Political Praetorians or the Human Price of Militant Power – Jean Thiriart

Pluto-democratic society focused on the virtues of leisure (ease) and not those of combat (effort, risk, engagement) flaunts a series of qualities that it doesn’t possess in reality. The majority of resistants are false, the old combatants equally, and on the other side it is the same with the “heroes of the Eastern Front.” All this is like plywood, it’s a half millimeter of oak on thirty millimeters of cheap sapling.

The corrupting power of a society of leisure is extreme, it even effects the militant life of revolutionary parties that, by definition, say they are beyond the bastardized collective.

Many revolutionaries are like plywood. There thus exist false militants as there exist false resistants. In civil life, there is a whole ritual of false virility: the “rally” comic books on cars, noisy exhaust pipes, leather jackets, mustaches in the style of the “Affreux” of Katanga. Remove these ornaments and there only remains mediocre employees, colorless men, heroes of the bistro.

In political life, at least in the parties deemed “hard” it is the same. The plywood militants of the extreme left ostensibly bearing Maoist tendencies, trim their beards like Castro, are intentionally crass.

The pseudo-militants of the extreme right also have a ritual, nights at the bar, German records, Iron Crosses bought at the flea market, Bigeard caps. That’s for the simpletons. For the intellectuals, virility consists of showing off poems written to Fresnes by Brasillach. I should note in passing that my human sympathy goes to Brasillach and not his executioners. But the kids who, forty years later, play hard by reading the books of shot authors are, in the revolutionary scheme, impostors.
Thus the plywood technique effects even the para-professional revolutionary milieus.

The Political Cult and the Juvenile Cult

Further on, I will make a description of the political cult and the sources of its power. Here I will deal with the juvenile cult.


The adolescent must pass a psychological mark in the course of which he is obliged to affirm himself to enter into the world of adults. In primitive societies (Africa and Amazonia for example) this passage is the object of a precise, formal, immutable, indisputable ritual. After having undergone the tests (generally tests of courage and/or light mutilations), the adolescent becomes a man. Once this is done, his character as an adult is no longer contested. Primitive societies are better organized than ours, on this defined scheme. Much later, in Greek antiquity for example, the rites of adolescence were equally well defined, well ritualized in the most official way.


Today, all of that is left to personal initiative. Pluto-democratic society doesn’t preoccupy itself with these important problems. So the adolescents themselves create the rites: student hazing, verbal pornography, youth alcoholism and – this is where out interest awakens – membership in a “tough” cult.

Post-war Neo-Nazi phenomena are astonishingly frequent among the youth. There is no question of a philosophical option here, but of captivation by a magic ritual. Every terrifying wonder is attached to the souvenirs of the SS and the NSDAP. Thus certain youth who undergo the obligatory crisis of affirmation towards their status of adulthood, frequently create juvenile cults.

The machine of American-Zionist propaganda presents these juvenile cults as political cults. This exploitation is very profitable for the Zionists, for the fanatical Jewish milieus of the extreme left. It’s the perpetuation of the “fascist danger” myth justifying their own actions. It’s the pretext to demand hundreds of millions more Marks from the German Federal Republic. All the little circles of so-called “nationalist” students equally reveal themselves as these juvenile cults. That’s why the population of these groups is extremely mutable. The youth remains there at a maximum of one or two year generally, the times of his crisis. Once he has passed the mark, he believes himself an adult, he leaves the juvenile cult and integrates very well into adult and bourgeois society.

Sometimes we encounter at the head of these cults some rare aged men who do not manipulate them to use them for a political goal. But to heal their own psychological problems. Sexual impotence due to age or vice among certain forty or fifty year olds is overcompensated by racist press campaigns of a sexual character (the obsession with the black man having relations with a white woman). Again what is taken for political action, is a case revealed by the sexologist or psychoanalyst.

It is thus necessary to guard against confusing the juvenile cult with a political cult. The first characterizes itself by its internal indiscipline – the adolescent must affirm himself and he naively holds that indiscipline is a mark of maturity – and by the absence of a new and original political ideology.


The juvenile cult is rowdy, without functional hierarchy and searching for magic elements in a reputedly prestigious past. It is made and unmade constantly, its members are ephemeral passengers.

