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spiritual-racial theory: Italian Anthroposophy  Peter Staudenmaier
 May 22, 2007 16:07 PDT 



With the previous posts as background, I'd like to take a look at the
contributions that anthroposophists in particular have made to the tradition
of spiritual-racial theory. This post will address Italian anthroposophy
during the Fascist era via the work of Massimo Scaligero, perhaps the most
prominent Italian anthroposophist of the 20th century, whose publications
are still enthusiastically promoted by anthroposophists today. Scaligero was
a major collaborator of the journal La Difesa della Razza (The Defense of
the Race), chief vehicle of the racist and antisemitic campaign within
Italian fascism from 1938 onward. I will mostly skip those articles,
however, and concentrate on the more 'theoretical' essays that Scaligero
wrote for another important fascist journal, La Vita Italiana, published by
Giovanni Preziosi.


Massimo Scaligero, “La razza e lo spirito della Rivoluzione” [Race and the
Spirit of the Revolution], La Vita Italiana, May 1939, pp. 601-605,
emphasizes both “the spirituality of race” (603) and “the profound and
determinative reality of race” (602) while stressing its essential
connection to Fascism:

“Fascism, constructing an aerial bridge between culture and life, ennobling
thought with the virility of action, has from the very beginning created in
substance a new aspiration for the formation of the race. Since for Fascism
there is no separation between knowledge and labor, culture must necessarily
become the deepest formative force of the ethnic element. In the midst of
the muddled contrast of scientific sterility and spiritual subversion which
afflicts the modern world, it is creating the possibility of a new era in
which, together with creative thought, we see a revival of ‘beauty’, wisdom,
and a new poetry, the rainbow-colored freshness of images and acts that are
not contaminated by rhetoric; this creative sense of culture, which is style
and way of life, constitutes one of the essential principles of our racism.”
(602)

Scaligero condemns the “abstract intellectual character” of “modern
materialistic civilization,” (604), and calls instead to “re-awaken the
power of those superior spiritual principles befitting a superior race”
(605). The article concludes by invoking “a return to action, a radical
renewal of mankind, that is, a resurrection of the spiritual values of the
race of those whom the world awaits as commanders and as re-organizers.”
(605)


Massimo Scaligero, “Declino spirituale inglese” [The spiritual decline of
the English], La Vita Italiana, May 1940, pp. 533-536, provides a nice
summary of anthroposophical thinking on the relation between the physical
and the spiritual: “These phenomena of a spiritual order cannot occur
without far-reaching correspondences on the plane of social life, nor
without influencing either the decadence or the ascent of a people: changes
on the spiritual plane foretell or recapitulate or stand for analogous
changes in physical life” (534). Scaligero blames the widespread “spiritual
decadence” of a “large part of the English people” on the “international
Jewish plutocracy” (533), and says that the Jews are responsible for the war
as well (536).


Massimo Scaligero, “Compito eroico dello spirito nell’azione razzista” [The
heroic task of the spirit within the racist campaign], La Vita Italiana,
September 1939, pp. 327-333, argues that the “correspondence between ethnic
values and spiritual values” shows “the universal validity of the racist
idea” (327). “The spiritual conception of race” combined with “the mysticism
of Fascism” will preserve “the perennial values of the blood” (331). Indeed,
for Scaligero spiritual strength and racial strength are essentially the
same thing:

“To forge the spirit means to prepare the real power of the race. The
habitual rhetoricians will have to take heed of this, the ones who think
they can dialectically liquidate the Roman spiritual Tradition. This
Tradition is the pure Aryan heritage, the “solar” legacy of Imperial Rome,
whose essence is anti-egalitarian, antisemitic, heroic, but at the same time
mystical and ascetic. Thus there is no heroism without asceticism, there is
no assertion of the race without action of the spirit.” (331)

In this article Scaligero also envisions a final solution to the ‘Jewish
problem’, stated in starkly biological terms:

