Intellectuals & Artists In Politics

September 21, 2012 § 11 Comments

The role of artists and intellectuals in political resistance is a well documented and generally well respected modern and contemporary feature, but their role in actual governance has been littered with failure and ignorance.

Up until fairly recently, art and intellectuals were primary supported by (or actually part of, by way of birth) the governing class, which placed them in a different role vis a vis politics.

But at least since the Romantic period, certainly artists and also, to a great extent, I think, intellectuals have been put into a role as outsiders.

This is all about Ezra Pound and what to do with him. Because that question never goes away, does it?

I was reading this article about Pound’s relationship with Mussolini and the impression is that Pound was roundly duped by Il Duce.

Listen to this comment by Mussolini’s aide:

This is an eccentric proposal thought by a foggy mind lacking any inkling of reality. Keeping in mind the affection Pound has for Italy and the enthusiasm that motivates him, it is sufficient to let him know that his interesting proposal is being studied…

Pound as a stupid little man, tossed meaningless sops to keep him happy with being effectively ignored so he could be blithely trotted out as a meagre tool of propaganda when time permitted.

The great genius… reduced to so little.

§ 11 Responses to Intellectuals & Artists In Politics

  • Proud Fascist says:

    You make it sound like Pound was the only or one of the few talented artists/intellectuals to support the Fascist Revolution. I suggest you educate yourself on this era in history. You can start with the following names:

    Massimo Bontempelli
    Giuseppe Bottai
    Enrico Corradini
    Carlo Costamagna
    Gabriele D’Annunzio
    Salvatore Di Giacomo
    Andrea Emo
    Julius Evola
    Enrico Ferri
    Giovanni Gentile
    Agostino Lanzillo
    Curzio Malaparte
    Guglielmo Marconi
    Filippo Tommaso Marinetti
    Robert Michels
    Angelo Oliviero Olivetti
    Sergio Panunzio
    Giovanni Papini
    Camillo Pellizi
    Luigi Pirandello
    Giuseppe Prezzolini
    Berto Ricci
    Alfredo Rocco
    Margherita Sarfatti
    Ardengo Soffici
    Ugo Spirito
    Giuseppe Ungaretti
    Gioacchino Volpe

    Gottfried Benn
    Ernst Bertram
    Hans Blüher
    Max Hildebert Boehm
    Hans Bogner
    Heimito von Doderer
    Hans Freyer
    Arnold Gehlen
    Stefan George
    Martin Heidegger
    Friedrich Hielscher
    Edgar Julius Jung
    Ernst Jünger
    Friedrich Georg Jünger
    Ludwig Klages
    Paul Lensch
    Arthur Moeller van den Bruck
    Armin Mohler
    Georg Quabbe
    Rainer Maria Rilke
    Ernst von Salomon
    Carl Schmitt
    Werner Sombart
    Martin Spahn
    Othmar Spann
    Oswald Spengler
    Christoph Steding
    Josef Weinheber
    August Winnig
    Hans Zehrer

    Raymond Abellio
    Marc Augier
    Jacques Bainville
    Maurice Bardèche
    René Benjamin
    Jacques Benoist-Méchin
    Henri Béraud
    Georges Bernanos
    Abel Bonnard
    Robert Brasillach
    Alexis Carrel
    Louis-Ferdinand Céline
    Jacques Chardonne
    Alphonse de Châteaubriant
    Léon Daudet
    Pierre Drieu La Rochelle
    Georges Dumézil
    Kléber Haedens
    Marcel Jouhandeau
    Bertrand de Jouvenel
    Jacques de Lacretelle
    Jean de La Varende
    Gustave Le Bon
    Henri Massis
    Thierry Maulnier
    Charles Maurras
    Jean-Pierre Maxence
    Henry de Montherlant
    Paul Morand
    Lucien Rebatet
    Louis Salleron
    Paul Sérant
    Gustave Thibon
    Georges Vacher de Lapouge
    Georges Valois

    Nimio de Anquin
    Leonardo Castellani
    Camilo José Cela
    Álvaro Cunqueiro
    Gerardo Diego
    Manuel Gálvez
    Enrique Gil y Robles
    Ernesto Giménez Caballero
    Carlos Ibarguren
    Rodolfo Irazusta
    Pedro Laín Entralgo
    Ramiro Ledesma Ramos
    Leopoldo Lugones
    Manuel Machado
    Ramiro de Maeztu
    José Antonio Maravall
    Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo
    Eugenio d’Ors
    Leopoldo Panero
    José María Pemán
    Onésimo Redondo
    Dionisio Ridruejo
    Vicente Risco
    Luis Rosales
    Pedro Sainz Rodríguez
    Rafael Sánchez Mazas
    Gonzalo Torrente Ballester
    Antonio Tovar
    Lorenzo Villalonga
    Hugo Wast

