Chesterton and Evola on Patriotism

G.K. Chesterton (left), debates patriotism with Julius Evola (right).

G.K. Chesterton (left), debates patriotism with Julius Evola (right).

A previously unknown transcript of a discussion between two significant authors has recently emerged.

A private collector who wishes to remain anonymous has sent the Traditionalist Youth Network a heretofore unseen recording of a friendly discussion between Baron Julius Evola and G.K. Chesterton on the topic of patriotism.  Collectors and readers alike are skeptical of the authenticity of the text because of the very short overlapping time period between the lives of Evola and Chesterton.  In spite of it all, and enduring intense debate about the possibility of time travel (*satire alert!*), this transcript should be read as an authentic recording and faithful representation of these authors’ philosophical and religious point of view.

[transcript begins]

Moderator:  Baron Evola, Mr. Chesterton, thank you both for coming together for this discussion.  We have a lot to talk about tonight, and we hope that you both will be able to help the audience at home learn more about patriotism in troubled times.

Chesterton: Thank you.  I’m pleased to be here.

Evola:  [Nods once, adjusts monocle, remains silent].

Moderator:  Gentleman, can you please tell me what it means to be a patriot?

Chesterton: Baron Evola, I’ll thank you in advance for letting me start this conversation, and I hope that you won’t feel offended when I say that patriotism can be best understood and performed through a Christian view of the world.  Patriotism is a matter of primary loyalty.  The world is not a lodging-house at Brighton, which we are to leave because it is miserable.  It is the fortress of our family, with the flag flying on the turret, and the more miserable it is the less we should leave it.  The point is not that this world is too sad to love or too glad not to love; the point is that when you do love a thing, its gladness is a reason for loving it, and its sadness a reason for loving it more.  All optimistic thoughts about England and all pessimistic thoughts about her are alike reasons for the English patriot.

Evola:  Whether a man is pleased or displeased with the universe, or even the land in which he was born is inconsequential to the nature of what it means to truly be a patriot.  The patriot is a proud man who is animated by emotions of statism or statolotry.  Such men are invariably the doom of a hierarchical society and cannot transcend from the naturalistic realm to the spiritual realm.  In spite of it all, there are things which a man can do as a kind of patriot which will prove valuable to the proper function of a sovereign authority.  The patriot is not a protector; he is a scythe which cuts away the dangerous parts of a government.  When circumstances change, when crises occur, when new factors come into play, where the previous dams begin to crack, these people know how to retain their sangfroid and are capable of letting go of what needs to be abandoned in order that what is truly essential may not be compromised.

Moderator:  Gentleman, Americans live in a troubled time, and their government doesn’t obey their will anymore.  What is the problem that Americans are dealing with here; what is the cause of their problem?  Baron Evola, you may give the first response.

Evola:  The fundamental problem with Americans and their government is that they continue to use a system of government based on false authority.  Their rules and laws are based on secular and Liberal convictions in which a variety of social aggregations have are manipulated and utilized by politicians as a means for election and control of the people.  Every true political unity appears as the embodiment of an idea and a power, thus distinguishing itself from every form of naturalistic association or “natural right,” and also from every societal aggregation determined by mere social, economic, biological, utilitarian, or eudemonistic factors.  Stated differently, Americans are having trouble from their government because it has no legitimacy, and their leaders have no claim to real power.  A quality of leader would be in the religious and warrior order as well as in the order of the patrician family, the gens, and, eminently, of the State, the res publica.  Thus, power is derived from the function and quality of leadership; the authority of enforcement is granted through a religious and martial social and class status.

Chesterton:  The dear Baron is correct to say that one of the fundamental problems among Americans is a lack of Christian faith, but it is more than the truly unfortunate consequence of being a godless heathen which is wrecking their state and nation.  Americans are losing  control of their state because they have no love of their nation.  Mere jingo self-contentment is commonest among those who have some pedantic reason for the patriotism.  The worst jingoes do not love England, but a theory of England.  If we love England for being an empire, we may overrate the success with which we rule the Hindoos.  But if we love it only for being a nation, we can face all events: for it would be a nation even if the Hindoos ruled us.  Thus also only those will permit their patriotism to falsify history whose patriotism depends on history.  A man who loves England for being English will not mind how she arose.  The problem with Americans is that they are in love with a theory of America, and not the nation which built America.

Moderator:  Thank you gentlemen.  In light of these conditions, how do you recommend that Americans fix these problems?  Mr. Chesterton, you may give the first response to this question.

Chesterton:  Americans cannot ignore their problems, nor can they revel in them at the expense of all other good and right things which may also exist.  No, they must be more zealous and also more gracious.  I would say this about any American who wishes to fix the problems in his country…  Can he hate enough to change it, and yet love it enough to think it worth changing?  Can he look up at its colossal good without once feeling acquiescence?  can he look up at its colossal evil without once feeling despair?  can he, in short, be at once not only a pessimist and an optimist, but a fanatical pessimist and a fanatical optimist?  Is he enough of a pagan to die for the world, and enough of a Christian to die to it?  In this combination, I maintain, it is the rational optimist who fails, the irrational optimist who succeeds.  He is ready to smash the whole universe for the sake of itself.  The American who wished to fix the problems plaguing his country must be prepared to smash his country to save it.  This means, without equivocation–  that there must be a revolution.

Evola:  Mr. Chesterton is correct, but Americans must not seek to save the whole of their country, nor should they try to smash it in its entirety in an over zealous attempt to fix their malfunctioning government.  They must only destroy, and completely destroy, those parts which betray them, and focus on saving the few parts which are good.  Since the present world looks more and more like a world of ruins, sooner or later the same line of action will assert itself everywhere:  in other words, people will realize that it is useless to lean on what still has vestiges of more normal institutions, but which is compromised by several negative historical factors, and that it is imperative to go back to the origins and to start anew from them, as if they towered over history, moving ahead with pure forces along the path of an avenging and reconstructive reaction.  I will agree in a very limited way with Mr. Chesterton that the only path forward for Americans is a revolution.

Moderator:  The definition of a patriot, then, if I am reading you both correctly, is a revolutionary who is prepared to begin a revolution in defense of a theocratic ethnostate.  Is this correct, gentlemen?

[Evola and Chesterton nodding in agreement]

Moderator:  Baron Evola, Mr. Chesterton, thank you both for coming together for an interview this evening, and we’d love to have you back again some time soon.

[transcript ends]



Last night as our overloads were voting to save the global economy — they don’t much care that median income for ordinary citizens is headed toward the poverty line — a veteran employee of the US Congress yelled out “Freemasons wrote the constitution,” or something to that effect.

Humpasaur Jones

This is pretty weak. Whoever wrote this is hardly equal to the task of impersonating Chesterton and Evola. Ham-fisted stuff.

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