Venner’s Europe is not, of course, the Soviet/New Class-inspired EU, just as she is not the geographical entity labeled ‘Europe’. Rather than a market, a political/administrative structure, a geographic category—rather even than a race (though in a certain sense it is all about race in the end)—Europe for him is a multi-millennial community of closely-related national families made up of Germans, Celts, Slavs, and others, having the same ancient (Indo-European, Borean, Cro-Magnon) roots of blood and spirit: that is, having the same Thirty-thousand Years of European History and Identity.
This makes his Europe a community with a common civilizational heritage that stretches back to the depths of prehistoric time. Historically, the tradition and identity of this heritage has informed Europe’s representations and values in ways distinguishing/identifying her and her peoples from other civilizations and peoples.
Tradition, though, is not for Venner the metaphysical abstraction of the perennialists or the historical repository of the Burkeans: it is not something outside history nor is it something forged once and for all in the night of time.
Tradition for him is precisely that which does not pass. It is the perpetual spirit that makes Europeans who they are and lends meaning to their existence, as they change and grow yet remain always the same. It is the source thus of the ‘secret permanences’ upon which their history is worked out.
Tradition may originate in Prehistory, but Venner claims it is preeminently contemporary—just as every origin represents a novel outburst of being. It serves thus as a people’s inner compass. It directs them to what and whom they are. It renders what was formed and inspired in the past into a continually informed present. It is always new and youthful, something very much before rather than behind them. It embodies the longest memory, integral to their identity, and it anticipates a future true to its origin. Life lived in reference to tradition, Venner insists, is life lived in accordance with the ideal it embodies—the ideal of ‘who we are’.
In one sense, Venner’s Europe is the opposite of the America that has distorted Europe’s fate for the last half-century. But he is no knee-jerk anti-American (though the French, in my view, have good cause to be anti-US). He’s also written several books on the US War of Secession, in which much of America’s Cavalier heritage is admired. Knowing something of the opposed tendencies shaping American ‘national’ life, he’s well aware of the moral abyss separating, say, Jesse James from Jay Gould—and what makes one an exemplar of the European spirit and the other its opposite.
Modeled on the Old Testament, not the Old World, Venner claims America’s New World (both as a prolongation and rejection of Europe) was born of New England Calvinism and secularized in John O’Sullivan’s ‘Manifest Destiny’.
Emboldened by the vast, virgin land of their wilderness enterprise and the absence of traditional authority, America’s Seventeenth-century Anglo-Puritan settlers set out, in the spirit of their radical-democratic Low Church crusade, to disown the colony’s Anglo-European parents—which meant disowning the idea (old as Herodotus) that Europe is ‘the home of liberty and true government’.
Believing herself God’s favorite, this New Zion aspired—as a Promised Land of liberty, equality, fraternity—to jettison Europe’s aesthetic and aristocratic standards for the sake of its religiously-inspired materialism. Hence, the bustling, wealth-accumulating, tradition-opposing character of the American project, which offends every former conception of the Cosmos.
New England, to be sure, is not the whole of America, for the South, among another sections, has a quite different narrative, but it was the Yankee version of the ‘American epic’ that became dominant, and it is thus the Yankee version that everywhere wars on Americans of European descent.
A critique that may be acceptable to some of us, but does the French Ultra Right or the European New Right really have anything to offer to Christians? (Naturally, the attraction of Venner to alt righters and fringe/WN groups does make him suspect.)
Interview at The Occidental Quarterly
Under the Spell of European Mysticism
Toward a New Aristocracy
Another European Destiny
New Antaois Journal
Videos after the jump...