“In all of this, antisemitism represents only a single chapter; once it has
been liquidated through the elimination of the Judaic virus and the
biological re-integration of Aryan ethnic values, the campaign will assume
much broader proportions in which even sharper forces will be at stake; then
we will have achieved the conditions for engaging in a decisive battle
against the profane, egalitarian, leveling, and anti-spiritual powers,
against the promiscuity of values, against satanic materialism, against the
abuses of bourgeois modernity, against the hedonistic and orgiastic modern
world.” (327)

Warning against the Jewish threat to “our occidental spirituality,” (331)
Scaligero declares that the antisemitic campaign of the fascist regime has
not gone far enough to protect the tradition of western spirituality and
“the spiritual ideal of race” from “the occult forces of Judaism” (333). He
calls on his fellow fascists to take on the stern responsibility of a
ruthless struggle against the Jews, all in explicitly spiritual terms:

“The present correspondence between problems of the spirit and problems of
politics and civilization must lead us to consider our racial dignity and
our antisemitic stance as a profound spiritual responsibility, so that our
movement does not exhaust itself in a merely exterior attitude, but imbues
itself with the capacity to identify and neutralize those subtle forces of
Judaism which act in secret under less suspicious guise. Behind every form
of materialistic opportunism, behind every appearance of political or
doctrinal camouflage, behind every kind of utilitarianism and personalism,
in every polemical deployment that tries to confuse the terms of the vital
problems of the spirit through the subversion of cultural influences, we
must recognize a Jewish psychological style, orthodox in form and corrosive
in essence, disguised as antisemitic but actually Jewish in its innermost
intention. We must oppose the activity of these subtle and secret forces
with an action that is radical in the inner sense and that can thus also
strike those who are the conscious or unwitting instruments of Hebraism,
those who partake in the Semitic campaign to sow doubt about the essence of
our Roman Tradition, or who try to separate the concept of Romanness from
the concept of metaphysical knowledge, or sunder the concept of the Empire
from the concept of universality. The racist idea must transform itself into
the positive reality of the Second Roman Empire.” (332)


Massimo Scaligero, “Valori mediterranei della razza” [Mediterranean racial
values] La Vita Italiana, March 1939, pp. 307-313, begins by emphasizing the
difference between Italians as a “Mediterranean race” and the “Semitic or
Judaic” element. Scaligero says that the Italian race is the inheritor of “a
spiritual and heroic tradition” that represents “the authentic legacy of the
original white race, Hyperborean-Atlantean.” He distinguishes true
Mediterraneans from the “Negroid and Semitic races,” and explains that the
ancestors of modern Italians carried “the flame of solar spirituality” as an
Atlantean tradition; this inheritance makes it possible for “a spirit of
race to rise again” (307).

The article contrats the “Nordic-Atlantean” and “Aryan” tradition (313) with
“the Asiatic-Semitic contamination” and “the Semitic pollution” carried by
the “Semitic-Asiatic races” (309). Surveying the cultural and spiritual
achievements of the Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Chaldeans, and
Greeks, Scaligero declares that the Jews never created any values of their
own: “Every metaphysical and cultural expression of the Hebrews is the
result of a usurpation.” Jews are “by temperament practical, utilitarian,
calculating, dedicated exclusively to commerce, not comprehending the value
of art” (311). The only thing the Jews have to show for themselves is
“Semitic barbarism.” The article ends with a celebration of the legacy upon
which Mediterranean civilization is based, “the heroic and spiritual legacy,
thalassocratic and antisemitic.” (p. 313)


Massimo Scaligero, “Per un razzismo integrale” [For a complete racism], La
Vita Italiana, May 1942, pp. 428-434, calls for a synthesis of biological
and spiritual racism. The opening paragraph reads:

“Just as soon as the endeavor to acknowledge the broadest and most creative
ethical possibilities of the racist doctrine has begun, reviving the
metaphysical Tradition that is appropriate to the Aryan races – the races
that were originally able to reclaim their own solar purity and superiority
– the forces of anti-Tradition have been on the move. Whereas the attempt to
distort the principles of racism has had to depend on naive supporters of
the sciences, which ought to be collaborating instead on a systematic and
objective development of the racist doctrine, it has not been difficult to
re-assert an ‘orthodoxy’ in the name of a complete racism, a racism that is
not reducible to an exclusively biological or an exclusively spiritual
version.” (428)

