Identification of Christianity as a negative influence over Western civilization is not exclusive to revolutionaries in the so-called “Left”. The connection was also made by members of the alt-right’s precursors in Europe, the 1970s French Nouvelle droite. The movement, exemplified by authors such as Alain the Benoist and Guillaume Faye, combined the tactics of the Gramscian New Left with identitarian and Traditionalist ideas such as those spoused by Julius Evola and René Guénon. It longed for a return to an “Archeofuturist” Europe. This vision included a revival of Pagan forms of worship, not affected by Christianity’s multiculturalist and egalitarian temptations. Roman Catholicism was seen, thus, as a Semitic entity artificially grafted into Europe.
The Nouvelle droite had a particular way to regard to the question of feminity. It drew a line between supposedly Western attitudes to women and sexuality, characterized by the right to pleasure and sexual emancipation; and Middle Eastern ones, where sexuality was “dramatized”. The Aryan v. Semitic; politheistic v. monotheistic dichotomies were essential to this notion. The Abrahamic religious environment was considered at the root of women’s relative devaluation compared to the male. In the case of Christianity, it was seen as leading to a pathological exaltation of the Sterile Virgin archetype (v. the Fertile Housewife-Mother). In the words of Alain de Benoist and Joël Lecrozet: “an unequal conception of the world is necessarily based on the recognition of diversity, (…) the other sex has always been considered in Europe as an enrichment and not as a curse, cause of an original sin.” -Eléments, n°14-15, p.12.
These dichotomies had a similar meaning in the Third Reich, which established its criticism of Christianity in similar terms. The triumph of this meme led into the kind of Spartanism both the German National Socialists and the Nouvelle droite defended: clearly defined and separated gender roles, but given a filogynistic and complementarian interpretation. Again Alain the Benoist: “(…) This system defines a complete society, where the woman is not only “admitted”, but honored, because that the view-of-the-world expressed there establishes the relationship of the sexes from an angle of complementarity. (…)” -Vu de droite, op. cit., p.350.
Certain factions of current identitarian movements are to a certain extent heirs of this memeplex, with criticism now directed less towards Judaism and Christianity and more towards Islam, as befitting the latter’s increasing demographic weight in the Western world. Curiously, early 20th c. Traditionalists such as the aforementioned Evola and Guénon had a quite positive view of Islam, seeing it as a superior spiritual Tradition. Guénon even embraced an esoteric interpretation of the religion later in his life, changing his name to Abd al-Wahid Yahya.
This article is a continuation of a previous one, which you can find here. Thethird and last installment can be found here.