Against Vulgar Tourism, but for ‘Elective Affinities’

“This is Art, as it now fills the entire civilized world! Its true essence is Industry; its ethical aim, the gaining of gold; its aesthetic purpose, the entertainment of those whose time hangs heavily on their hands. From the heart of our modern society, from the golden calf of wholesale Speculation, stalled at the meeting of its cross-roads, our art sucks forth its life-juice, borrows a hollow grace from the lifeless relics of the chivalric conventions of mediaeval times, and—blushing not to fleece the poor, for all its professions of Christianity—descends to the depths of the proletariate, enervating, demoralising, and dehumanising everything on which it sheds its venom.”

–          Richard Wagner, Art and Revolution

 

“The Nine Free Cities are the daughters of Valyria that was, but Braavos is the bastard child who ran away from home.”                                               – The Kindly Man to Arya Stark

 

I cringe when people tell me they are travelling to Italy. They smile at me, often middle aged professionals, like they are sharing something of mine and that it is mine to give and theirs to appreciate unequivocally, and that this arrangement of “eating the other” as bell hooks termed it, is reciprocal and self-evidently regarded as good. I usually look away, shift uneasily, try to change the topic of discussion, but what I want to say is “fuck off, get your own beauty, there’s not enough to go around and you spoil it for us.” As the Jewish diaspora are given free trips to a country they stole, “birthright,” is a privilege available to the Tribe, but who can blame them for maintaining superior ethnic consciousness, cohesiveness and internal charity? As opposed to a member of the various ethnic groups of the European diaspora who has no touristic advantages in this regard, if an ethnic Italian wants to visit Rome? A Frenchman wants to visit Paris? A German wants to reconnect with his Rhineland-roots, well that will be the same price as the Jap tourist snapping photos of the Eiffel Tower or the Coliseum, or the Berlin brothel – and far too often the same commercial form of tourism for each, the same devouring commercialism, despite the sentiment.

George Orwell who was well aware of the impending reality of tourism and what he termed the “pleasure city” wrote in an essay from 1946 that “It is difficult not to feel that the unconscious aim in the most typical modern pleasure resorts is a return to the womb. For there, too, one was never alone, one never saw daylight, the temperature was always regulated, one did not have to worry about work or food, and one’s thoughts, if any, were drowned by a continuous rhythmic throbbing…” and that, “…much of what goes by the name of pleasure is simply an effort to destroy consciousness.”[i]

Travelling in East Asia I was appalled by the dual sets of prices for locals and tourists alike to places like national parks – are they so unenlightened as to give themselves privileges in their countries, do they not yet realize that the dollar is unbiased? Why a New Yorker pays the same as a Zambian to go to the MET, as well as a Chinaman pays the same as each. For the European diaspora travelling to Europe should be pilgrimage, it should be a journey rather than a trip, but also it should be a privilege.

Every so often a liberal mouthpiece such as the New York Times,[ii] or the BBC,[iii] will run an article disparaging the detrimental effects of mass tourism on our European homeland, often some vague lament about the commercialism of modernity given without a hint of solution. Very often the rich cultural tapestry of my own heritage forms the subject matter. Italy is one of the world’s top travel destinations, has been for decades, if not centuries.

surpriseproposalonvenicegondola
Brown Vulgar Tourists

 

