Note from the Editors: This essay is part I of an online symposium on D’Annunzio, Nietzsche and Bronze Age Pervert. Read part II, here, and part III, here.
Nietzsche’s Antidote for the West’s Sickness of the Will
“An island of wonders that was to travel the oceans, taking its shining light to the continents drowning in the darkness of brutal capitalist speculation… this group of enlightened men, fanatics, mystic forerunners, managed to conjure up that atmosphere of passion for the future and poetic rebellion against the old faiths and ancient formulas that has been given the name of fiumanism.“
— Mario Carli, With D’Annunzio in Fiume
Fiume, 1920. The acrid smoke of Italian artillery colliding with earth and brick fills the air. Black-clad legionnaires slip into the sea and the hinterlands. D’Annunzio’s enchanted fief and its primordial visions of grandeur and ritual have died.
Gabriele D’Annunzio, Italian nationalist, war hero, Nietzschean and poet, annexed and ruled the small, Mediterranean, Fiume for one year. The Kingdom of Italy traded away the ethnically Italian city after the first World War, incensing Italian nationalists. D’Annunzio’s ‘Endeavor of Fiume’, saw music formalized as the life of the state, with nightly poetry reading, balcony oratory, and marches in the street.
Over the last couple of months, three events brought the West’s sickness of the will into focus. Twitter janissaries shut down the account of Twitter personality Bronze Age Pervert (BAP). Shortly after, the Taliban emerged from their hermitage and, in a blitzkrieg revanche, reclaimed the entirety of their country. Meanwhile, Australia criminalized leaving one’s own house, and Western regimes pressed forward with evermore vaccine and mask mandates. Taken together, these events help illuminate why right-Nietzscheanism is a mortal threat not just to liberalism, but to the pan-ideological literati’s niche, luxury worldviews. Ultimately, they lead us back to Fiume. Not its stone and pavement, but its essence, “an island of wonders… of passion for the future and poetic rebellion.”
The musical spirit of art and action is what D’Annunzio, Nietzsche and Bronze Age Pervert offer the contemporary Right. It is this terpsichorean ideal that promises and threatens to cure the West’s sickness of the will, social conduits that enable and harness youth’s frenetic spirit.
Today, the Fiumian spirit is elusive. It cannot be found in cinema, concert halls, or any lodging in regime space with even a veneer of respectability. D’Annunzio’s conquest, music’s sirenic call to art, action, and primordial overcoming, can be found only in one place…
“Not the corruption of man, but the softening and moralizing of him is the curse.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power
Nietzsche’s specter, pixelated and preserved in the tanned back of BAP’s Twitter avi, looms over ‘the discourse’. Many conservatives, liberals, and esoteric ideologues revile and bemoan Nietzsche and his influence. Occasionally, they attempt to distort him for their own ends. But, regardless of how many ‘Catholic post-Left radical-feminist-syndicalists’, Nietzsche’s thought is eternally debated and deconstructed, and it can be generally understood to say this: egalitarianism and moralism stunt modern aesthetics and glories, prevent fledgling great men from ‘becoming who they are’ and, in doing so, drags society into ugly senescence.
In keeping with Nietzsche’s general reception, BAP draws the ire of both the establishment press as well as many of the Internet’s niche fandom ideologies. Shortly before his banning, he engaged in an illustrative two-front war against both ‘radical feminists’ and erstwhile social conservatives. BAP’s contention is that the West’s marriage crisis is fundamentally an issue of incentives, with modern marriage culture and law disfavoring men by refusing the patriarchal structures necessary not only to convince men to marry but to preserve society. His unsanitized analysis of marriage’s social logic and circumstance positioned both opposing factions as clinging to abstractions of abstractions, severed from action and nature.
In the efforts of both radical feminists and social conservatives to create ‘total systems’, they ignore the litigious reality of marriage as is, preferring to hand-wave cultural renewal as a solution rather than face modern marriage’s dour reality. For the latter especially, it is an attempt to rethread a broken tradition amid total deterritorialization, ignoring that “traditions arise in response to primal situations,” per BAP. Patrimony and patriarchy was, for elite and common man alike, the primary allure of institutional marriage, and a profoundly gynocratic regime has obscured and warped the sexes’ natural relationship to one another. It is against this Regime, and its demonization of masculinity, that the Taliban’s victory comes to the fore. As with the Western collapse of marriage, the Taliban represent the real world reasserting itself against the clouds of faux erudition that smother and blind liberalism.
