Corsets and Old Hat

Volk, Nation, der Westen und die Neue Rechte by Mark Terkessidis Kiepenheur & Witsch, Cologne 1995 290 pages

COUNT OTTOKAR CZERNIN, the foreign minister of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, failed to read the signs of the times in 1917. As it the news was brought to him that a revolution had broken out in Russia, he responded with a laconic, "for sure, for sure, and who is supposed to be making a revolution, perhaps that chap Trotsky from the Cafe Central?"

The archaism of a political class is shown in its incapability to recognise new political currents for what they were and not to force them into the outmoded categories of yesteryear. Just as Czernin failed to understand the significance of a Trotsky, so today Terkessidis an Alain de Benoist. The French philosopher and representative of the French New Right is "exposed" as a fascist and racist. Mark Terkessidis' own rose-tinted philanthropic and multi-cultural critique is projected onto his own idea of fascism and racism.

The social revolutionary, ecological, organic-democratic liberation nationalism of the New Right is beyond him.

Forcing his notion of what is true into the tight corset of his own prejudices, Terkessidis's book does not even meet the standards of fair journalism, let alone scientific enquiry. His attempt to categorise de Benoist and Professor Henning Eichberg too, as apologists for totalitarianism would have been more convincingly employed in portrayals of Josef Goebbels or Ilya Ehrenburg. Agit-prop afficando Mark Terkessidis writes,

"The mixing of cultures signifies "ethnocide" (Benoist" or "cultural destruction of the people" (Eichberg). The decadence of peoples and cultures must be fought with every means. For de Benoist this threat of decadence justifies a dictatorship, as defined by Carl Schmitt (a form of government the purpose of which is to restore a system of law or to replace the existing model with a new and better one): "every dictatorship is despicable, but not as despicable as decadence. A dictatorship can destroy us tomorrow as individuals. Decadence destroys the chances of survival of an entire people.""

The above quoted passage is the end of a chapter by de Benoist on the "main enemy" in which he contrasts two misfortunes, Soviet Communism in the East and Western liberalism. The dictatorship he is referring to is Marxist-Leninism. Mr. Terkessidis obviously assumes his readership to be pretty dim, else he would not have tried to pass off de Benoist's contrast of two totalitarian systems as an acceptance of the totalitarianism of one of them. It goes on:

"It is with reference to "Black Power" that Alain de Benoist, spokesman of the intellectual right, returns to the importance of one's own "racial" culture": "If you are against colonialism as such, then it follows that you must favour mutual decolonisation...If you support Black Power, then please, White Power, Yellow Power and Red Power too." When everyone believes that their own culture is number one, then Europeans are entitled to have their Eurocentrism back again."

In fact de Benoist wrote, I am in favour of non-discrimination, for decolonization, for the right of a people to self-determination. But on one condition: that there are no exceptions to the rule.... In other words, de Benoist is far from pleading for a "Eurocentrism", but then Mark Terkessidis is far from seeking a debate with Alain de Benoist or the European New Right in general.

This book is a hack job based on errors, differing from the tabloid press only in language. The convoluted sentences will be incomprehensible to the man in the street, but the way that facts are manipulated is nothing new. One only has to think of Julius Streicher's Stuermer.

But a difference between Mark Terkessidis and Julius Streicher is that the latter, according to a prison psychologist in 1946, had an IQ of only 85. So, he couldn't help himself. A clever chap like Mr. Terkessidis can help himself. It's a pity he doesn't use his intelligence more constructively.

Manfred Rouhs

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