By: Andrej Sekulović
We talked With the Croatian essayist and former diplomat Prof. Tomislav Sunić about conservatism, taboos on issues of race and racism, the common roots of liberalism and communism, and other interesting topics.
DEMOKRACIJA: Mr. Sunić, the Slovenian translation of your book Post-mortem Report or Post-mortem report: cultural research from postmodern, was recently published by Nova obzorja. What can you tell us about the book itself?
Sunić: First, I would like to thank Mr. Primož Kuštrin for the translation of my book and the publishing house Nova obzorja, which published the book. The book itself does not have a thematic whole, except, of course, that it is a book of a conservative, revolutionary and national nature. It is divided into five parts. It is a collection of my essays in which I focus more on the views and ideas of other authors than on expressing my own opinion, who today are unfortunately not very well known in academic circles in the West or in Slovenia and Croatia. The reason for this is that they are often classified as pro-fascist and pro-national socialist authors, although they do not necessarily fall into this category.
DEMOKRACIJA: The book is divided into five parts. What topics do you deal with in it?
Sunić: In the first part, I focus on religion and the differences between monotheism and polytheism, as well as how this, in its secular form, affects contemporary political consciousness. In the second part, I focus on cultural pessimism. The book includes an extensive essay on Spengler and an essay on Emil Cioran. In the third part, I talk about race, as well as the Third Reich. In the fourth part, I focus on liberalism and democracy. My main thesis is that liberalism and democracy do not always go hand in hand, but liberalism can be the opposite of democracy. In the fifth and last part, I talk mainly about multiculturalism. In general, I argue that multiculturalism and democracy do not fit together. In a multicultural country, each nationality or minority will have its own definition of democracy. After all, we have seen this in Yugoslavia as well.
DEMOKRACIJA: Can you explain this statement to us in the case of Yugoslavia?
Sunić: The idea of a democratic Yugoslavia, of creating a mixed society in which everyone will be equal, may have sounded nice. However, when people face economic or other crises, they seek solutions and protection from their tribe. We witnessed this in Slovenia when many communists, including Kučan, adopted the national option. It was the same in Tudjman’s circles. As a former diplomat, I can tell you that communists and Yugoslavs gathered around him and became staunch Croats overnight. Today, they are a specific example of US multiculturalism in the process of Balkanisation. Although leftists persistently deny this fact, people simply cannot be deterred from resorting to their tribe, nation, or sect in search of protection and identity. This is most pronounced today in the United States, where society is highly polarised, also in terms of demographic, racial, and ethnic divisions. An American of Japanese descent will understand that Japanese descent comes first.
DEMOKRACIJA: You mention the Balkanisation of the USA, where you yourself have lived for many years. What was your experience in the liberal multicultural US?
Sunić: One of the reasons I returned to Croatia from California in 1993 was that the United States was already experiencing Balkanisation and a rise in racial intolerance, which is even more pronounced today. In doing so, I reject claims that racists are exclusively white and that all other races are tolerant. Today, there are about 55 percent of white Americans in the United States and 45 percent of the population are of non-European descent. Even if dramatic demographic changes make whites a minority or they even gradually disappear, you can be sure that there will be major racial conflicts between African Americans and Latinos. Already today, there are mainly clashes between Latin American and black gangs, not between whites and blacks. FBI statistics that can be found online show that more than 50 percent of murders and violent crimes occur among blacks themselves, and in the case of interracial statistics, mostly blacks are perpetrators and whites are victims. In addition, I would like to emphasise that I had a very pleasant experience in the United States with my students who were of African American or Asian descent, but on the other hand I had the worst experience in my career with conservative “staunched” Croats. So, I am not making value judgments, I am just stating certain facts.
DEMOKRACIJA: Today, the issue of race, which you yourself write about, has become a big taboo among Europeans.
Sunić: Sometimes the word “race” had no negative or derogatory meaning. Sometime up to the 1970s, this word was used in a neutral sense, even in communist Eastern Europe. However, the word “race” must be distinguished from the term “racism”, which has a negative connotation, as it means racial exclusion or the belief that another race is inferior. Today, however, the word race is in some places even abolished by the constitution. Thus, a few years ago, a decision was made in France to simply abolish this word. Likewise, leftists and liberals argue that race is just a “construct” and that we are all the same. In doing so, we are, in fact, returning to the ideologies of liberalism and communism. Regardless of the differences between them, it should be noted that both liberals and communists derive from the belief that a man is a so-called tabula rasa, that we are all an indescribable sheet of paper on which we can write what we want. This belief is observed in Locke and especially in Rousseau, who said that man is completely free when he is born, and that we can make him a genius and a new Einstein or an ordinary worker. However, this is not true. Scientific research over the last hundred years, from Darwin to modern socio-biology and genetics, confirms the perfectly common-sense fact that every human being inherits certain traits. However, when socio-biologist talk about it today, they need to use vague terms such as genotype or haplotype in order not to label them racists.
DEMOKRACIJA: Please tell us more about the findings on racial differences.
