Event Date: 15 – 17 May 2019
Richmond University – The American University in London
Richmond TW10 6JP
A Century of Radical Right Extremism: New Approaches
Professor Robert Tobin (Clark University) – Early Twentieth-Century Masculinism and The Roots of the New Right
There has been press coverage of the influence of the Italian fascist thinker Julius Evola on far-right thought today, but it is not well known that Evola worked with the ideas of the “masculinists,” reactionary thinkers in the early twentieth-century German-language homosexual rights movement. While most leaders of the early homosexual emancipation movement were leftists, some had a decidedly right-wing perspective. Authors like Otto Weininger and Hans Blüher celebrated masculine supremacy and homoerotic bonds between men. Weininger argued that, while the masculine was superior to the feminine, not all men were masculine. Evola viewed race in a similar light, speculating that a person’s “spiritual” race might be at odds with their physical one. Evola goes so far as to cite the foundational slogan of much of the early homosexual emancipation movement – the idea of the female soul in a male body – to explain how it might be possible for someone to have Aryan body, but a Jewish soul, and vice versa. In addition, Evola relies on Blüher’s influential work on the role of eroticism in masculine society as he promotes the value of tightly knit orders of men, such as the Knights Templar and the Teutonic Knights. Alain de Benoist, a founder of the nouvelle droite, marvels at the continuing influence of Evola in many strands of far-right thought. Political figures from Greece’s New Dawn and Hungary’s Jobbik cite him, as do Aleksandr Dugin, the Russian philosopher in Vladimir Putin’s orbit, and Steve Bannon, who worked for Donald Trump in the United States and now advises far-right movements in Europe. The analysis of the masculinist roots of new right thought underscores how important a pre-Enlightenment partriarchal order is to the far right.