The enemies of this total racism are “Luciferic universalism, abstract and
philosophical,” which asserts that there is a contradiction between Spirit
and Race. This “covertly materialist” position is “unable to appreciate the
spiritual dignity of race.” According to Scaligero, this grave error is the
fault of “the old Jewish dualism” that insists on separating spirit and
body, soul and race. (430) He continues:

“It is thus wrong to promote an alleged opposition between spiritual
universality and racial physicality. Nor does a certain Judaizing tendency
have any right to exist, a tendency to shrink from acknowledging a possible
synthesis of biology and the science of the spirit. We say “Judaizing” not
as a cheap polemical device, but because this opposition between universal
and particular, between spirit and life, is the hallmark of Jewish culture.
And it is not necessary to insist on this point, as it has been demonstrated
more than once that Christianity represents among other things the
overcoming of Judaism; the validity of a supersensible reality has been
established, one that can be attained through the experience of material
reality. […] Some have been scandalized because there is talk not only of a
race of the body and a race of the soul, but of a ‘race of the spirit’ as
well. Some have said: the spirit cannot have a race. It is true: the spirit
cannot have a race, but there exists and has always existed a ‘race of the
spirit.’ No pure spirits have ever been seen in this world; spirits can only
exist for humanity when they manifest themselves via a soul and a body,
being born within a given family and a given race. Being human entails a
series of physical-psychic limits on the plane of form and manifestation,
which demarcate the area within which the most universal of the spirits must
carry out his spiritual mission.” (431)

Emphasizing that “spiritual science” is essential to “our racism,” Scaligero
explains that “without the spirit, man loses contact with the physical
race.” (432) Because of the crucial spiritual component of race, eugenics
alone is not sufficient for a racial revival “in the epoch of the
resurrection of Aryan values” (433). Racial consciousness is the key to
spiritual advancement; but universalism and antiracism are a danger to the
I:

“The abstraction of a static and amorphous universalism does not mean the
transcendence of the fact of race, but the removal of the I from its
authentic spiritual function within the world of shared reality, soul and
physical, constituted by the race to which one belongs. Awareness of
belonging to one’s own race does not mean enduring the circumstances of
biological materialism, but being on the path of true spiritual ascent, of
the world of nature and of race biologically understood; it means being able
to live concretely this law of the spirit within individual experience. In
this way the dualism of spirit and matter can be overcome, the dualism that
characterized the ancient ‘Telluric-lunar’ cultures and especially Jewish
culture.” (433)


Massimo Scaligero, “Razzismo spirituale e razzismo biologico” [Spiritual
Racism and Biological Racism], La Vita Italiana, July 1941, pp. 36-41,
argues that the true fulfillment of "the racist principle" means integrating
biological and spiritual forms of racism into "one essential synthesis"
centered on the "I". This "synthesis of the science of the spirit and
natural science" could yield "an authentic improvement of the race through
the formation of the individual" and thus produce a "true and complete
racism" (39). The article’s opening paragraph reads:

“It needs to be acknowledged that Italian racism is tending toward a phase
of clarification and of doctrinal seriousness. Different points of view and
various disputes are leading, through mutual understanding, toward a
recognition of the insufficiency of both an exclusively spiritual racism and
of an exclusively biological racism." (36)

Scaligero insists that there is no real opposition between the two types of
racism; the very notion that there might be is merely an imposition of alien
Jewish characteritics on healthy Aryan thinking:

"Any antithesis between spiritual racism and biological racism has no reason
to exist, in as much as the one cannot have meaning except in harmonic
relationship and complementarity with the other. An antithesis risks
reviving the obsolete dualism of spirit versus matter that every healthy
cultural and philosophical system has overcome. And here we must keep in
mind that the conception of a dualism between spirit and life, between
intelligence and reality, between the world of ideas and the material world,
is precisely a fundamental characteristic of the Jewish race -- this dualism
that is the cause of a profound separation between two experiences that are
actually aspects of one and the same superior principle. The greatest evils
of humankind derive from this separating conception [...] We find on the
other hand that the synthesis of spirit and life is the profound
characteristic of the Aryan race: to revive the world of the senses with
spiritual forces, and attain the spiritual worlds through experience of the
sensible world -- this is the universal law for Aryan man and this has
always been the foundation of the great civilizations. Wherever these
contrary conceptions are in conflict, after the coming of Christ, it is
possible to identify the opposition of the Aryan spirit to the Jewish
spirit." (36-37)