Sunić: Richard Lynn wrote about differences in IQ between nations. He included Croats and Slovenes in the group of Central European nations, but on the other hand, according to his research, Ethiopians and Africans have a much lower IQ than Europeans. Such claims are by no means racist, as they are simple findings about the characteristics of certain people. Take, for example, the Nobel Prize winners, who are practically all Europeans or whites, no matter what category we are talking about. So, I am not making value judgments, nor am I claiming that Europeans are better than blacks, but only that we need to be aware of the differences between us and that instead of being forced by Marxism and global consumerism, people should be allowed to have their own identity shaped by their specific virtues and the climate in which they live. The very imposition of the global world is the greatest evil of all nations.
DEMOKRACIJA: You mentioned the differences between the issue of race and racism, but it seems that today only white Europeans are called ‘racists’.
Sunić: Racism and racial exclusion must certainly be condemned. I must point out, however, that it is wrong and unjust to repeatedly attribute racism only to whites and to claim that only whites are racists. That is not true at all. I have lived long enough in Africa and Asia as well as in the US that I can say from my own experience and observations that this is not true. In San Francisco and Seattle, where many Americans of Chinese descent live, you will very rarely see a beautiful American woman of Asian descent walking down the street with a black man. For them, this is simply unacceptable. It is simply a matter of a certain racial exclusion, as they do not want to mix.
DEMOKRACIJA: You write in your book that the ancient Greeks and Romans were already aware of their racial identities. How did they experience the race?
Sunić: The ancient Greeks and Romans did not know Mendel, who was the first to put forward the theory of heredity, but they were not stupid. So, in ancient times they did not know certain rules of genetics, but they observed people and their physiognomy. The Roman writer Juvenal and the historian Sallust, for example, strongly opposed the immigration of Chaldeans and East Asians to Rome. It is certainly not necessary to deal with socio-biology and know the complex expression of genetics, but it is enough to simply observe a group of people or children and their behaviour to trace certain connections between them and their ancestors. The ancient Greeks and Romans did not have scientific methods of analysing genes and chromosomes and haplogroups, but they had simple common sense. They knew well what the product would be according to who married whom.
DEMOKRACIJA: You mention several “conservative” authors in the book. However, this is a rather broad concept, so perhaps you could tell something about conservatism itself.
Sunić: In some countries we know only one form of conservatism, but there is also a type of conservatism to which we have not paid enough attention. These include Nietzsche, Cioran, Spengler and others. They are staunch opponents not only of liberalism and communism, but also of monotheism and Judeo-Christianity. In the book, I mention many conservative authors, especially from the Weimar Republic, who have very little in common with what we call conservatism in Ljubljana or Zagreb today. When we talk about different forms of conservatism, I would also add that today conservatives are considered backward, but that is not the case. You would be surprised how many authors of the German Conservative Revolution were ultramodern. I am very modern in some respects. I like to listen to rock, but in my younger years I lived in India as a hippie. Nor do I reject the Catholic and Christian conservative revolutions, I only argue that this is not the only form of conservatism. Conservatives can also be atheists, Nietzscheans, pagans or polytheists. As the Prussian King Frederick II, the Great said: “Let each honour his god in his own way.”
DEMOKRACIJA: How would you compare modern liberalism with communism?
Sunić: Today, we cannot fight communism effectively if we are not critical of its basis. Communism arose from liberalism. This is not my opinion, but Marx wrote about it in the 19th century. Liberalism and communism are, in fact, two sides of the same coin. In 1991, we experienced the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe precisely because communist aspirations, equality, capital flows and the demise of the state were better realised in Western Europe and the United States. Of course, not in the name of communism, but in the name of multiculturalism. In Eastern Europe, it was therefore not so much a revolt against the communist oligarchy as it was a finding that life in the West was more “communist”, as pensions and social benefits were higher, and minorities had more rights.
DEMOKRACIJA: So, is today’s liberalism, which is becoming increasingly totalitarian, a continuation of the communist mentality?
Sunić: If we want to fight communism effectively, we must criticise liberalism. Liberalism has succeeded in what the Soviet Union has failed to do. Therefore, communists or Marxists accepted the Western paleo-communist option. Therefore, today we are witnessing the demise of the state in the European Union, as the EU is also based on these paleo-communist principles of the demise of the state. However, this demise is not only about borders, but also about suppressing borders. I do not want Slovenia or Croatia to become just a tourist centre for rich tourists from Europe and the USA. I would like them to keep their traditions, which are fading more and more today. It is true that liberal repression does not use such drastic methods as bloodshed, but I do not rule out the possibility that this will happen in the future.
Dr Tomislav Sunić is a Croatian retired university professor, diplomat, essayist and one of the most prominent representatives of the “new right” school of thought. He was born in 1953 in Zagreb. From 1983 to 1992, he lived as a political refugee in the United States, where he earned a doctorate in political science and later lectured at the University of Santa Barbara in California. He is the author of several books, essays and other contributions in English, French, German and Croatian.