    Petre P. Carp
    Emil M. Cioran
    Nichifor Crainic
    Mircea Eliade
    Ioan C. Filitti
    Radu Gyr
    Vintilă Horia
    Nae Ionescu
    Nicolae Iorga
    Constantin Noica
    Ioan Slavici
    Petre Tuțea
    Mircea Vulcănescu

    Hilaire Belloc
    David Jones
    Saunders Lewis
    Wyndham Lewis
    George Santayana
    Wallace Stevens
    Evelyn Waugh
    W. B. Yeats

    Knut Hamsun
    Verner von Heidenstam
    Rolf Jacobsen

  • But just because you can put together a long list of misguided artists, writers, and intellectuals doesn’t make fascism legitimate.

  • Proud Fascist says:

    Heidegger and Marinetti were already listed.

    And of course Fascism is legitimate and respectable. You only call them “misguided” because you disagree with them and probably have a facile understanding of Fascism and the radical right in the first place. Liberal democracy, capitalism, egalitarianism, and individualism lead to the reign of degeneracy and mediocrity. This is obvious to any intelligent person who looks at the West’s predicament.

    • Saw that Marinetti was listed but I was not particularly interested in combing through a four page laundry list to look for Martin.

      I was actually prepared to accept an argument over the intellectual underpinnings of the fascist right until you dropped the word “degeneracy.”

      Sorry – too many points lost for using that word in the context of fascism when that word is closely linked to pale efforts to legitimize racism and genocide.

      • Though I will acknowledge a great appreciation of Heidegger’s philosophical works and Marinetti’s artistic output. Just not their fascism and nazism.

      • Proud Fascist says:

        Check out the Ctrl + F function.

        “I was actually prepared to accept an argument over the intellectual underpinnings of the fascist right until you dropped the word “degeneracy.””

        Unless you’re an apathetic nihilist, which I don’t think you are, I’m willing to bet there’s a great deal of inconsistency here. Need I remind you that ideals which you probably cherish such as “equality” and “human rights” have also been closely linked to mass murder on many separate occasions? Would you say that alone discredits them? If not, why not? Besides, “degeneracy” can refer to many different types of decline, not only racial. Is American McCulture something you’re proud to export? Is it not degenerate in a sense?

      • In the context of fascism, the word “degeneracy” is just too charged.

        Frankly, I mistrust someone who uses in the context of a discussion of fascism.

        Either that person is aware of the implications of that word in association with the actions of German fascism, in which case the choice to use that word is repellent.

        Or, they are not aware, so I mistrust their historical understanding of the subject.

        And your calling American culture degenerate… I don’t condone McDonald’s (I’m vegetarian) or much of what the cultural industrial complex produces.. But too damn close to Hitler’s obsession with destroying and dehumanizing the “degenerate” culture of the Jewish people (which was really just western liberal culture).

      • But I will admit to curiousity – what led you to becoming a self proclaimed “proud fascist?”

  • Proud Fascist says:

    The “degeneracy” discourse of Fascism was an offshoot of the larger “degeneracy” discourse and cultural pessimism which had swept Europe during the late nineteenth century. For example, Max Nordau (a Jew) wrote a book entitled Entartung (Degeneration) in which he denounced “degenerate art.”

    It’s true that this discourse was sometimes racially-charged, especially since scientific racism was at its zenith at the same time, but not necessarily so, and one should not let one taint the other. Even if I used a different word, like decadent, the same charge would probably be raised regardless, so why bother with euphemisms? The culture in America and most of Europe is degenerate and sterile.

    I became a proud Fascist because I decided some time ago that Western civilization was following the wrong trajectory, and that the ideas of the both the left and the neoliberal right were naive and contributed to this mess, and sought out alternatives. I am proficient in several languages, which meant I could read what actual Fascists said rather than rely on tendentious scholarship. Like most people, I have my disagreements with particular actions taken by Fascist regimes and even elements of doctrine, but agree with enough points of doctrine to accept the label. Besides, it means I don’t have to pussyfoot around it when the opposition inevitably tries to end all debate by labeling someone a “fascist.”

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