07 Nov 2014

The Reactionary Aphorisms of Nicolás Gómez Dávila

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davila
Nicolás Gómez Dávila (18 May 1913 – 17 May 1994)

Nicolás Gómez Dávila was a Colombian conservative intellectual, who deserves to be much better known in the United States.

Gómez Dávila was an aristocrat of independent means, who contemplated Modernity with distant contempt from the agreeable vantages of the jockey club and his own enormously large library. He declined either to lecture at the university or to express himself at length, preferring merely to express his criticism of contemporary delusions in the form of aphorisms which he called “escolios” (or “glosses”).

Some have described his aphorisms as “one part Nietszche, one part Ambrose Bierce.”

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Some examples:

The reactionary today is merely a traveler who suffers shipwreck with dignity.

The Gospels and the Communist Manifesto are on the wane; the world’s future lies in the power of Coca-Cola and pornography.

Writing is the only way to distance oneself from the century in which it was one’s lot to be born.


It is not just that human trash accumulates in cities—it is that cities turn what accumulates in them into trash.

With the disappearance of the upper class, there is nowhere to take refuge from the smugness of the middle class and the rudeness of the lower class.

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Chris Morgan, at the American Conservative, on “Don Colacho’s Epitaphs.”

Wikipedia article

A collection of his aphorisms in English translation.

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