Reading on Thursday 16 February

I’m going to preface what I am about to write by stating plainly, for those who might not know me, that I have absolutely no sympathy for the ideas of Steve Bannon whatsoever.  Ok, disclaimer out the way, I think this NYT makes a somewhat shaky link between Bannon and the works of Italian fascist Julius Evola (who my phone keeps trying to autocorrect to “ebola”, which is appropriate given how much of a virulent little man he was).

Part of the link seems to be that Bannon knows Evola’s work.  If that is all it takes to be influenced by him and be a fascist, then I must be one – which comes as quite a shock I can tell you…… 

I have mentioned before Umberto Eco’s signs of fascism and that it is vital not to confuse fascism and nazism.  In fact, it is probably better to look at Italian fascists as a comparison for the alt right.  However, don’t read Evola’s books to get an insight into “the enemy’s mind”.  His writing is so turgid that you will want to stick pins in your eyes.  Not sure which offends me more, his ideas or his writing.  I have a strong sense that it is the latter, which probably says more about me than him!

Aside number one – in an article about this article, Tyler Cowen made a plea for someone to write about the influence on the so called alt right of mystical thinking (much like the fascists they are the intellectual heirs of).

Aside number two – Interestingly, the article also mentions Alexander Dugin and his view that European traditionalists “need” Russia.  This sort of Third Rome Russia-exceptionalist thinking dominated the pan-slavic movement in the 19th century.  Was Dugin really inspired by Evola or is he drawing on a parallel strain of neo-reactionary traditionalism?

One of the most basic lessons about networking is that it isn’t about meeting more and more people and making a superficial impression on them.  It is fundamentally about building relationships.  Ivan Misner writes here about his three-step approach to following up after you meet someone for the first time.  Good advice.

I’ve written before on the importance of everyone trying to write better (or, as Julius Evola’s crappy writing would suggest, we end up as fascists.  Is that really what you want?).  One way to do this is to listen to advice from people who know is what they are talking about.  This article on sentence structure by the good people at Doris and Bertie is well worth a read.

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