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Western politics has changed. Sometimes it still seems to fit into a familiar framework, as at least at some points the last British election did, but even then, nothing is quite the same. Despite occasional patronising talk of “the white-van man” and disadvantaged regions, it is becoming clear that something fundamental is shifting. The classic left-right shape of the political contest no longer holds. The broad liberalism that for so long seemed the natural background to Western politics is beginning to look like only one option among many.

There have been changes in what people hope for and what people fear. Underlying these are changes in the way many people live. There have also been changes in the ideologies that inform political life. As well as the familiar trio of liberalism, socialism and conservatism, previously unfamiliar thinkers are now important.

One of them is an Italian, Julius Evola. I have a pamphlet containing one of his essays, “Orientamenti”, that was produced in the 1970s using a manual typewriter and a photocopying machine – Italian samizdat. His books were first widely translated into English in the 1990s, brought out by an alternative publisher in the picturesque New England village of Rochester, Vermont. In 2014, when Steve Bannon referred to Evola in approving terms during a workshop in Rome, nobody noticed. When Bannon became White House chief strategist in January 2017, journalists started going back over his past, found a recording of the workshop, and, a month later, Evola made it into the New York Times.

René Guénon, a French writer on whom Evola drew extensively, is even more important to the new politics. Bannon recently told Bloomberg’s Josh Green how reading Guénon had changed his life, and when I met Aleksandr Dugin, who some now see as Bannon’s Russian counterpart, in Moscow in 1999, he proposed Guénon to me as the new Marx.

full: https://tankmagazine.com/issue-72/features/mark-sedgwick/
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