by Francis Parker Yockey
The type of mind which believes in the essential “goodness” of human nature attained to Liberalism. But there is another political anthropology, one which recognizes that man is disharmonious, problematical, dual, dangerous. This is the general wisdom of mankind, and is reflected by the number of guards, fences, safes, locks, jails and policemen. Every catastrophe, fire, earthquake, volcanic eruption, flood, evokes looting. Even a police strike in an American city was the signal for looting of the shops by the respectable and good human beings.
Thus this type of thought starts from facts. This is political thinking in general, as opposed to mere thinking about politics, rationalizing. Even the wave of Rationalism did not submerge this kind of thinking. Political thinkers differ greatly in creativeness and depth, but they agree that facts are normative. The very word theory has been brought into disrepute by intellectuals and Liberals who use it to describe their pet view of how they would like things to be. Originally theory was explanation of facts. To an intellectual who is adrift in politics, a theory is an aim; to a true politician his theory is a boundary.
A political theory seeks to find from history the limits of the politically possible. These limits cannot be found in the domain of Reason. The Age of Reason was born in bloodshed, and will pass out of vogue in more bloodshed. With its doctrine against war, politics, and violence, it presided over the greatest wars and revolutions in 5,000 years, and it ushered in the Age of Absolute Politics. With its gospel of the Brotherhood of Man, it carried on the largest-scale starvation, humiliation, torture and extermination in history against populations within the Western Civilization after the first two World Wars. By outlawing political thinking, and turning war into a moral-struggle instead of a power-struggle it flung the chivalry and honor of a millennium into the dust. The conclusion is compelling that Reason also became political when it entered politics, even though it used its own vocabulary. When Reason stripped territory from a conquered foe after a war, it called it “disannexation.” The document consolidating the new position was called a “Treaty,” even though it was dictated in the middle of a starvation-blockade. The defeated political enemy had to admit in the “Treaty” that he was “guilty” of the war, that he is morally unfit to have colonies, that his soldiers alone committed “war-crimes.” But no matter how heavy the moral disguise, how consistent the ideological vocabulary, it is only politics, and the Age of Absolute Politics reverts once again to the type of political thinking which starts from facts, recognizes power and the will-to-power of men and higher organisms as facts, and finds any attempt to describe politics in terms of morals as grotesque as it would be to describe chemistry in terms of theology.
There is a whole tradition of political thinking in the Western Culture, of which some of the leading representatives are Macchiavelli, Hobbes, Leibnitz, Bossuet, Fichte, de Maistre, Donoso Cortes, Hippolyte Taine, Hegel, Carlyle. While Herbert Spencer was describing history as the “progress” from military-feudal to commercial-industrial organization, Carlyle was showing to England the Prussian spirit of Ethical Socialism, whose inner superiority would exert on the whole Western Civilization in the coming Political Age an equally fundamental transformation as had Capitalism in the Economic Age. This was creative political thinking, but was unfortunately not understood, and the resulting ignorance allowed distorting influences to fling England into two senseless World Wars from which it emerged with almost everything lost.
Hegel posited a three-stage development of mankind from the natural community through the bourgeois community to the State. His State-theory is thoroughly organic, and his definition of the bourgeois is quite appropriate for the 20th century. To him the bourgeois is the man who does not wish to leave the sphere of internal political security, who sets himself up, with his sanctified private property, as an individual against the whole, who finds a substitute for his political nullity in the fruits of peace and possessions and perfect security in his enjoyment of them, who therefore wishes to dispense with courage and remain secure from the possibility of violent death. He described the true Liberal with these words.
The political thinkers mentioned do not enjoy popularity with the great masses of human beings. As long as things are going well, most people do not wish to hear talk of power-struggles, violence, wars, or theories relating to them. Thus in the 18th and 19th centuries was developed the attitude that political thinkers—and Macchiavelli was the prime victim—were wicked men, atavistic, bloodthirsty. The simple statement that wars would always continue was sufficient to put the speaker down as a person who wanted wars to continue. To draw attention to the vast, impersonal rhythm of war and peace showed a sick mind with moral deficiency and emotional taint. To describe facts was held to be wishing them and creating them. As late as the 20th century, anyone pointing out the political nullity of the “leagues of nations” was a prophet of despair. Rationalism is anti-historical; political thinking is applied history. In peace it is unpopular to mention war, in war it is unpopular to mention peace. The theory which becomes most quickly popular is one which praises existing things and the tendency they supposedly illustrate as obviously the best order and as preordained by all foregoing history. Thus Hegel was anathema to the intellectuals because of his State-orientation, which made him a “reactionary,” and also because he refused to join the revolutionary crowd.