Inclusions of the Other, betray what a healthy, autarkic, organic community should be,[iv] not the globalized vision of mass vulgar tourism and transnational migration that the world has become, whereby the nation state functions as a shell for capitalism, rather than the reverse. Italian fascism understood that a certain kind of tourism is emasculating, “For having overcome the age-old awe of the foreigner who for centuries was able to roam at will pillaging our country, at having shaken off a certain sense of inferiority with regard to other Europeans.”[v] Fascism was about pride in oneself which was diminished by the experience of a certain loss of it from foreigners looking to gorge on its delicate corpse, but this was the European foreigner of yesteryear, which pales in comparison to the humiliation of the Other tourists of today. In so far as a journey is an archetypal symbol, tourism is travel with a superficial or consumptive journey. The luminaries of those journeys of yesteryears were Nietzsche’s ‘Good Europeans,’ making a pilgrimage to what Goethe called, “the capital of the world,” by which he meant Western Civilization – among the two previously mentioned were Yeats, Gibbons, James, Pound, Stendhal, Byron, Dumas, etc. whose pilgrimage bore fruitful inspiration, available only to the select few, those who understood the Civilizational importance of Rome, at times perhaps more so than the natives themselves. However, the sentiment expressed by Judi Dench’s character in the film adaptation of E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View (1985), when she haughtily says “they’re all peasants,” articulated the condescending underbelly of this journey to the South at least when it became more widely available, bourgeois and fashionable. As the backdrop of the ‘exotic’ locale reduced the nation itself to a vehicle for English dalliance; regarding and regulating the Italians themselves to the backdrop of the story; there is, of course, a historical coincidence herein, whereby the power of the world shifted from the South to the North of Europe around the Seventeenth Century – a movement that fascism sought to balance.

el_beso_pinacoteca_de_brera_milan_1859
Il bacio (The Kiss) Francesco Hayez, 1859. The girl’s pale blue dress signifies France and the man’s clothes signify the tricolor of the Italian flag.

Of particular noteworthiness has been the impending and ongoing destruction of the city of Venice. The population of Venice has declined by almost 2/3rds in the last 60 years.[vi] With over two billion dollars annually arriving from tourism, the fatal embrace, like Wotan’s lust for gold in Das Rheingold, is tragically self-defeating. It is estimated that around 20 million visitors go to Venice annually – but why are they there?[vii] Perhaps the most pervasive of these pleasure seeking sensually craving mongers is the nouvelle riche flood of Chinese tourists and buyers who are snatching up businesses, luxury villas and other real estate in Tuscany, Milan, Rome and Venice. Other distressed European countries like Cyprus, Spain, Greece and Portugal are also focal points of personal and private Asian investment.[viii] The Chinese have even begun replacing time-honored and authentic traditions, such as the manufacturing of carnival masks, “At one time it would have been illegal to say a Chinese mask was Venetian under the trades description act. However, the Chinese manufacturers have fund (sic) a way round this by setting up a factory in Venice itself. Now they are mass producing their masks in the heart of Venice they are legally allowed to call them Venetian masks.”[ix]  Hence, purchasing power goes beyond the mere vulgarly touristic and the degrading of the city into a work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction, but deeper still into one of selling off the very inheritance of a culture and civilization itself, of selling its soul. Venice is an illustrative hyper-example of the overwhelming plight of all of Western Civilization, now being plundered from below by non-European refuges and economic migrants, and above by these vulture super rich Asiatic gorgers who feed on the corpses of our culture. As the late Jonathan Bowden once put it in his Western Civilization Bites Back, 1/3 of the global population outside of the West would like to live within the West, even the “fuerdai” the second generation of rich Chinese, who are sent to the West for education end up wanting to stay.[x] Indeed if this number is close to correct, this is a staggering number of people, who, given the option would like your home to be theirs also. The impact of this massive influx of Asiatic and African hordes not only means the marginalization and relativizing of your history and traditions, but also the dispossession and displacement of them and oneself. The insane housing bubble in Vancouver[xi] brought about by Chinese investment, speculation and immigration is in this regard, is no different from the destruction wrought upon the Venetians, wherein rents skyrocket to capitalize on the very thing that is killing it and turning it into an ersatz and inauthentic Disneyland version of itself. “The owner of one of the finest small restaurants in the city, with no more than 50 seats, told me his rent was 18,000 euros (about $25,000) a month. That’s $800 a day in rent, or more than $15 a person, assuming the restaurant was full and there was only one seating.”[xii]

elective-affinities-19331
Elective Affinities, Rene Margritte. 1933.

