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Lecture: ‘Neofascist traditionalism – a rational delusion?’ by Nikolaj Nottelmann
Neofascist traditionalism – a rational delusion?
Nikolaj Nottelmann is an associate professor at the University of Southern Denmark.
Location: Hybrid (VU Amsterdam & Zoom)
Time: 3.30-5 p.m. CET Amsterdam
Modern political reality harbors a paradox. Since WWII, liberal democracy has secured an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity in the “Western” world. Yet, groups opposed to the modern “Western” value system continue to gain ground. Some such fractions are mere hooligans, cynics or nihilists. Others seem driven only by an amorphous resentment of the status quo. Yet, East and West some opponents of liberal democracy seem genuinely motivated by belief in a specific 20th century ideology, travelling in various forms under names such as “traditionalism” or “right-eurasianism”. Allegedly, this ideology in part inspired Putin’s recent attack on Ukraine. And it was a driving force behind Steve Bannon’s successful efforts to have Donald Trump elected US president. It is easy to hold one’s nose and dismiss this ontology of supra-individual spirits as delusional, and its moral exaltation of samurai warriors, jihadists, and Mongolian warlords as a puerile provocation. Yet, I argue, we underestimate this phenomenon, if we do not probe its rational foundations. In this talk, I will offer a brief introduction to the core tenets of the more influential versions of traditionalism, and discuss to which extent their adherents may rationally embrace their specific brand of anti-modernity.