Since most people wish to hear only soporific talk about politics, and not demanding calls to action, and since in democratic conditions it matters to political technics what most people wish to hear, democratic politicians evolved in the 19th century a whole dialectic of party-politics. The idea was to examine the field of action from a “disinterested” standpoint, moral, or economic, and to find that the opponent was immoral, unscientific, uneconomic—in fact—he was political. This was devilishness that must be combated. One’s own standpoint was entirely “non-political.” Politics was a word of reproach in the Economic Age. Curiously however, in certain situations, usually those involving foreign relations, “unpolitical” could also be a term of abuse, meaning the man so described lacked skill in negotiating. The party politician also had to feign unwillingness to accept office. Finally a demonstration of carefully arranged “popular will” broke down his reluctance, and he consented to “serve.” This was described as Macchiavellism, but obviously Macchiavelli was a political thinker, and not a camouflageur. A book by a party-politician does not read like The Prince, but praises the entire human race, except certain perverse people, the author’s opponents.
Actually Machiavelli’s book is defensive in tone, justifying politically the conduct of certain statesmen by giving examples drawn from foreign invasions of Italy. During Macchiavelli’s century, Italy was invaded at different times by Frenchmen, Germans, Spaniards and Turks. When the French Revolutionary Armies occupied Prussia, and coupled humanitarian sentiments of the Rights of Man with brutality and large-scale looting, Hegel and Fichte restored Machiavelli once again to respect as a thinker. He represented a means of defense against a foe armed with a humanitarian ideology. Machiavelli showed the actual role played by verbal sentiments in politics.
One can say that there are three possible attitudes toward human conduct, from the point of evaluating its motives: the sentimental, the realistic, and the cynical. The sentimental imputes a good motive to everybody, the cynical a bad motive, and the realistic simply seeks the facts. When a sentimentalist, e.g., a Liberal, enters politics, he becomes perforce a hypocrite. The ultimate exposure of this hypocrisy creates cynicism. Part of the spiritual sickness following the First World War was a wave of cynicism which arose from the transparent, revolting, and incredible hypocrisy of the little men who were presiding over affairs at that time. Macchiavelli had however an incorruptible intellect and did not write in a cynical spirit. He sought to portray the anatomy of politics with its peculiar problems and tensions, inner and outer. To the fantastic mental illness of Rationalism, hard facts are regrettable things, and to talk about them is to create them. A tiny politician of the Liberal type even sought to prevent talk about the Third World War, after the Second. Liberalism is, in one word, weakness. It wants every day to be a birthday, Life to be a long party. The inexorable movement of Time, Destiny, History, the cruelty of accomplishment, sternness, heroism, sacrifice, superpersonal ideas—these are the enemy.
Liberalism is an escape from hardness into softness, from masculinity into femininity, from History into herd-grazing, from reality into herbivorous dreams, from Destiny into Happiness. Nietzsche, in his last and greatest work, designated the 18th century as the century of feminism, and immediately mentioned Rousseau, the leader of the mass-escape from Reality. Feminism itself—what is it but a means of feminizing man? If it makes women man-like, it does so only by transforming man first into a creature whose only concern is with his personal economics and his relation to “society,” ie. a woman. “Society” is the element of woman, it is static and formal, its contests are purely personal, and are free from the possibility of heroism and violence. Conversation, not action; formality, not deeds. How different is the idea of rank used in connection with a social affair, from when it is applied on a battlefield! In the field, it is fate-laden; in the salon it is vain and pompous. A war is fought for control; social contests are inspired by feminine vanity and jealousy to show that one is “better” than someone else.
And yet what does Liberalism do ultimately to woman: it puts a uniform on her and calls her a “soldier.”’ This ridiculous performance but illustrates the eternal fact that History is masculine, that its stern demands cannot be evaded, that the fundamental realities cannot be renounced, even, by the most elaborate make-believe. Liberalistic tampering with sexual polarity only wreaks havoc on the souls of individuals, confusing and distorting them, but the man-woman and the woman-man it creates are both subject to the higher Destiny of History.
Yockey’s views on liberalism appear in Imperium (1962), 208-223.