The Thirties. The Romanian Extreme Right

Continuing the clash of ideas of the previous decades, the 1930s too witnessed a confrontation on the evolution formula of the Romanian make-up. Two directions were pitted against each other. One favorable to the maintenance of a strictly controlled autochthonism and the other claiming the necessity to go beyond this stage and get integrated into the European framework. Various essays, studies and articles fed the idea that Romanianism could not be preserved either than by autochthonism, any attempt at becoming European being flatly rejected. Mr. Alexandru George insisted in an essay that the autochthonous stand had been in fact a historical fraud for the very reason that, as Zeletin put it, our Westernization, as much as it was, did not come from outside but emerged as a last-ditch solution of a society that otherwise would be doomed to become extinct, all wrapped up in anachronism. Traditionalist trends ignored the realities in this country after the Great Union, and the agrarian reform that utterly changed the structure of land ownership. Denying these sociological realities, the adepts of traditionalism insisted only on the shortcomings of the new rules, denouncing them as a huge and scandalous peril that could wipe Romanians off spiritually as a people. In the drive to throw wrenches in the works of fatal renewal, sociological theorems were nonetheless developed to identify the Romanian specific formula in the spiritual plane.In an article of 1931 Nae Ionescu went about the matter systematically, denying the very existence of a unifying European spirit. "Europe does not exist," he stated shockingly. "There is no spiritual unity. What we call today European spirit is a prevailingly Anglo-Saxon attitude, specifically Anglo-Saxon I would even say, that manages to contain only the north-west of Europe, leaving the south to a good extent outside, and the south-east and east entirely outside this spiritual structure. In fact, this structure does not even define the European spirit as such but simply implies a historical prevalence in a certain period that begins with the Renaissance. It is very doubtful whether tomorrow the European spirit may signify the same thing. Europe does not exist as a reality but only as fiction and taking it into consideration as such is not only deprived of efficiency but downright perilous." Nurturing this idea about the non-existence of a spiritual Europe, the director of the newspaper Cuvantul [The Word] considered himself entitled to wonder what purpose the concern with progress and Europeanism could have. "In fact," the metaphysics professor lambasted, "the whole theoretical position of our civilizing and Europeanizing champions is nothing but an infinite fabric of fallacious sophisms. There is no progress or, more exactly, if there is any progress it does not go only one way but divergently, and it does in no way surpass the species (which is evolutionary naiveté) but keeps within its outskirts… A hierarchy of civilizations according to the criterion of Romanian progressists who want at all cost to persuade us that the West represents an absolute type of civilization, is fundamentally false. Americans are not more civilized than Europeans; Europe is not better than Asia. Asia is not better than Africa. Europe, Asia and Africa are exactly what they are. Should we, Europeans, become American? How can we go about it? All these forms of life are fixed within certain limits, and self-relying. Therefore the civilizing recommendation derives only from the evolutionist-democratizing camp, that is from the position where it is somewhat approximately believed that an ox can turn into a human being. That is why our tendency or that of some of us to embrace the West because it represents the cradle of civilization is fallacious as long as we are not shown our spiritual structure, our species I would say, is not in the least analogous to that of the West." In fact, Nae Ionescu denies the very Latinity of the Romanians' ethno-genetic structure, putting this country exclusively in the Eastern space. "Which of the constituent elements of the Romanian reality," he questioned his readership, "pleads for a policy bent on the West and with the West? No, the formula of the Romanian civilization and culture is not Western. If we discard everything added to this civilization in the last one hundred years, and which should be considered an unsuccessful graft from all points of view, the Romanian culture appears as an Eastern reality, drawing its sap from the south-east of Europe, and creating assets circulated only in this part of the world. Let us not be deceived here too by the old preconceived idea of our Latinity. Because this Latinity is the most difficult thing to prove of all the assertions that we make on our account. What is there Latin in us? The idea of justice as written down in our customary law? Possibly of Thracian origin. The idea of the state? Byzantine. The idea of God? Orthodox, therefore definitely Eastern. The understanding of life? Contemplative, therefore far from any sign of the active-practical structure of Rome. What connects us to Latinity then if in Romania attempts at Catholicism were only politically successful? What ties us to the West in general if not even Protestantism managed to set foot in this country? It is obvious that we can go on considering ourselves westerners as we have done so far. This will be done – like so far – on account of the Romanian culture which a long time from now on will fail to become autochthonous and its expansionary force will for this very reason continue to be null and void." It is typical of the logic and metaphysics professor to completely ignore the language component the Latinity of which is difficult to call into question. The Romanian people survived with the help of its language like a very island of Latinity in this part of eastern Europe. Is the language component, which some perceive as an essential fact of national specificity, something to be overlooked in this equation? By language, Latin in structure, the Romanians are undoubtedly connected to the western world. The fact that for many centuries that West ignored Romania for all its Latinity is, unfortunately, only too true. But in the 19 century when this reality was distinctly perceived, France, our sister in Latinity, stood by us, lending a helping hand on the thorny path of liberation from the Ottoman East, towards independence. Is there anyone who does not know this? For the Romanians the East has meant either the Turkish yoke that depleted the country's energies for three or four centuries, or the conquering arms of overzealous Russia. The release from the East and the rapprochement to the community west through ethnogenesis and language meant a true rebirth of this people and of this country. The Romanians' consubstantial Latinity, far from being a preconceived idea, is the very solid force that binds us to the west of Europe. And to deny it or guiltily ignore it is more than a preconceived idea. It is the negation of the organic realities that professor Nae Ionescu harped so much on. The plea in favor of the Romanians' exclusive belonging to the eastern world undeniably pursued a negation of all the Europeanists' efforts to see us integrated into the progressive structures headed towards a modern civilization. The arguments thereof are known from a complete bibliography of traditionalism. Romania has no reason to aspire to a modern industrial civilization because spiritually Romanians are contemplative, ploughmen or shepherds, unpractical and reluctant to take up an industrial trade. Then by religion and customs Romanians belong to the eastern world which as a rule rejects western-type modernization. It is better and more natural to live like in the old times, within the framework of traditionalism and specific autochthonous spirit, denying the calls of those estranged Europeanized persons, etc. etc. In fact, the only salvation for Romania was to evolve towards a modern civilization which was not a matter of options under the sign of the free will but a sociological requirement, prompted by the fact that the Romanian Principalities were pushed into capitalist relations with Western Europe. Institutional and legislative approximation to this economic reality was also a must because the modern economic reality could not stand side by side with medieval institutional and legal bodies. All the arguments Nae Ionescu brings up do not in the least obey that reality which, I repeat, he so much touted. Sociological rules do not take into account preferences, idiosyncrasies and sentimental quibbling.In the same year 1930, Nae Ionescu, setting out from the incompatibility between the Romanian soul and the western world, attempted a definition of Romanianism. Unfortunately, he did not do it in a book or a bulky study but as was his habit, in a newspaper. In this stylistic guise, he addressed a very sensitive and particularly serious matter. Before presenting his ideas note should be made that Nae Ionescu established a direct and exclusive relation between Romanianism and eastern Orthodoxy. Consequently, Greek-Catholics or Catholics (to say nothing of other non-Christian denominations), although Romanian by birth were not considered Romanian. In a series of polemical articles written against Catholic I. Frollo, who defended the Romanianism of his co-religious fellows, the professor rejected his claim de plano. He began abruptly by taking the Samuil Micu case. Micu was, after all, one of the founders of the Transylvanian School. "The case of Samuil Micu is a little more complicated. This Catholic monk is one of the founders of Romanian consciousness. Could his Romanianism be called into question? And yet it can. I do not mean to study here whether Samuil Micu was a true Romanian or not. I believe I can say that one does not need to be a Romanian to do what Micu did. Being Romanian is a natural state, a poised formula of one's existence from which certain forms unfold in life. To be Romanian means to have a certain mettle from which certain attitudes and gestures necessarily devolve. One's will has nothing to say in this situation because one cannot normally outdo oneself either than by ceasing to be oneself. Romanian Catholics claim the quality of good Romanians. Est ist zu viel des Guten. We would be content just to get an answer to a modest question. You can be true-blue Romanians which you naturally are. But are you Romanian?" And he resumed his point of view, buttressing it up with several arguments. Belonging to a community that makes up a nation means to have lived in its spiritual and, by its structure, love atmosphere. This being so, no one can be a Romanian, for instance, unless one achieves concretely, individually, the organizationally spiritual structure the repository of which is essentially the Romanian nation. But nations are historical realities. They are born in space and time and consequently they depend on everything that falls in the category of individuation. A people's attitude towards God, the way this people experiences not only its connection with divinity but also divinity itself, is part and parcel of the intimate structure of the nation." After several by-lines, he comes again to the point: "We will first notice Catholicism and Orthodoxy as distinct historical realities; then, historically, the Romanians, naturally, have been mostly – therefore normally – in the past and in the present, Orthodox. Since denomination, as a historical reality, is part of the other historical reality, the nation, it follows that the definition of the notion of 'Romanian' contains Orthodoxy as an essential note and component respectively. To be Romanian, not 'a true-blue Romanian', equally means to be Orthodox. The same way the animal named 'horse' is also a four-legged creature. There are cases of Romanians adopting the Catholic faith. The question is the moment I become Catholic am I still a Romanian? In other words, did this operation of replacing Orthodoxy with Catholicism alter an essential or only an accidental component of my being Romanian? Or more simply and more generally: is confession in general an essential note of the nation or not? Here is the question underlying the solution of the antinomy between Roman Catholic universality and national particularity."This much corseted syllogism could receive negative answers. Because the Transylvanians who in the 18 century adopted Greek-Catholicism or even Roman Catholicism cannot be excluded from the national community. Their struggle to safeguard the national consciousness and through it their belonging to the nation denies the exclusivist syllogism of Nae Ionescu. The professor went even farther depriving even I. C. Bratianu of the quality of being Romanian in order to integrate him in that of "true-blue Romanian" for the reason of having defrauded the Romanian state, or in other words, having created together with his companions in the Liberal Party, the state of industrial Romania. Derailed from traditions, the new state set up thus in a modern structure, on the constitutional-legislative and economic-financial planes, was losing, according to the director of Cuvantul newspaper, its Romanian character. "But is this state," he went on asking the readership, "really Romanian?" If so, then indeed Ion Bratianu was a true-blue Romanian. But what if our modern state is not really Romanian? Then things change and Ion Bratianu was a "good Romanian", that is he had the best intentions towards the Romanian people and state. But he was no Romanian as "the seed that ends up carrying a rice ear is not corn." The innovating endeavor that dealt a blow at the traditionalist structures and thus at genuine autochthony, deprived old Bratianu of the quality of being Romanian demoting him to the subspecies of "true-blue Romanian". Reverting to confessional categories which make you a Romanian or not, Nae Ionescu put forth exclusively radical notions that are hard to accept: "Catholicism and Orthodoxy are not only denominations presenting certain dogmatic and cultural differences, but also two fundamentally different ways of capitalizing on existence in general. The dogmatic differences are the less striking, I could say. The big misunderstanding, the incompatibility, the categorical impenetrability of Catholicism and Orthodoxy originate elsewhere: in the concrete historical spiritual structures that make up the support within which they are accomplished. It is no accident therefore that the east of Europe is Orthodox and the south-west Catholic. Denomination is a determining part of the spiritual mettle of the respective peoples. This is the spiritual truth in the matter of nation and of religion: they are correlative realities. Consequently, we are Orthodox because we are Romanian and we are Romanian because we are Orthodox. Become Catholic? In order to become Catholic we should so change spiritually as to be able to achieve Catholicism. This transformation would mean to give up the Romanian history and spiritual structures. In other words, to renounce being Romanian. We do not have here a third choice: it's either you stay Romanian and your Catholicism is not a reality, or you become a Catholic and you are no longer Romanian." It should be said that I. Frollo published a reply in Cuvantul, eight articles in fact, where he specified in good reason that belonging to a nation is a natural fact, while belonging to a denomination is an act of will. Nae Ionescu flatly rejected this syllogism by Frollo bringing arguments from his previous installments. To which Frollo replied that Christ's teaching is one, the Christian teaching. The director of Cuvantul did not lay down his arms but retorted that in fact the truth of Christ's teaching is one for the Orthodox, another for the Catholics, and yet another for the Protestants.The discussion continued in one more issue, or rather Nae Ionescu continued it. In the last article he emerges clearly radical. Romania is indissolubly, almost causally determined by the autochthonous spirit. But first we should bring to light an earlier articled dated August 1930. Praising words went in favor of the direction initiated by the Semanatorul [Sower] group, which seemed still fruitful to him. In an attempt at being systematic he presented this concept in an updated formula. First he dealt with what he called "the struggle against the free spirit and mentality" – which is a permanent fact in the history of modern Romania but which widened and became more orderly after the war. Second he placed a new Orthodox movement having the mission to neutralize the Protestant spirit of the Renaissance "which underlies the current European civilization and artificially, the Romanian one." Finally he pointed to the "need to have specific cultural and artistic events, based, somewhat programmatically, it is true, on autochthonism." He pointed our that this new programmatic desiderata "found expression in two publicity bodies, Gandirea [Thought] and Cuvantul…This movement means a new formula, that of our generation; we did not invent it though. It derives necessarily from our structure and it begs realization despite all latecomers. And this achievement will have to reflect immediately on the makeup of the village, this nobody can doubt any more."Now let us return to that final article that put an end to the discussion about the relation between being Romanian and being Orthodox. Within the arguments we find also a fulminating indictment of an entire century of Romanian culture. "All the falsity and artificiality of the Romanian culture for the last century or so is the result of our attempts to transpose – not even to transplant – the Moldavian-Wallachian realities unto certain western forms of life that had been born there organically. And these attempts have always been underlain by the conviction that forms of culture, in the final analysis forms of spirit can be transmitted and therefore imported. A fundamental mistake that has been indicted everywhere. I am persuaded that our nation will not manage to recollect, to become aware of itself and to become creative in the spiritual order unless it finally understands that this order can be built only on autochthonous foundations, and that any imported ideas – naturally these are valid within the strict framework of technology – remain sterile, bringing about ridiculous notions." After three days, with the celebration of a decade since the first Gandirea publication, he associated Crainic's magazine and Cuvantul as champions of the spirit. Defining the program of their common orientation he specified: "Orthodoxy, nationalism, monarchy, according to which one in our generation is identified from one thousand are nothing but absolutely necessary conditions that make possible the true life of the spirit…This is what our predecessors fail to understand, with their sad generation that liquidates a culture which was not theirs and therefore was not even cultural."It is not the indictment of the cultural imports practiced by those estranged 1848 and post-1848 generations that should rivet our attention here. But the idea that Romania must go back to its matrix (how come the logician did not wonder whether such a return was sociologically possible?) along autochthonous lines. Spiritually, autochthony means passive traditionalism on a socioeconomic and political plane. Passivity triggers regression. And what else is regression if not a retrograde attitude. So we go back where we started. This is a telling proof that traditionalism was erected – and here I quote Alexandru George again – on historical fraud. Romania could not longer return to previous states. A century of transformations had modified structures. A way back was possible only in the daydreams of spiritual nostalgics who did not understand a thing of the economic realities. It is interesting to note that a follower of the professor, Mircea Vulcanescu, who was not only a philosopher but also an economist and a sociologist came up after a few years with an implicit retort to the nostalgic reverie of the Cuvantul director. As an adept of the professor, I should add that M. Vulcanescu was also a spiritualist, deeply Orthodox and preoccupied with deciphering the spiritual formula of the Romanian people. "In other words the question on which the fate of the Romanian nation depends after all is this: the village or the city? On the one hand, a natural civilization of the village, springing downright from its closeness to the earth, from blood relations, from life happenings experienced together, from the passing down from father to son of the Romanian language, costumes, knowledge and customs. On the other hand, an artificial, hallucinating, unnatural civilization springing from the thirst for financial speculations and the craving for more money, a civilization of paranoiac persons where man, alack is nothing but a tool. The question arising before every person who has to choose where to go is ethical. Whereto? To clarity or a Babylon of languages? Choice is out of the question. Between the two types of civilization as they were shown there is no alternative. Only the fatal and natural progress of things, corroborated everywhere and always, from one civilization to another, at the same time with technological progress. Good or bad, this path is unavoidable. We will take this road willy-nilly because it cannot be otherwise. City civilization is a superior form of social existence. It is more recent, more complete, and being more evolved, it is, unmistakably, superior. The resistance put up by the peasant spirit faced with changes is natural and easy to understand because of inertia. But this does not mean a thing. The mutiny will subside as soon as the peasant indulges in the blessings of the new city settlement which, in