 

 

The tourist bomb is only the echo accompanying the globalist tsunami, following Fordism, of the creation of markets and consumers for goods by securing itself a massive consumer base through enriching the Third World, at the expense of our own working classes and the expense of a bold European Aristocracy available to every member of the European family – suzerains of the earth. Post-WWII the quality of life in the Anglosphere was in a Golden Age, the idea of mutual cooperation through economic prosperity was the driving force behind the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, especially Germany, England and Italy following the war, additionally it seemed more humane than the Morgenthau Plan and also more prosperous.[xiii] Sometime during the Cold War, this plan began to create an Oriental Frankenstein Monster, slotted bolts rather than Allen. The long-term effects to the naïve must have seemed improbable to the short-term gains for the international capitalists, plus it seemed more civilized than MacArthur’s solution to nuke the chinks back into the Stone Age.[xiv] Was a third option available, somewhere between the death and destruction and the sales and smiles of merchant interaction? The two options presented cooperation by two distinct means one by “authentic” and honest over-lording versus cooperation by “inauthentic” exchange of goods and services – (“inauthentic” because one group could easily colonize and take from the other), this dichotomy left little room for a third option. However the Identarian idea presents a third option, somewhat summarized and hinted at in the conclusion of the New York Times article on the touristic destruction of Venice: “If Italy is to spare Venice from further violation by the new plague devouring its beauty and collective memory, it must first review its overall priorities and, abiding by its own Constitution, place cultural heritage, education and research before petty business.”[xv] This is the language of a politics and cooperation based on identity, or “elective affinities” to use Goethe’s romantic notion of the phrase but also an adapted usage of it by Max Weber. Weber burrowed the term as an alternative “to mechanistic causalism and quasi-organological functionalism.”[xvi] Rather than this precise usage, quasi-organological functionalism, will be adapted from a Nietzschean interpretation of its linguistic parts, ‘quasi-organic’ representing the natural state of war as domination of one over the other, this state of barbarism had to be submerged under the blossoming of reasoning capabilities. Functionalism representing the compulsion to the organic roles associated with that of master and servant (Hegel writing from an Enlightenment position sees this as ‘inauthentic’ expression of human beings in relation to each other the opposite for Nietzsche). In this usage quasi-organological functionalism is well described by another Orwellian short essay entitled Shooting an Elephant, in which a colonial officer is expected by Burmese villagers to shoot an elephant that had earlier rampaged through a village. The officer and does so, painfully killing it against his moral judgment because of that pressure put upon him by the expectation of himself as the authority. The story is regarded as a metaphor for British imperialism, and for Orwell’s view that “when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys,”[xvii] taking the Hegelian position on mastery. Thus, the ‘white man’ was forced to choose between Kipling’s burden of philanthropic and self-serving market creation, or the painful obliteration of the Other, like Orwell’s shooting of the elephant. The Identarian Movement finally offers the third way of a politics based on “elective affinities.” The political application of ‘elective affinities,’ draws out the dichotomy and creates the Hegelian dialectic in which the community and the individual can become “pure being-for-itself.”[xviii] Not for the gluttonous conspicuous consumption of others, but instead as a contemplative testament to oneself and one’s own nature and cultural heritage, thus gifting Venice back unto herself means giving her back to her people, so that she might again become authentic. As Venice is sinking into “A rapacious tourist monoculture,” that threatens it’s “existence, decimating the historic city and turning the Queen of the Adriatic into a Disneyfied shopping mall,”[xix] so goes the whole of the West. Mass immigration and mass tourism are both linked to the same “false song of globalism” as Donald Trump proclaimed, to the same non-politics of the ‘open society,’ to the cuckoldry of subservient service industry economies who have sold out their own people by outsourcing their wealth for a few extra shekels and a new world order based on endless and mindless consumption – to a rapacious ‘global’ monoculture. The inability for the liberal media to draw out the logical conclusions against such forces towards a new political, economic and immigration system based on ‘elective affinities,’ betrays its own disregard for our civilization. We must as the New York Times article reads, “place cultural heritage… before petty business.” We must embrace a social ontology based on historical ‘elective affinities’ and a tourism based on the elevation and connection with our roots. The West is our cultural heritage not their stomping grounds, not their resort, nor their restaurant,t nor the backdrop for their selfies, not their vehicle for economic mobility and social programs. So fuck off and get your own beauty!