The Source of Power of Political Cults

The society within which we live, is politically very relaxed, very feeble because of its economic preoccupations.

It’s a society without political tension. Energy is devoted in the course of things to means that procure pleasures. Energy is channeled towards making money. It’s a society of enjoyment. As the youth prefer the sports car to military service and the adults the prestige of “having more” to that of “being more.” It’s the Pluto-democratic society. History has made known to us other past forms of military or theocratic society among others. This Pluto-democratic society is extremely vulnerable to the action of determined and organized political minorities.

It does not believe in pure power; it believes everything can be solved by money and everything corrected by technocratic perfection. It tricks itself, and if in times of peace, such societies are stabilized by a sort of general bogging down in pleasures, it will not be the same on the occasion of a war or grave crisis.

Bourgeois Pluto-democratic society is thus available, passive to external political action erupting with an organized group of determined reformers. Do not confuse reformers with reformists.


It’s the relation between the butcher’s knife and the whale. With a small, sharp knife, and well handled by the slaughterer, a man can dispatch a whale of five tons.

The source of the power “of the knife,” that is to say of the political cult resides in the accumulation and intensity of virtues that are precisely lacking in feeble bourgeois society.
One of these virtues is loyalty. It’s the first condition of the power of the cult. Political cults draw their force from the practice of absolute internal honesty. The lie, the personal calculation, the mental restriction that so weakens ordinary society or the vulgar parliamentary parties are not taken into the cult. The cult takes its force from a real virtue, a practical virtue. There are two morals: one for the internal life, another regarding the exterior world. Thus the virtues of purity, righteousness, loyalty, which make the bourgeois smile when they call them “boy-scout morals” are exactly the source of the power of the political cult.


Where society is divided, the cult is united; where society refuses force, the cult glorifies it; where society advocates pleasure, the cult glorifies sacrifice.

Pluto-democratic society has no use for ambitious cadets, impatient cadets, energies too lively, devotions too grand.


There exists in every generation a tiny but regular proportion of men who have the need for heroic conduct in life. They provided the soldiers who made the Indian Empire, they provided Father Damien, they provided Schweitzer. It’s the race of men who cannot be satisfied with the cowardly, hypocritical, feeble style of bourgeois society. These men become mystics, revolutionaries. Communism thanks to its mythology of justice and liberation gathered a large contingent. Communism could do as it has since 1945 proposing rules of life and heroic goals (heroic with or without quotes). In contrast to bourgeois liberal society, Communism is the face of a dame of great virtue. Today, the Western Communist Parties are integrated into the system.


Our eruption on the European political scene is done to disturb. As we possess a powerful myth about us (in its political semantic I mean by myth a noble, distant, difficult goal): powerful, unitary, and communitarian Europe.


This generation of men available for heroism is, as I wrote above, abandoned by the regime, un-utilized. The regime mistrusts them. The source of power of political cults resides in joining together in a cadre (encadrement) these available men possessing combative qualities, qualities of sacrifice.


To avoid being contaminated by the weakness of bourgeois society, the cult must isolate itself totally from it. The cult must possess its own morals, very strict for the internal image, and other very opportunistic ones to undermine larger society. In a colorful style, I will say like the egg laid by certain insects in the body of an animal of a different species, an egg which will give birth to a larva that will inexorably eat away the host animal, the determined political cult must also be an organism completely inserted into another organism. The cult will be intransigent and avoid compromises with society, otherwise it would dissolve there and paradoxically would reinforce, revive, the organism it wanted to kill.


Finally, the cult will be extremely collusive, I mean that its internal solidarity will totally dominate above all other preoccupations. It’s solidarity pressed to the point of collusion. Ultimately, the density of heroic temperaments multiplied by a total collusion creates the cult capable of taking over a relaxed, flabby, apathetic society. It’s the revolutionary party.

On one hand, there is an immense society in full digestion of pleasures, ready for any concessions allowing it to prolong this digestion, and on the other the determined, exacting cult.


On one hand, men who do not want to renounce above all the least of their pleasures , and who are a fortiori not disposed to die to defend them if necessary, on the other hand men who decided to find their power in the renunciation of all types of common pleasures, and who if necessary, will throw the weight of their life on the balance of confrontation.
It inevitably happens that insufficiently integrated men try to dominate the cult, not content to coalesce there. Soon rejected, they leave in what is called dissidence in politics and in the Church by the name of heresy. More or less rapidly these branches cut from the trunk wither and disappear.