fact, he yearns after. Petru Comarnescu, the torch-bearer of the Criterion group came to the same point of view in 1933. "The village might have once been a self-relying social unit but now the Romanian village can no longer be self-dependent. Peasant life is not static and cloistered. Whereas the village is judged to be static and ideal, the city is considered dynamic and pessimistic. How strange this sociology which treats social units preferentially! The village and the city influence each other, and the truth is the city attracts peasants more than the other way round. Through monograph and sociology, I myself have come to the awareness of a human unity and its converging progress towards synthesis, not rural romanticism." A similar opinion can be found with none other than Cioran. It is expressed in, perhaps the most exasperating document of the 1930s, The Transfiguration of Romania, which we will address immediately. "Our tragedy," he says in this book, "derives from the living condition of agrarian peoples. Their slow pace would be a blessing were it not for the brisk evolution of industrial countries. On the one hand the village and on the other the city. The enthusiasm for the village is the common note of Romanian intellectuals of all times. Their bad note. Because if these intellectuals had had any political acumen they would have understood that the village does not represent anything dynamically speaking. The village is the sub-structure and biological foundation of a nation but it is not its propeller and driving force. A year in the life of a modern city is fuller and more active than a hundred in the life of a village. And this not only because of the big population but also because of the way the city lives, its very inner substance constantly accelerating its rhythm. The city and industrialization should be the two obsessions of an ascending people."After December 1933 Cuvantul stopped being published for several years, and Nae Ionescu's voice could then be seldom heard in publications of the provinces, and in Predania, in 1937. It was only on January 21, 1938 during the Goga-Cuza governance that Cuvantul made a comeback under the natural steermanship of Nae Ionescu. Now the newspaper was calm, it assailed nobody, and even took a defensive stand when attacked by democratic newspapers. Only once did it approach matters related to the Romanian specifics that was mistaken for ethnicity. Over the years, ethnicity was confounded with the most accented traditionalism. Suffice that one element of the relation be pronounced for the entire chain to be put on the table. This time everything derived from an idea of N. Iorga who considered that certain trends of opinion in Romania echoed trends manifest abroad. Iorga was, naturally, hinting at fascist trends, and such echoes from Italy and Germany. "What is the formula of Romanian nationalism today?" The director of the newspaper resumed the matter in his characteristic style. "As much as I can see it is ethnicism. But is ethnicism an imported formula? As far as I know, it is not. It is true that in some countries like Germany, nationalism takes ethnic forms and justification. But this does not mean at all that our nationalism has been imported. Ethnic nationalism as a public formula is the reflex of certain historical structures. It was not possible at the time when the world wanted liberalism with all its corresponding elements called rationalism, democracy, idealism, Protestantism and who knows what." […] Sadoveanu said, in 1920, in an interview that "the religion of the Romanians is not limited to rituals and customs." Ralea commented on a striking observation by Crainic regarding the absence of religiosity with the Romanian people, in the belief that it could be remedied by political-educational measures. Along this line he replied to Crainic that this "reality is closely connected to the character of this nation, with the structure of society and the entire history of our civilization." But here changes cannot be brought no matter how many educational-political measures would be adopted. "If it happened thus it is because it could not be else…There is a social determinism compared to which the will – that at great moments we like to call creative – is less efficient than one might think." At another time, expressing regret at the reality, he noted: "The religion still worshipped by the peasant today is primitive, fetishist or natural. He is superstitious but atheist: not to embark on a journey on Tuesday or not to work on a certain day does not mean being religious. It is something different: a state of spirit consisting of scruples, dread, goodness and forgiving. Our Romanians, as they say, have nothing holy; which could translate that they do not observe any spiritual asset before logical instincts. Take for instance the Romanian national cuss phrases. It is hard to find a people to desecrate more voluptuously what ought to be considered sacred, as some of our social layers do when they air cuss words." And a year later: "A religious elite cannot be produced by an atheist people. In the current dearth of logic and common sense is mysticism the thing that we really lack? In the formidable crisis of liberty that we experience is it Orthodox intolerance that we actually need?" Finally, we should mention the opinions of former monk Arghezi on the religious phenomenon, on Orthodoxy and neo-Orthodoxy, in two addresses of 1928 and 1929. In 1928 he said: "Neither the chronicles nor statistics stand proof in point of Orthodox faith, and the fact that the Orthodox church would have lasted more than ten centuries with the Romanians does not compel to any tradition: the Orthodox church is and has remained alien. Faith translates in acts and the Orthodox faith is not represented by Romanian Orthodox acts in any religious field of application, miracles, proselytism, oratory, writings, propaganda, sacrifices. There is no initiative commanded by a religious feeling. Everything is copied after the Greeks, word by word, form by form, and the Romanians have added nothing to the Greek heritage. Neither spiritual deeds, nor saints. They just preserve the framework like a tenant holds to a leased apartment towards which he feels no obligation. Even more characteristic: the Orthodox church could not create with extremely abundant Romanian material an Orthodox clergy at least; or even less, Christian." Arghezi returned to the matter one more time in his magazine, replying to Sandu Tudor who had written back in connection with his first intervention that we quoted. In the same year, 1928, he answered to an inquiry by the magazine Kalende referring to the relation between Orthodoxy and folklore: "I do not believe that Orthodoxy can become the lodestar of Romanian culture as of 1928 because until this quite recent date it could not, for several centuries, get implanted in the mind of the Romanian people. More, not even in the heart of the Orthodox clergy who are also part of the Romanian people. No fairy tale or song has even hinted at any Orthodox sensitivity… Orthodoxy, as a philosophical justification of the Greek Church in Romania belongs to a few civilians who cannot complain they have had a rough time since the introduction of the Eucharist bread as a hors-d'oeuvre. The