 

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Italia und Germania, Johann Friedrich Overbeck, 1828.

 

 

[i] An excerpt from the essay “Pleasure Spots” has hauntingly accurate descriptions of Las Vegas and other pleasure spots today (replacing Coleridge’s “forests” with the “desert” of Nevada): “the sacred river, would be dammed up to make an artificially-warmed bathing pool, while the sunless sea would be illuminated from below with pink electric lights, and one would cruise over it in real Venetian gondolas each equipped with its own radio set. The forests and ‘spots of greenery’ referred to by Coleridge would be cleaned up to make way for glass-covered tennis courts, a bandstand, a roller-skating rink and perhaps a ninehole golf course. In short, there would be everything that a ‘lifehungry’ man could desire.”

[ii] http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/30/opinion/can-we-save-venice-before-its-too-late.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=1

[iii] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-19498631

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01lfd8s

[iv] The dichotomy of Tonnies’ Gemeinschaft (community) vs Gesellschaft (society) is indeed relevant here.

[v] Griffin, Roger. Fascism. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. 39. Print.

[vi] http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01lfd8s

[vii] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-19498631

[viii] http://www.italy24.ilsole24ore.com/art/real-estate/2015-10-12/cinesi-131344.php?uuid=ACu7WfEB

[ix] https://www.masquerademasksshop.co.uk/blog/read_131371/authentic-venetian-masks-and-the-chinese-invasion.html

[x] http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2015-10-01/children-of-the-yuan-percent-everyone-hates-china-s-rich-kids and http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/02/22/chinas-rich-kids-head-west

[xi] http://www.eurocanadian.ca/2016/02/vancouver-does-not-have-affordable-housing-crisis-but-immigration-crisis.html and http://www.eurocanadian.ca/2016/02/henry-yu-canada-must-become-asian-to-overcome-white-supremacism.html and http://www.eurocanadian.ca/2015/08/vancouver-for-sale-asian-money-and-home-affordability-for-canadians.html and http://www.eurocanadian.ca/2016/08/chinese-multiculturalism-in-richmond-bc.html

[xii] http://www.italy24.ilsole24ore.com/art/real-estate/2015-10-12/cinesi-131344.php?uuid=ACu7WfEB

[xiii] http://en.metapedia.org/wiki/Morgenthau_Plan

[xiv] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_Truman%27s_relief_of_General_Douglas_MacArthur

[xv] http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/30/opinion/can-we-save-venice-before-its-too-late.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=1

[xvi] Howe, Richard Herbert. “Max Weber’s Elective Affinities: Sociology Within the Bounds of Pure Reason.” American Journal of Sociology 84.2 (1978): 366-85. Web. Taken in this sense, ‘mechanistic causalism’ is the fatalistic tendency to regard the world as machine moved along by causality for which human will is subjected, in this sense globalism and mass immigration is the natural and only possible avenue available because of prior stages of development in ideology including technological advancement in the transportation of goods, services and peoples – this is the Hegelian tendency which gives way to ‘the end of history’ theorists. ‘Quasi-organological functionalism,’ again adapted for this inquiry, would represent the other pole of annihilation and extermination of the enemy (Morgenthau/MacArthur). Though Weber’s usage of quasi-organological functionalism was as an alternative to the sociological school of Herbert Spencer, in which parts of a society, like an organism function to conceive the whole (‘comparative advantages’ of individual components: doctors existing to heal farmers who provide food but also applied to institutions ‘hospitals’ and ‘farms’).

[xvii] Orwell, George. “Shooting an Elephant”, The Literature Network, accessed April 17, 2011.

[xviii] Phenomenology of Spirit, 86.

[xix] http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/30/opinion/can-we-save-venice-before-its-too-late.html?_r=0

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