“‘Look,’ Mucius cried, ‘and learn how lightly those regard their bodies who have some great glory in view.’ Then he plunged his right hand into a fire burning on the altar.”
— Titus Livius, The History of Rome
The average Taliban fighter is the anti-bugman par excellence. They are willful, possessed by nationalist and religious fervor, determined to master their surroundings. An ethnically homogenous group of men shattered the presumptions and abstractions of the Regime. With rudimentary weaponry, they rejected the American Empire’s attempt to make Afghanis yet another fungible unit in the global bazaar. The Taliban fighter is, like Nietzsche, more ‘dynamite’, than man, accordingly destroying the sacred cows and illusions poisoning his people.
Even in the profoundly unmusical Taliban, young Pashtuns warriors twirl and laugh throughout their occupier’s palaces and amusement parks. The Pashtun revanche stands in direct contrast to Australia’s bugman capitulation — and represents the same thymos which D’Annunzio’s conquests embodied a century earlier. The Taliban have escaped from owned space, and risen from mountain huts and valleys to master their surroundings in great feats of strength, cunning, and will.
Despite the NGO-occupiers’ best efforts to “browbeat them into how flipping burgers for McDonald’s will make them not want to conquer their nation,” as BAP put it in a recent podcast, the Pashtun still seized their patrimony and accordingly their freedom. Freedom from becoming a deracinated outpost in the globalist conglomerate’s Rainbow Road and anti-Islamic indoctrination. Freedom from Marcel Duchamp’s alien urinal dadaism. In refusing to be ruled and diminished, D’Annunzio and the Taliban alike evoke Scaevola, the aforementioned hero, who gladly gave his right hand for Rome’s honor. The desire to suffer greatly for a great cause has all but vanished from the contemporary Western man — and what little that is left is being cleared root and branch by the medical religion. Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben strikes gold when he states “the two other Western religions — the religion of Christ and the religion of money — have surrendered their primacy to medicine and science, apparently without a fight.” One question naturally arises. If Mammon, our great enemy, and the Church, our mother, are shrugging under the weight of the new Covidian world, where can we draw the manly succor and strength required to win?
“Chimp in state of nature never jerks off, but in captivity he does, wat does this mean?”
— Bronze Age Pervert, Bronze Age Mindset
In a desperate attempt to achieve ‘Zero Covid’ and pay tribute to the medical religion, the Australian government has put its people under house arrest. Some are forced to send timed selfies, tokens of their obedience, via government apps. The Westerner is being habitualized into dreary docility. Some commentators, such as Quillette‘s Claire Lehmann, have claimed the measures are overstated, or alternatively they represent Australia’s stoic care for the commonweal in the face of selfish American individualism. A healthy amount of perspectivism is necessary to understand far-off political occurrences, to be sure. However, liberalism’s structure is so gratingly uniform across its host countries that this apologia rings hollow. Governing for the common good does not mean accepting slavery for the comfort of every corpulent blob on the continent. Some Australians nobly resist, and are subject to military-style assaults.
The reason some of the most draconian and anti-life measures in Western history remain in place is that, for many, they don’t mark a major change in lifestyle or feeling. Life inside the home, inside the matriarchal longhouse, is already controlled, micromanaged, fat, and easy. The same screens provide the same entertainment. Westerners exist in a mental TRON, riding lines on the grid, enveloped by pixels and unreality. Imagine a West where every man had trained himself on ‘sun and steel’, and who heeded Nietzsche when he said “become who you are!”. This desire and ability to expand, to roam freely, to unclip from the grid, is true agency. Today, this drive toward Nietzschean overcoming is found in two places: in the heat of a brawl, and in the nightclub.