founder of neo-Orthodoxy was the poet Nichifor Crainic He mingled a synthetic thrifty spirit with a monastic unctuous elasticity, rich in succulence." The enmity of the professional Orthodox against Arghezi emerged on the spot and went so far as to join the denunciations, made between 1936 and 1937, of Arghezi's work as pornographic. In fact, the essay by Crainic from which we quoted, The Sense of Tradition, is a retort to the point of view in the Kalende against normative, dogmatic Orthodoxy. Pompiliu Constantinescu did not shy from answering this essay in the same Kalende. In his opinion, "Orthodox specificity is extracted from hypothesis and mystification, not from accomplishment in precise works." He also underlined the anomaly of creating an autochthonous theory on a religious background, from theses and ideas of foreign thinkers (Keyserling, Berdiaev, Unamuno). In the place of this imported traditionalism, the critic proposed the idea of Latinity and folklore which speak objectively about the substance of the national psychology. This does not verify the hypothesis of Orthodox ethnicism. "We repeat that our only tradition is folk poetry and folklore and, on the plane of loftier ideology, the Latin idea asserted by the chroniclers and the Transylvanian School. We cannot go beyond these cultural realities; the Orthodoxy of Slav expression was but a morganatic superposition of ritual without creative stamina and its sole contingency with literature resides in the actual care to pursue the philological matter of transposition, through translations, of a passive dogma of national expression." […] Nichifor Crainic worked with obsolete, racist concepts ("blood itself is a tradition, it is the biological tradition") long relegated by science. This concept had been proven invalid. The old racist notion proposed by Gobineau, founded on blood chemistry and anthropometry was demonstrated to be fallacious. Following extended investigations specialized researchers indicated that within the same people blood groups differ, just like anthropometric data (size and data in connection with the skull). That, on the contrary, the same blood type (as well as anthropometric data) can be found with different peoples that have nothing in common. In The Genesis of Culture Forms (1934) P. P. Negulescu proved throughout a lengthy book the fallacy of this race concept founded on the myth of blood community. Half-breeding has annulled this criterion over the centuries, invalidating it. This could be demonstrated only in small communities scattered in remote areas of the globe (Australia, Polynesia), bent unto themselves, with no contacts whatsoever. This isolation in tiny tribes dried them up and devastated them biologically instead of assuring their development. The fact, naturally, is not verified in the case of the Romanian people that lives in a territory so often trampled by migratory populations. The phenomenon still went on after the ethno-genesis and creation of the Romanian people ended. Purity of blood – and hence purity of the race – was a guilty vane illusion even if in the 1930s it was maintained by such race propounders like Al. Randa and his like who found room with their "studies" in the magazine of M. Manolescu, Lumea noua [New World]. (In 1941 this Al. Randa wrote: "The creation of a Romanian social consciousness is a primordial condition for the assertion of Romanianism in the world…This Romanian racism will, naturally, rely on the Arian myth…Romania's race foundations are the same with that of Arian Europe." In the character makeup of a people it is not purity of blood – actually inexistent – that is fundamental, and in general biological factors, but cultural circumstances. "We can thus infer," wrote Negulescu, "that life in common is the major factor in favor of psychological characters, and consequently, in creating the psychological types of peoples. We can even go farther and say that their life in common is the major factor that determines the very creation of peoples as ethnic units." Modern anthropology research in the field of genetics led by Claude Levy-Strauss fully corroborates his points of view. The ethnic that engendered the ethos should not be ungroundedly elevated to the size of explanatory factor, as Crainic used to do, for instance, in the creation of culture. The national specific is not "a metaphysical entity that would exceed the limits of sensitive experience" but a complex of characters common to a people with determined functions in the genesis of spiritual acts. These characters are not invariable but subject to modifications by the environment and history. The domain of the variable constant is psychology, that is those psychic characters of a people which in their ensemble make up types. Types and typology always presuppose differences. Where difference begins the possibility emerges of the creation a specific character because – isn't that so? – in the end, typological difference is another name for specificity, including national. Which is a common – therefore specific – type of reaction to natural phenomena of life, one modality to behave towards one's fellows, a unity in the variety of the types of behavior. The determining factor of this behavioral unit is represented – Negulescu insists – by the intellectual and moral formation, or in other words the spiritual (cultural) ambience in which the individual is formed. The ambience does not stay the same for ever because the very life conditions of the peoples are constantly changing. He buttressed up this assertion by a convincing example. A child born in France of French parents taken at birth to Germany and raised there in the specific German ambiance, with its language, habits and way of understanding life and nature, loses the inherited stock, and adapts to the spiritual structure acquired. We should not mix up, Negulescu insists, the idea of race and that of people or nation because "the former is a biological notion, the second a psychological and sociological one." The notion of people as a different psychological type is subject to fatal historicity and variability. The Romanian of today is not that of the 17th century, undoubtedly, just as the Romanian of the Phanariot epoch does not look like the Romanian at the time of Stephen the Great or Michael the Brave. This is not a mutation but a change that occurred slowly. This change takes place and is noticed in psychology to shape the psychology of the people. It is a reasonable point of view that meets the one put forth by other Romanian thinkers who meditated on the national specific. G. Ibraileanu, one of the theorists and defenders of the national specific theory, once observed: "This we is a people and not a race. The general psychology in which the writer's individual psychology participates is the psychology of a society and not of a race. There might have existed race psychologies – when there were pure races – but today there are no such races on earth and especially in Europe. All the peoples are a mixture of races, their characteristics blending (and resulting in chemical sums, partly interfering) in a whole that could be the psychology of a people since this mixture of races (peoples) lives day after day and further creates its special psychology."