The problem of the origins, the foundations and the future destiny of the global hegemony of the white race is, of course, among the most exciting issues of today. We have in our hands a newly published large volume by Wahrhold Drascher, who, thoroughly knowledgeable, comprehensively informed and with an acute historical sense, takes on precisely this subject (Die Vorherrschaft der weissen Rasse, Berlin, 1936). We shall provide an outline of his book, on account of the interest which, as we shall soon see, his views may have for Italian readers.
How was it possible for a group of peoples — bound to one another by only very relative ties — to subject the rest of the world to their will for centuries, involving the entire world in their own destiny? Many are tempted explain this unique event in world history in purely materialistic terms. Drascher, however, easily proves such explanations to be one-sided and inadequate. If it was only a matter of physical, military and technical superiority, it is, in fact, hardly conceivable how Cortez and Pizarro, along with only a handful of adventurers, succeeded in toppling gigantic empires, or how the English, with not even two hundred thousand men, have been able to keep no less than three hundred and fifty million Hindus at bay. Moreover, we must not confuse the latest phase of a dominion already organized on solid economic, administrative, military and, properly speaking, ”colonial” foundations, with the original forms of domination and conquest, conquests that were realized with no predetermined plan, and indeed even without any real economic intentions. The spirit of adventure, the love of risk and the unknown, the sheer pleasure of domination and predation, the desire for great distances were, more than any rational, mercantile, and utilitarian motive, at the origins of white expansion, and were inseparably bound to specific character traits: to a hard will, to coldness, to tenacity, to contempt for life and for death, to an unshakable feeling of superiority.
This is the first point: moral qualities, and not purely material elements. Regarding the feeling of white superiority, Drascher states that it was not based on guns and warships, or even on legal principles. Rather, it made use of all of those things with the naturalness of men willing to use whatever means necessary to achieve their goals. The true origins of this feeling of superiority are not rational, they are rooted in the very substance of the race, in the spirit of the blood. This is why even when the various peoples of the white race found themselves in the most bitter conflicts, nonetheless, in their behavior, their way of being, of acting and of asserting themselves, they appeared to other peoples as a single family.
This, however, is not all. In addition to the material elements, in addition to the moral elements themselves, and perhaps more important than them, there is an element of the highest, almost of a metaphysical order, which Drascher calls the “spirit of the oceanic age.” It is a kind of obscure will to the infinite and the unconditioned, which stands in the most intimate relationship to the conception of the world of humanism and the Renaissance, becoming more powerful and developed through the experience of the ocean and the new conquest of the seas, which was taking place at precisely that time. It was the “oceanic spirit” that constituted the deepest spiritual core and the innermost impulse that uniquely animated and oriented the racial qualities of the white peoples, launching them on the path of the conquest of the world, principally through the previously unknown great ocean routes.
The sea, that vast surface, free and open in every direction, has no end at any point: beyond the horizon, which you thought you had reached, another opens itself, drawing you towards new distances, pushing you always beyond, towards infinity. Its element is mobile, restless. At no point does it invite you to linger, to dwell, always pushing you to continue towards a new goal. And when you get there, it does not give you peace. Each wave is calling you, seems to urge you to forget and leave what you already know and not settle for what you already have, but to attempt and dare new things. The sea is, in the highest sense, the idea of limitlessness, which it embodies more than any other aspect of nature. It is serious, powerful, tragic, it is a hostile force that always wants to be tamed again, always ready to destroy you if you do not prove yourself to be stronger than it. And it is free, in the deepest sense of the word. On its shores, you can build cities and fortresses, but you cannot contain it and “own it.” It “belongs” essentially to he who navigates it, dominating it.
In these terms, the experience of the sea gives rise to the spirit of a new European epoch, to the driving force of a universal impulse, to the soul of a new epic and adventurous cycle. The ancient formula: vivere non necesse navigare necesse est [living is not necessary but navigation is], here takes on the fullness of its meaning. Navigation and conquest, derived from the original Mediterranean spirit, were gradually adopted by a series European peoples, from the Renaissance onward, as the watchword of world conquest and the consolidation of the hegemony of the white race.
But then, almost like the fatal cyclical process that every organism is subject to, the heroic tension and the original will to the infinite little by little went into dormancy. The epic phase of expansion was followed by the economic, mercantile phase. The first conquerors, surrounded by an almost mystical prestige, were replaced by highly organized companies trading in manufactured goods and specializing in the rational use of raw materials. Military power, especially naval power (as in the typical case of England), was more or less reduced to performing the function of the armed guard of economic hegemonism. The freedom on the seas ended up becoming synonymous with the freedom of British commerce. In addition, the white West itself began to formulate ideologies that were destined to turn back on it and seriously damage its prestige in the eyes of the colored peoples, finally creating the conditions of a new spirit of independence and revolt among the latter.
This is not the place to delve into such considerations, which, moreover, Drascher himself discusses only incompletely. We will only mention, for example, that the egalitarian social principle has lead to the absurdity of legal parity between white nations and mestizo nations or African savages; that a poorly understood and demagogic nationalism has become, in Asia, a dangerous source of insurrectionary ferment, while Bolshevik-Marxist propaganda calls for the revolt of colonized peoples against whites, claiming that the latter have the same role with regard to the former that capitalist exploiters and oppressors have with regard to the international proletariat. Here, however, it is more important to discuss consequences, recognizing that, in one way or another, the principle of European hegemony really is in danger today, and that the urgent problem of its restoration is not only material, but also, and above all, spiritual. There is very little point in resorting to external remedies. Only a return to origins, i.e., to the original attitude that brought whites to world domination — after the elimination of all the detritus of a soulless civilization devoid of ideals, a civilization that worships the idol of mere economy and is founded on the principle of leveling democracy — will allow us to maintain our supremacy. And that means reviving the oceanic symbol, reawakening the will to the infinite and limitless, fueled – so to speak – by the ocean wind, the freedom of enormous distances. This spirit, however, must be mastered by firm discipline and translated into strength hardened like steel.
It is no accident that Italy, which only now is fully entering into a cycle of conquest and colonial empire-building, has also proved its capacity for such a spirit, while in other countries, those forces have for a long time and over the span of many generations been lying dormant, decimated or supplanted by other, lower forces. Thus, in this respect, too, Fascist Italy is now a symbol, and has defined the terms of a European alternative. Those nations that will be incapable of following her in accomplishing the miracle of a renewal and a revival in the sense just indicated, are destined to be swept away by the tide that is gradually swelling among the races they once dominated. Whatever the power of those nations may still appear to be today, it is merely the legacy of a spirit that is now dead. Only the other nations, who will answer the call of fascist “youthfulness” and bring back the deep forces of their race to new epic heights, and to a new spirituality permeated with the drive towards limitless, will be part of the new front called upon to defend and reaffirm Western world supremacy.
Originally published in Corriere Padano, January 6, 1937.