For Scaligero, "The solution is therefore a solution that aims to eliminate
the ancient Jewish error from the world." The proper spiritual conception of
"the ideal Aryan human being," in Scaligero’s view, "takes on a definite
doctrinal form in the work of Rudolf Steiner, who recognizes in the two
one-sided experiences of the human soul the two principal powers that
obstruct the evolution and the spiritual development of man and that assume
symbolic form in the figures of Ahriman and Lucifer. The most complete
racist synthesis is therefore provided by the conception of three entities
which constitute the human being: spirit, soul, body.” (37)

To achieve these spiritual-racial goals, Scaligero envisions "precautionary
measures", both biological and spiritual, against the threat of racial
"deviance or pollution":

"Science of the spirit, science of the soul and science of the body must
therefore come together here in order to provide a place for the true and
complete racist praxis. Biology must be able to do no less than psychology,
just as psychology must be able to do no less than the science of the
spirit, toward the goal of recognizing the necessary model and pointing out
precisely where and how the deviance or pollution occur, and what the
required precautionary measures would be. These measures will thus not be
simply of a eugenic, biological, sanitary nature, but also of a
psychological and psychotherapeutic nature, and in addition of and ethical
and spiritual nature." (38-39)


Massimo Scaligero, “Omogeneità e continuità della razza italiana”
[Homogeneity and Continuity of the Italian Race], La Difesa della Razza vol.
2 no. 15 (June 5, 1939), pp. 38-40. The opening paragraph reads:

“When the ethnographers and the historians rediscover at the origins of Rome
different peoples and races, when they talk of Ligurians who come from the
north, of Sicilians who display Mediterranean ethnic characteristics and
traditions, of Etruscans-Pelasgians and of Italics, of Aryan peoples who
encounter Mediterranean peoples, it is impossible not to recognize in these
ethnic branches an individuality of the “Aryan” type, produced by the
absolute absence of Semitic contamination, let alone Jewish contamination.
This is fundamental for the history of the Aryan occidental race. What is
needed today is an understanding of the profound difference that separates
Mediterranean man (Minoan-Mycenaean-Hellenic-Italic) from Semitic man
(Phoenician-Chaldean-Assyrian-Hebraic). They were in struggle for centuries
in the ancient Mediterranean with various weapons. Mediterranean man
recapitulates in himself the hero and the priest, he bears the “Apollonian”
spirit, the classic, “solar” spirit; while Semitic man is the merchant, the
nomad, the invader, bearer of obscure “Telluric” cults and of a
sensualistic-individualistic religion.” (38)

Scaligero uses theosophical and anthroposophical terminology throughout the
article, and declares that the rightful role of the “Aryan peoples” is
“world conquest and the consolidation of colonial hegemony.” (40) Invoking
the German-Italian axis, Scaligero celebrates the “two fundamental sub-races
of the Aryan stock” (indeed this entire issue of the periodical is
“dedicated to the two races of the Axis”). Scaligero’s closing paragraph
reads:

“It is these Italian racial values with their perennial character, whether
in the sense of civilization or in a strict biological sense, that are
resurfacing in the heroic spiritual climate of the Great War and of the
Fascist Revolution: today, through the new racist action, they provide
impulses toward the fertile union of the Aryan sub-races for the unified and
integral reconstitution of the ancient inextinguishable “solar” race.” (40)


Massimo Scaligero, “Fine di una civiltà e nascita di una razza” [The End of
a Civilization and the Birth of a Race], La Vita Italiana, January 1940 pp.
32-39, calls for “a battle against materialism” (36) and argues that a
combination of “the idea of Fascism” and “a new spirituality” offers the
promise of liberation from modern decadence:

“The present cultural world,” Scaligero continues, “is disintegrating and
collapsing, swallowed up by the emptiness on which it was founded. Therefore
it is necessary to keep in mind that just as a new spirituality, limited to
a very few in Europe, intuits the sense of crisis of the modern world and
re-identifies the values of the psyche and the original sources of the
active-contemplative forces, calmly measuring the boundless distance which
by now separates the various subraces from the original causes of the life
of the race as an achievement of the cosmos, a harmony of being and
becoming; on the other hand, an action concentrated in the idea of Fascism
is bursting forth as a revolt against the powers of blindness, as a reaction
against the myths crystallized into spiritual lethargy, as a will to rebirth
and reconstruction. The privileged center of the Mediterranean zone is the
stage for this struggle.” (37-38)

The closing paragraphs of the article read:

“For similar reasons it is clear that a people that intends not to suffer
the mechanical myth, while at the same time not forsaking – for obvious
reasons of equilibrium – the contributions of mechanical technology, must
turn toward the defense and veneration of those racial energies which alone
can guarantee the people’s resistance and the preservation of its element of
genius, the creative and primordial element referred to above. Only under
this condition, by exalting the innermost ethnic power, is it possible to
deal reasonably with this irrational complex of energies of the mechanized
world, and indeed render it an instrument of achievement of the heroic
spirit.   Whoever is still unable to comprehend the mission of the racist
ethic must begin to realize that this is the only force that can oppose the
enormous decadence of modern civilization, presaged in ancient traditions
which also speak of one unique race, of the ‘masters of destiny’, who alone
will survive the end of this cycle.” (39)


Massimo Scaligero, “Limiti alla comprensione del problema razzista” [Limits
to the Comprehension of the Racist Problem], La Vita Italiana, September
1941 pp. 255-263, posits an integral connection between “biological
evolution” and “the evolution of the spirit” (256). Scaligero describes “the
typically superior or Aryan race, the avant-garde of a great marching army,”
as the racial group which “expresses in itself the potential of evolution.”
The Aryan race is “the race that can consider itself the model of
humankind,” the race in which “the formative forces of the Divine most fully
manifest their creative will.” Hence the Aryans represent those spiritual
forces that are fit to “direct the vital and physical energies of
humankind.” (257)

Scaligero explains that a proper synthesis of the spiritual and the
biological can “overcome the dualism of spirit and matter that characterizes
the Telluric-lunar cultures and especially Jewish culture.” (261) “Therefore
only racist action, in its most harmonic undertaking, can express in plastic
and living forms the transcendent universality.” (262) Emphasizing “the
spiritual power of race, ”Scaligero declares that “while the spirit exists
in the blood of man, the spirit of the race exists in the blood of the
collective.” (263)


Massimo Scaligero, “Funzione occidentale della nuova civiltà
romano-germanica” [The Occidental Function of the New Romano-Germanic
Civilization], La Vita Italiana, February 1941, pp. 152-157, celebrates the
alliance between Italian Fascism and German National Socialism as the
achievement of “a new race of the spirit” (153). The military victories of
Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany “undoubtedly carry the values of a universal
spirituality destined to remake the world” (154). Insisting on the
hierarchical nature of all true spiritual frameworks, Scaligero argues that
the new universal fascist spirituality “repeats the differential character
and the harmonic distinctions corresponding to the scale of values of
physical and spiritual evolution.” (156) The closing paragraph reads:

“But the victory of the totalitarian principle of Fascism and National
Socialism through the force of arms reveals to the world something that goes
beyond the meaning of immediate events: the necessity of breaking the
sectarian limits on the establishment of a principle of European
universalism, behind which lies the power of all universalism, the same
divine motif. The collapse of the old Europe in a crash of iron and fire
does not signify a quest for a new materialist welfare by those who still
have not learned harsh and holy sacrifice, but a spiritual integration of
the forces deflected from one identical occidental civilization and one
unique Aryan race, and therefore the advent of a Romano-Germanic
spirituality that can really restore to man the vision of the sacred and the
eternal.” (157)


Peter Staudenmaier

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