[…]We should resume here the discussion around Orthodoxy as a differentiating element of the specific nature of the Romanian people since the opinions of Nae Ionescu or Crainic do not exhaust the matter. Other similar opinions ought to be mentioned to round off the picture. In November 1938, Sextil Puscariu (who in December 1937 had publicly expressed his Iron Guard sympathies giving an enthusiastic answer to the inquiry of The Annunciation, "Why I believe in the victory of the Iron Guard") took the floor at the congress of the Romanian Orthodox Brotherhood of Targu Mures. In his word he showed: "What increases our worth in the eyes of the other countries today are not the outer forms of a civilization imported to an extent greater than can be assimilated but what differentiates us from any other people in the world, the contribution of originality that we bring to the concert of civilized nations. Our Orthodoxy is today the safest criterion of differentiation because we are the only Latin people in the world of Orthodox faith. This happy mixture of Latin blood with distinguished spiritual traits from the East elevates the worth of our race." Let us remember that in his History of the Romanian Literature. The Old Period (1921), he sets out from the idea that the Romanian Principalities, at the crossroads of Western and Byzantine cultures, were the meeting place of two trends, the failed attempts at Catholicization (see prince Vlaicu), and the Slav influence which grew even more. Then he comments lucidly on this irrefutable historical reality: "At a time when all cultural movement was reflected in the church, our Orthodoxism was the event with the most serious consequences for our cultural development because it tied us for centuries to the culture of the Orient, erecting a separating wall from the Catholicism of our neighbors in the west and in the north. The great movement of the Renaissance which came over our Polish and Hungarian neighbors later than with others, is closely connected to their Catholicism. If our Orthodoxy was the most powerful shield helping us preserve the language and nationality, it also posed a strong and continuous impediment to the western cultural trends. Even the idea of Latinity which naturally ought to have emerged with the passage of the Romanians through the humanist centuries underwent by our neighbors did not have a resounding echo for long. In exchange, the Orient with its vivid fantasy and unquenched thirst after new forms and rich colors, this inventive world to which we are bound by religion, combined with the ethnic propensities of Mediterranean origin of our nature above all endowed with a very accentuated sense of measure and harmony, had it that in this corner of south-eastern Europe, ruled by the Romanians, a specific culture be born." The opinion of 1921 on the same matter was visibly more poised critically than the one of 1938. Father Dumitru Staniloaie, commenting on the 1938 text of the great linguist finds himself in agreement but insists though on the purely religious aspects of the question, in a polemic directed against the Greek-Catholic circles of Blaj. To him Latinity appears only as a blood element. "It is no to avail that the Blaj circles show to us the example of the other Latin peoples which, although pertaining to the same form of Christianity, have never been confused among themselves. First we have the ethnic ambition of representing a more remarkably original note than the other peoples within the concert of Latinity, in which a non-Latin can hardly make important differences. We too are blessed by history with this originality made more outstanding by our Orthodoxy. Second, our destiny in case we adapted Catholicism and left the last source of original ethnic inspiration, could be in no way comparable to that of the other Latin peoples. They are people that developed culturally in synchrony, always close in point of level of culture. They did not shy from imitating each other, and Catholicism as a cultural repository has been created by the active contribution of each. A cultural life started from scratch, without any past foundations is impossible. Orthodoxy appears to us, especially after last-century's experience of solid imitation of the West, as the only supportive factor, creating ethnic originality within this Latinity. Owing to the synthesis between Latinity and Orthodoxy the Romanian people enjoys the privilege of being a people endowed with special traits and a unique culture. In our nature Orthodoxy represents the mystical haze of existence, and Latinity the positivistic pole, practically rationalist, of harsh and cold precision. Latinity is in itself a positivist spirit, just like Catholicism is. This character appears more marked with us because of the fact that we strengthen our Latinity by borrowing, but what we borrow has only a positivist not a spiritual content for us. Without this Orthodoxy we would present a most empty-hearted type of Latinity." More poised in his opinions than Nichifor Crainic, not desirous to turn Orthodoxy into a criterion to identify the Romanian soul, he presents Latinity, strangely, as one of the two poles of Romanian ethno-genesis, as an addition of the positivist and Catholic West and not a consubstantial factor. In the development of D. Staniloaie it is easy to detect the same endeavor to depict the Romanian people as belonging exclusively to the Orient, spiritually opposed to the West, and to everything that is imported.We have the view of a Romanian philosopher concerning the nation, where a balance is present not only in tone, but in the presentation of the prerequisites in the emergence of such a process in the evolution of a people. We thereby refer to Mircea Florian, who, as early as 1933, noted: "The conclusive factor in the conception of a nation is the subjective determinant given by the awareness of unity which is, beyond any doubt, the work of the modern state. May one, perhaps, speak of a nation with only external factors ignorant of their identity involved? Beyond any doubt: no. Antiquity and the Middle Ages knew of peoples, not nations. The nation, taken as a collective individuality, is a product of the conscience of the 'self,' of reflecting over the conditions which bind together a category of people. In a nutshell: the nation is a modern concept and its molding is concurrent with the inception of new thought. The modern nation is knit together in a state form: the ideal is, therefore, represented by the national state. Not only did the new philosophy not protest thereto, but it constituted the strongest ideological support to that unheard-of change in structure and order within social life. The national state is the work of an enhanced philosophical conscience." The equanimity of this rationale must be sought in its normality. No trace of the imperative tone employed by others against the state can be seen; these deemed the state as an imported contraption not alien but hostile to the Romanian soul and to the traditional habitudes of the people. In good measure and in good sense, we would add, if it were not unbecoming for a philosopher, Florian propounds the acceptance of the notion that, in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, peoples, but not nations existed, that the latter emerged in the modern era