinctiveness cannot be based solely on race as it also encompasses culture and tradition, is the basis of the GRECE. As O'Meara rightly points out, over the last few years, there has been a major shift in the ideas defended by Alain de Benoist, the most famous thinker associated with the GRECE, and he now defends all cultures and identities from the liberal American hegemony, including the culture and identity of the newly arrived immigrants. Despite this shift, it is clear that this school of thought helped the dissidents build a strong and solid critique of the postmodern world. Those less familiar with the New Right will enjoy the many footnotes introducing many of the thinkers, including some that are less known, who evolved within and around the GRECE.
Overall O'Meara's New Right, New Culture reminds us that today's New Right does not defend the integrity of European peoples anymore. The Grecists who advocate the ethnic preservation of our peoples, like Guillaume Faye and Pierre Vial, left the GRECE long ago, joining instead the identitarian movement, a movement of self preservation that is gaining popularity in Europe. It also stresses the fact that for most Grecists, European tradition is pre-Christian, then denying the importance of Catholicism and Christianity in general in the shaping of Europe.
- The European New Right and its Animus against Western Civilization: Part I (September 2014)
- The European New Right and "Judeo-Christianity": Part II (September 2014)