Even in something as asinine as a bar fight, it is possible to tap into the same struggling against great odds. Putting your right hand into altar-fire is a soaring liberation. It is an escape from life’s mundane bandwidth, a leap into action and ego. Intermediary institutions channeling the natural urge to conflict and overcoming are dissolving, and the nanny state punishes even the mildest confrontations. It is this soporific miasma that is currently smothering the Anglosphere’s former colonists and adventurers. Most in the West have never experienced the feeling of escape, of the true freedom that comes from will and mastery, from dancing with Terpsichore, from BAP’s “piratical spirit of aristocracy.” As he says, there are portals… nightclubs… through which we may glimpse Fiume, and rediscover atavism, overcoming, and instinct.
“Every rebirth is a lyric force, every sentiment that is common, a potential lyric; music, the language of ritual, has power, above all else, to exalt the achievement and the life of man.”
— Gabriele D’Annunzio, Charter of Carnaro
The growing popularity of right-Nietzscheanism is a mortal threat to the Regime because it summons realities purely from the realm of aesthetics. (Granted, BAP is an online intellectual figure, but his readership is disproportionally widespread and influential, and the movement he charts is returning in broad strokes of feeling and resistance inured from any intellectualized need.) D’Annunzio harnessed this same impulse when he annexed Fiume and embarked on his great endeavor. In Fiume, life of the state was inseparable from music, fulfilling Nietzsche’s long silent thought-dreams. The blackshirts’ march was their dance, their poetry both sonnets and violence. Men of this kind are today found in fetid corners, dancing under strobing lights, pining for vitality. As the Taliban dance through bumper car arenas, palaces, and the streets and hills which are now theirs, the Westerner is digging under dim red lights, excavating gin rubble, gyrating treasure hunters desperate for something heavy. This sublimated desire is unleashed in the symphonies of Beethoven, the frenetic edits of frog Twitter, and most of all, in the nightclub.
Nightclubs are hidden pockets of hard-right bacchanalia. Here, in the press and huddle, egalitarianism is an impossibility. As overpriced Finnlandia seduces and melts the ice in your cup, you experience, for a moment, the freedom and vigor that is best in man. The man that will restart history is chasing, dancing, laughing, glimpsing Terpsichore in wineskins, and dreaming of heat – not tucking in for a restful Friday night.
As I wrote last year for Athwart in a piece called “Sonic Futurism,” in which I discussed the interconnectivity of pop and liberalism and of music and regime types generally:
“Attempting to slyly distribute illiberal messaging via pop hedonia’s framework is impossible. As an extension of capital, pop is ‘profoundly illiterate’. What it says is much less powerful than what it shows. Pop’s rhythm, beats, and visuals are all integral to its influence. Modernity is above all an age of aesthetics, and a pop replacement will have to communicate along these lines, convincing without argument — persuading by aural and optical experience.”
The first sentence was profoundly naive. David Guetta’s remix of Marcha Peronista is a wordless rebuttal to this idea. But words are not necessary. The dark, driving bass instills in its audience the spirit of the march: aggression, struggle, and victory. This is what the Regime, the literati, and the bugman fears. To dance with Terpsichore is to be the sire of feeling, restoring it to the world. In his concert, Guetta brought young thousands to their feet with Juan Peron’s anthem. The youth dance to labor nationalist-infused rhythms. They lose themselves to a song which, in print, reads:
“Perón, Perón, how great you are!
My general, how worthy you are!
Perón, Perón, our great leader,
You are the first worker!
Because of the social principles
That Perón has established,
The people are united
And singing their hearts out:
Long live Perón! Long live Perón!“
Aesthetics, fighting, and the nightclub, this triad of ash and midnight, is enough to shake the sleeping spirit of man into new vital action, if even just for a moment. Nietzsche’s claim that “the falseness of an opinion is not for us any objection to it: it is here, perhaps, that our new language sounds most strangely. The question is, how far an opinion is life-furthering, life-preserving, species-preserving, perhaps species-rearing,” may be extended as well to sensation. The context in which a sensation is encountered is not for us any objection to it. If the nightclub is species-breeding, we should welcome it. If the nightclub strikes a mortal blow to equity’s poison, we should join the fray. If the nightclub stimulates some simulacrum of art and action, we must be its midwives. For those rightists that disdain mass politics and culture, know that it is here to stay. Our Regime will not be toppled by the concert hall alone. As ever, it is the one and the many versus the few.