and that this emergence is essentially co-existent with the forming of the modern national state. That is to say, the self-same state accused by traditionalists of being an allogeneic import structure, all-destructive with regard to the preservation of the national being. We would venture out to say that such utterances were singular. We have winnowed this for it is engendered by a good thinker, who, with wisely consideration, was at home with the meaning of "a Romanian philosophy," and, who, among others, reached the conclusion that merely philosophizing, and not philosophy, can be national.At the height of the controversy on the postulation of Romanianism, the discussion was interpolated by philosopher Constantin Rădulescu-Motru. In reality, the issue was not that of idle polemics but of furthering a new understanding of the Romanian substance. The philosopher was renowned for his conservative views, worded as early as 1904 in his work Political Culture and Politicianism [Petty Politics]. On the appearance of Lovinescu's three volumes of The History of Civilization between 1924-1926, the philosopher protested against the book from a traditionalist-conservative stand. And, these were not his only manifest attitudes in that spirit. At that time he had become a political convert, as a new member of the NPP [National Peasants' Party], and in this capacity, on account of his prestige, he was appointed president of the Center of Studies of the party. The NPP was at the time undergoing great intestine turmoil: Maniu had furiously left the leadership of the party, with the presidency devolved upon by Ion Mihalache. Determined to revitalize the party in both an ideological and political way and monitored by the leftist youth therein, Mihalache and the left-wing group (Ralea, P. Andrei, Ghelmegeanu, Ernest Ene etc.) set out on the campaign for a new program. The core idea thereof was the necessity of Romania turning into a peasant state. This would be neither the time nor place to dwell upon the details of this program which also had a left-wing connotation to it. In reality, the program was only on a formal level the work of the party Center for Scientific Studies, but de facto the work of Ralea who, with the aid of a few close collaborators, published its first version in Romanian Life of February 1935, under the title Perspectives on the Peasant's Movement in the Face of New Trends. Motru, who had his own standpoint on the matter, "materialized" it in a work of his own, which was not so much a work of ideology, political science or sociology as one of a philosophical nature, more specifically, the philosophy of culture. It was a meditation on the Romanian Phenomenon. It should be said that the author started publishing extracts in magazines, among which The Royal Foundation Review. The public response would, therefore, occur even before the issue of the book. Motru's work also had an inciting title. It read: Romania. The Catechism of a New Spirituality and was overtly joining the debate surrounding Romanianism. And, again, the perspective was original, in championing a clean-cut outlook from the rest.Most obviously, along the lines of Maiorescu's theory on content-devoid forms, he started by criticizing our Frenchified civilization and the forming of a state on the foundation of new riches. He then proceeded by establishing a distinction between nationalism and Romanianism. Traditional, read "positive" nationalism had in the previous century led to the restoration of the country, including the political, by virtue of her acknowledgement by the Great Western Powers. "Romanianism is distinct. It represents the spirituality which would credit one with merit and, as such, shed light on our soul. It is on account of 19-century nationalism that we have found a place amongst the sovereign states of Europe; it is on account of Romanianism that we shall have a mission in European history." Further: "By allowing Romanianism to triumph, we secure the future buttressing of our race and, at the same time, act in the spirit of our times. What present-day Europe asks from its peoples is an honest attempt of distinction amongst the national types by their original traits." Further, in evoking the title of his book that promoted not so much a new concept as a new interpretation thereof, as opposed to the older nationalism, the philosopher consciously explained: "A reader formed in the 19 century school of thought, which still to this day (1936) dominates the Romanian mind, will embrace the present title with skepticism. What would be the novelty in a spirituality like Romanianism, after the array of amply discussed kin such as nationalism, irredentism, patriotism, autochthonousness, peasant's movement, ethnicism. Is Romanianism not also a mere spiritualization of a wish, following the example of yet so many past spiritualizations?" After this interrogation – not abruptly, but in concentric movements – ensues the definition of the propounded concept: "We take a larger view of spirituality (as opposed to the Church, our note) to assimilate it with the human history of culture. To us, spirituality is a cluster of ideas and feelings, especially, the multitude of symbolic readings by which the society of an epoch justifies its belief in a perfect and eternal order to be installed pending its lifetime. But for faith in a perfect and eternal order which should render earthly life meaningful, there would be no spirituality." Further, he continues the dissociation, observing: "A blind faith in the old spirituality of nationalism would, in our culture, be a lack of foresight, to say the least. Once we have entered an outside school of nationalism, we are obliged to follow through the evolution of that particular nationalism. Perhaps a new type of spirituality would better serve the interests of our nation. Why should we, on principle, forbid the investigation of the new horizon of European spirituality. This can but only be of help." Finally, following the considerable amount of distinctions and rationales, he closes in on the definition: "Romanianism is, in our opinion, the type of spirituality which puts in harmony the requirements of Romanian life with the new European awareness. Romanianism is attuned to our times, as was nationalism to the past." What it has brought new to the European spirituality is "more social realism and a placement of the social before the individual… The policy of hereditary order is the accomplishment of the bold and non-delusional self. Accomplish what is within your power and not what may spring from your illusions: that is the political slogan sported hitherto by the new European spirit… Romanianism does not ground on illusion lest it should thereafter be forced to defend itself with two-faced eulogies. It grounds on factual reality. Biological and psychological sciences give, at present, sufficient instruments which may enable one to measure and classify the aptitudes of a social entity. These sciences are able to unravel in honesty both the degree of livelihood and the downs touched by our people. Nationalist language, as beautiful as it may sound, does not count as much as scientific analogies and facts." Naturally, in addition, he did not circumvent the religious phenomenon of which he worded an opinion that