The explanation of the phenomenon is simple. The cult possess a sort of aura that gives it particular powers on the psychological level. This aura is unbreakable. Those who leave the cult sometimes take with themselves one or another faction of the effective manpower, but they never bear a shred of this aura. Thus the dissident, the excluded, the ostracized, the banished never have the para-magical element that gives force to the cult. As with Trotsky or Doriot, despite their brilliance, they remained excluded and they were buried far from Holy ground.

The Human Price of Militant Power

Certain men may have a power, not supernatural as such talk makes us rightly smile, but a supra-natural power, I mean here a step above the average.


Man can expend, orient his energy towards this or that physical or intellectual activity. It’s a well known phenomenon of elementary fakirism: we can dominate physical pain by following appropriate training. On the intellectual level, we can equally obtain supra-natural results. The polarization of vital energy, of the will, can give power, resistance. In everyday life, on a more trivial level, the athlete can obtain results inaccessible to the common bourgeois. But at the price of a special discipline: forbidden foods, forbidden distractions, daily training. In each exact case where there is an increase in capacity, there was a price to pay.

The extra power in one domain was paid for by renunciations in others.


In no case the extra physical, intellectual, psychic power comes from adding to ordinary, banal, trivial life.

In every case, the extra power was acquired at the price of amputations from banal life, from the common life. It is the same in the sector of revolutionary militancy. It is thus demanded of a militant that he is materially impossible to reconcile the “amusing life” with the militant life. The militant life is inconceivable with the normal life. The first develops at the cost of the second.


There thus exists a certain political asceticism. It’s what leads many to believe, wrongly, that the political leaders of these cults are puritans. Firstly, there is a world of difference between asceticism and puritanism. Next, this asceticism is not a goal in itself but a means of acquiring the concentration of will indispensable for the possession of these supra-natural powers of which I spoke above. The political militant life, does not permit the style of a permanent drawing room where it is possible to enter and exit at any moment. A revolution is lived and organized by a determined minority of implacable ascetics or “cold monsters” requiring chronologically, the duration of an entire life.
The grand public always ignores the very long phase of incubation as this phase is invisible to it. Only political police see the growth of political cults in the period of incubation. For example, the political-historical vocation of Lenin was inscribed in the hanging of his brother in 1887, thirty years before the October Revolution.


It will happen in the militant life, that a man is excluded, expelled from a cult. In a moment, he even loses his friends of yesterday. Not only does the revolutionary party expel him with contempt but moreover his comrades in combat reject him instantaneously. It’s one of the tests that allow us to measure the intensity of the cult. If it is weak, the expelled member will conserve private bonds of friendship within it. If it is strong, the exclusion will be double: once from the cult and another time for each friend in particular. Rejected by the cult, he is simultaneously and instantaneously rejected by the militants in it. In militancy, there is no place for friendship that would be in contradiction with the decisions and attitudes of the cult. This contradiction is only possible in bourgeois milieus where it is possible “to conserve a personal friendship” with the expelled member, with the ostracized. Among revolutionaries, the party is one hundred times more important than friendship.


One of the last tests that awaits the militant in his novitiate, it’s revolutionary humility that leads him, unlike the bourgeois world, to abstain from always “giving his opinions” (an act frequently sterile in itself, besides) and to oblige himself to execute orders that cut close to his self-love formed by his old education.


But this humility is largely paid for by the pride of belonging to an elite, elect group.


Finally, to close, the militant in his novitiate discovers that the cult is an egalitarian society: on entering, he must accept that the cult mocks all the ranks and honors acquired elsewhere, in bourgeois life. The cult only recognizes its own honorific references, its own hierarchical references.


Thus, the human cost of the militant power is high, very costly, it’s not within the reach of all, we will even say that is within the reach of very few men.


The militant is a sort of political monk, as in the past the first Templars were monk-soldiers. He who can and who wants to pay the human price demanded will thus know exalted sensations, those of participating in the conquest of power.


The conquest of others inevitably passes through and firstly by the conquest of oneself. He who would dominate himself will dominate others. It’s the first exercise that is, from far away, the most difficult, the most bitter: it is the key to power.

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