The Temptation of Perennialism
Perennialism, put into layman’s terms, is the error of believing that all religions carry a primordial tradition that points back to God and are ultimately willed by God. For some time, I have wanted to do an exposé on this error that I fear many on the right fall into, because it seems to colorize much of newer right-wing thinking.
Many have heard the names of Rene Guenon or Julius Evola, with their thought being characterized as the simple maxim “return to tradition”. These men believed that there was a tradition reflected in most religions that men had to recapture to reach a sort of spiritual transcendence, and they differed on what religion that was. For Guenon, it was Islam, although he was sympathetic to the Catholic Church, and for Evola it was paganism. Both Guenon and Evola chose to uphold these satanic religions because they believed they were the best reflection of this “perennial” tradition that all religions contained in some fashion. Guenon even once wrote about how he thought that the Catholic Church was the only bulwark of traditionalism against the modern world. Now am I condemning the idea of tradition? Certainly not, for such a condemnation would warrant me being the worst kind of innovationist or radical, and these are titles I wish to have no association with. Rather, I am critiquing the question of exactly what tradition we are supposedly returning to. What is admirable about anything that carries a spirit of antiquity or tradition is ultimately the truth it reflects. The question man winds up pondering is “What is truth?”, as in, what is the exact truth that defines the fabric of existence. This is the thought that characterizes classical western philosophy, and the trail that ultimately leads to the revelation of the very reality we inhabit: Catholicism.
By pursuing truth, we are led to conclude that Logos, the Greek word for “meaning,” is Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and that the cosmological monarchy of God’s rule is reflected in the Petrine charism of the Catholic Church. To anyone who cares sincerely about the truth of our existence, this is the ultimately conclusion they will come to reach. However, for those who care about mere aesthetics, lights and shadows signifying nothing, they will be led down dark paths that separate them from the True Faith. Enter in a video I saw with the notorious apostate Jay Dyer, titled something to the effect of “Why Right-Wing dissidents are becoming Orthodox." (I believe the video has since been deleted, so I could not locate the actual title) Jay, of course, would affirm that the Eastern Schism(s) are the “One” True Faith, and thus right-wing dissidents are merely responding to this prompting of the heart by God and converting to the schism. However, when we take the clear Petrine evidence of the first millennium, including the understanding that the Chair of Peter would be unblemished forever and that Peter had authority overall the other four patriarchs in the pentarchy, we know that the Eastern Schism is in fact just lights and shadows of the One True Faith.
This does not only mention the various ecclesiological issues with the Eastern Schism or the fact that the Robber Council of Constantinople (1285) directly contradicts the unequivocal evidence for the filioque clause demonstrated by the Fathers of the Church, as documented by my good friend Dwong. I will leave my Eastern Schism polemics for another day, but the reason I bring up these facts is to demonstrate exactly the dark force that Satan is amassing to trick and confuse those on the dissident right. Satan uses aesthetics and the empty maxims of the perennialist heresy to trick otherwise well-meaning men into abandoning the True Faith for a false schism like the Eastern Separated Churches. Oftentimes the falsities of this schism will be cloaked in a plethora of phonk edits, aesthetic posts, and trendy memes to blind the eyes of young men instead of testing the claims of these separated Churches, which when put under pressure, fall apart easily.
How does this pertain to perennialism as outlined above? Julius Evola, one of the leading perennialist philosophers, quite admired the Eastern Schism for making Christianity more “nationalistic” and “ethnic." His meetings with prominent Romanian right-wing figure, Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, document his fervor for Codreanu’s Iron Guard movement. Evola loved the ethnophyletism component of the Eastern Schism and how it seemed to buck the trend of the “universalist” Catholic truth he had apostatized from. To be fair to Codreanu, based on his writings he was not of this sentiment and was a good right-wing ecumenist, sending his legions to fight the communists alongside Catholics in Spain, and even receiving the Eucharist in Catholic Churches in France when he was studying abroad.
Evola does, however, expose the fatal flaw of the Eastern Schism, which is based more on aesthetic qualities and surface level elements rather than any deeper truth that would prompt a soul to embrace Christ and His Church. Many on the right can unfortunately get lost in this kind of thinking that ultimately negates truth for mere surface level elements that create a false faith.
The “Return to Tradition” mindset can lead one down a path to any number of false religions, such as paganism, and ultimately make one’s life nothing more than a cardboard cutout of a particular type of image with no deeper transcendence of the soul to God. If we are to return to a tradition, let it be the tradition handed down orally from the Incarnate Word, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and safeguarded with the College of the Apostles and their Successors.
Let us confide our faith not in memes and based edits, but in every word that is uttered from the Lord’s Vicar, Peter the Coryphaeus of the Apostles who Christ, being the True Rock of the Church, gave the delegation to feed His sheep. This is the path of a true right winger, because the right was founded by men who put their Catholic Faith above everything else. Our movement in America First would be nothing without the labors of men like Joseph de Maistre, Louis de Bonald, Metternich, Edmund Burke (who many think was secretly Catholic), and many other illustrious men who wanted to recapture the Faith that created the splendor of the medieval era. Put your Catholic Faith above everything else, and you go down in history like these great men.September 3, 2022