greatly upset those who had turned it into a doctrinarian profession: "The religious feeling is a certain recommendation for a higher culture. Humans conquer beasthood by the virtuality instilled in their souls by religiousness. But religiousness must be ascertained in reality. It should not be mistaken for the gregarious spirit shown by cowards and animals. It can not be conjured up as feelings of hate can. Religion unites, it does not put asunder. In the age of traditional nationalism, the religious feeling most commonly served as an instrument of hatred. Romanianism does not resort to hatred, as it does not resort to illusions. It has recourse to the sense of reality. Romanianism is a spirituality meant to justify a realistic order." Finally, we find it appropriate to quote the opinion which differentiates Romanianism from the Eastern Church doctrine: "Persisting in the confusion – Rădulescu-Motru stresses – between Romanianism and the Eastern Church is to the detriment of both… What makes us dissent? One single reason, but that, more stronger than all other. Romanianism and Orthodoxy cannot blend without impairing upon one another, for the structure of one spirituality is utterly different from the other. The Eastern Church doctrine cannot be of service to a nationalist spirit without forfeiting its Christian religious essence; and Romanianism cannot follow the grounds of Orthodoxy but at the cost of abdicating from its role of progress advocate in the economic and political order of Romania. Verily, Orthodoxy, as a form of the Christian spirit, must unto ages of ages prevail upon earthly interests. Its substance is revelation. Perpetual revelation. The Eastern Church doctrine can be decoded by examining the traditions, but cannot be modernized in the spirit of the times. The calling of Orthodoxy is, unto the ages of ages, to preserve the teachings of Christ in their unaltered version. Romanianism is, by contrast, the spirit which provides the instrument for keeping pace with time, for growing into modernity. It is the fire which purges our ethnical heritage to render it capable of original creation. Orthodoxy is tradition, Romanianism is vocation." Motru presented Crainic's Orthodoxism in its true colors, intended for transfer into political capital by setting up a thus-based doctrinal program, called ethnocracy. As we would phrase it today – he was in fact ascribing a fundamentalist, restrictive and chauvinist meaning to a religion, Orthodoxy, whose main guidelines reside in loving one's neighbor and not in hatred against fellow humans, irrespective of their denominations. For this very reason, the philosopher insisted on specifying the delimitation of Romanianism from xenophobia: "Romanianism implies severe discipline, both in thought and in feat. It requires on the part of those who practice it, obdurate self-criticism. Xenophobia does not equate Romanianism. Neither does it nationalistic demagogy. Romanianism is a pledge of allegiance to the resilience of the earth and of the Romanian people. Further, it represents a solemn vow to sustain the family structure. Finally, it is a policy of opting for value, to the very point of cruelty… Romanianism is not fascism, is not racism, is not anti-Semitism… but is mere Romanianism… The ideology of Romanianism has two aspects. One is that of negative criticism, the other is that of constructive work." After invoking the model of the Junimea [Youth] literary circle and, especially, that of Maiorescu, who had worded the well-known principle of "nationalism within the boundaries of truth," he adds: "Romanianism is neither xenophobia, as held by some, neither Orthodoxy, as held by others, but a nationalism taken further and integrated into the requirements of the times. It is Nationalism without the historical conditions of Europe, tailored on the distinct nature of our people. Xenophobia is either a sign of primitiveness or that of degenerate nationalism. In primitive times, any people can be instigated to hate aliens… In our times, xenophobia is a political weapon used by those who practice nationalistic demagogy. To these, nationalism is not a tension required by a higher spirit, but a husbandry of appetites before a looting."[…]We shall proceed in commenting on the voices of lucid – democratic spirits who have warned their contemporaries against the peril of nationalism if inflated into aggressive intolerance. At the onset of this troubled decade, Romanian Life cautioned as early as 1930: "For, anything that might have been imputed to our country, it had an undeniable quality: it lacked that beastly cruelty and that taste for blood, characteristic to some Balkan peoples. If we indulge on this path, hard days lie ahead of us. The status of the intellectual may become unbearable. Being an intellectual signifies thinking free. Science and culture were not allowed to emerge in terrorist countries. As indicated – ideas are fought with ideas. They cannot be subject to other treatments, lest they wither and vanish… The Inquisition has ruined an enthused and knightly country: Spain. Will we have to mute our fantasy at gunpoint?… The times are more serious and threatening than a hardened skeptic might, with a light smile and a farcical air, acknowledge. Intellectuals of any breed and trend must make common front. And that, soon enough." One year later, Perpessicius also protested: "Again – that somewhat furious trend of the good Romanian. The reader is, of course, familiar with the heresy: rumor has it that indigenous inhabitants are of two kinds, the good and the bad, the plagued and the sweet-smelling, less from their intentions or actions, but from the point of view taken by the honorable censors of our public and national life… And, how much longer now shall this cocky nonsense prevail? Will mystification end, once and for all? Will good sense not descend within the concrete walls of the-office-which-forges-national-certificates? Not 'good Romanians' but humans, only humans, gentlemen, suffices."Unfortunately, these warnings fell on deaf ears. […]Eliade's concern over Romanianism was constant; a moderate and clever Romanianism which placed him up to 1936-1937 at a cosmic distance from intolerance and fundamentalism. In 1933 he stood against the trend insinuated amongst certain young intellectuals, to feel ashamed for being Romanian or even to distance oneself from that quality by denial. This, because – or so they professed – Romanianism would not fit philosophical thinking and any creation of the intellect, in general. They might then reproach Romanians for not experiencing dramas, conflicts or not being suicidal out of metaphysical despair. "Those who segregate themselves from the destiny of being born Romanian have a poor judgment of the merits and demerits of this people. What they wish is: issue-raising, dilemmas, heroics – but the Romanian people are utterly unfamiliar with doubt, and heroes are seen through the lens of familiarity. For a young intellectual faith and doubt are of a philosophical value…; to a Romanian, there is no doubt, his/her belief has a natural flow, without the "problem area"; the Romanian peasant is a realist: see the Proverb Collections to understand his response to the temptations of idealism and criticism brought by interacting peoples… It is tr