BY: Flavio Ferraro*
Translated BY: Costantino Ceoldo
PEJOURNAL – In some right-wing circles, what to say if you want identitarian or conservative, in the aftermath of each terrorist attack we witness the usual script, in favour of the crusaders of nowhere: in addition to defining with the word “Islamic” criminal actions that have nothing to do with Islam (such as the recent horrible events in Vienna), thunderous appeals are launched to highlight the incompatibility of the Islamic religion with “our values”. Now, if this happened in the ranks of progressives, no one would be surprised; but that all this happens among those who – at least in words – stand up in defense of traditional values leaves nothing short of stunned.
First of all, what are the values of the West today? Abortion in the ninth month of pregnancy? The clinics where the sex of eight-year-olds is changed? The eugenic and transhumanist practices that are increasingly making their way into the so-called civilized countries, where now we openly speak of the elderly and the disabled as lives not worthy of being cared for? The virtualization of society and human relationships, to the sound of smart working, distance learning, cybersex?
Today, more than ever, it is necessary to be conservative, but it is necessary to be clear not only what is worth preserving, but above all to understand whether in the current conditions in which Europe finds itself there is something to defend and pass on.
In fact, we very often realize that behind the traditionalist rhetoric of these new crusaders there is a strenuous attachment to the values of modernity, that is, individualism, secularism, materialism in all of its forms. We appeal to the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, democracy, liberalism to the point of recently claiming an alleged right to blasphemy disguised as freedom of expression (which, of course, does not apply when it comes to the “protected” categories of the single thought).
On the other hand, Islam is recognized as a fanatical, obscurantist and intolerant religion, without realizing that the tragedies of our time are the consequence of centuries of materialism, centuries that have seen an inexorable oblivion of the sacred and of every link with the traditional vision.
Modern man, and even more so postmodern man, has emancipated himself solely from the forma humanitatis, coming to conceive ideologies and ways of life that traditional civilizations could only imagine for the most brutal and elementary forms of existence. The world become adult – to use the idea of Bonhoeffer – is only decrepit and dying, because it has uprooted its roots and therefore can only go adrift, devoid of a center as it is. What we call emancipation is nothing more than the progressive atrophy of the intellectual faculties, a dulling that has reduced us to live “on bread alone”, in a world that is literally insignificant and orphan of beauty.
Of course, no one wants to deny that Islam – like all religions – is not affected by phenomena of degeneration and does not experience conflicts and contradictions within it, since if the essence of a spiritual tradition is unalterable and outside the grasp of historical contingencies, its external forms cannot escape the cyclical decay that characterizes everything. However, the fact remains that those who recognize themselves in traditional values and aspire to preserve them, cannot see an enemy in those who pray and remember God five times a day, in those who fast, in those who strive to conform their life to principles of peace, truth and justice, in those who see the signs of the Creator in everything.
If anything, the enemy should be that set of subversive forces that are disfiguring man, to the point of making him unrecognizable, reaching the point of longing for the advent of the posthuman. Which have handed over the fate of peoples to rating agencies, to the whims of the financial market, to the dogma of economic austerity. Which destroys identities, cultures, traditions every day, to sacrifice everything on the altar of commodification and homologation.
Those who appeal to tradition should form a common front against such forces and not feel hostility towards those who live and practice the tradition every day. And understand that if there is something to save, it is certainly not the world that the media, the giants of techno-capitalism and the intellectual-influencers in the payroll of big capital define the best (as well as the only) of all possible worlds. One cannot oppose the madness of what Michel Onfray rightly defined progressive nihilism, and at the same time stand up as defenders of those ideologies that represent its origin.
If we have reached the point where we can speak – as if it were the most normal thing in the world and as we find prophesied in the darkest dystopian novels – of artificial uterus, surrogacy, the buying and selling of children and eggs, at the end of the need, as the most “enlightened” circles are clamoring, to desacralize life and the human body and considering the latter an object among others susceptible to being manipulated and “improved”, it is precisely because the West is prey to an irrepressible cupio dissolvi, which has led it to embrace ideologies enemy of life, beauty and truth, as well as of the sacred.
Aware of the fact that man, as Dostoevsky reminds us, “cannot live without kneeling in front of something. If man rejects God, he kneels before an idol. We are all idolaters, not atheists”.
*Original column by Flavio Ferraro: