It is hard to envision any broad political implementation of traditionalism, for its radicalism puts it at odds with most mainstream ideologies – not just liberalism, but nationalism too. In its original form, traditionalism regards the nation-state as a product of modernity – a more confined space for the eradication of hierarchy and the imposition of homogeneity. The nationalism advocated by traditionalists such as Dugin and Bannon is thus a sort of intermediary stage between hierarchical society and the levelling of the world through international communism or democracy.
Perhaps then, for Bannon, Olavo and in particular Dugin, nationalism is a two-way street rather than an end in itself. Their calls for the strengthening of borders and even for more egalitarian orders within them (Dugin frequently advocates “social justice”, while Bannon, in theory, supports progressive tax policies) may be initial steps in an effort to reverse time. First, establish a horizontal difference by destroying internationalism and crafting a world of islands. Then, reinstate vertical difference with a theocratic hierarchy by sacralising the otherwise modernist and secular institution of the nation-state. For the influential acolytes of traditionalism, nationalism would thus be merely the opening salvo of a crusade to re-segment and re-mystify the world.
“As I write in the op-ed, there is this narrative this analysis of populism that it’s all just a ploy for the leaders of the populist organizations, whatever it may be, to enrich themselves and kind of, you know, use the popularity of populism to stay in power,” Teitelbaum said.
How did an obscure esoteric school begun by the French writer and sufi René Guénon and his fascist disciple Julius Evola at the beginning of the 20th begin to influence geopolitics, and especially the works of Steve Bannon, Alexander Dugin, and Olavo de Carvalho? We discuss this with Benjamin R Teitelbaum, author of a great new page turner called “War for Eternity: Inside Bannon’s Far-Right Circle of Global Power Brokers.” And we go into depth, especially about Steven Bannon and the alt right who Benjamin has interviewed a lot, and this complex figure especially with reference to his traditionalism, his fatalistic view of the Kali Yuga, and what the neo traditionalists are up to precisely. An important and misunderstood topic.
It’s surprising, then, that Dugin and Bannon have been attempting to collaborate, and met in secrecy in Rome in November 2018. Dugin and Bannon may represent opposing interests at the level of national politics, but they also recognized a deeper bond as two Traditionalists who emerged into power independently of each other at roughly the same historical moment. Their communications have nonetheless related to geopolitics: Bannon has been lobbying Dugin to switch his allegiances and embrace the United States, to use his platform of soft but powerful influence to advocate Russia’s return to the Judeo-Christian West and rejection of China.