Who is Nicolás Gómez Dávila? A Colombian writer and thinker, born in 1913. He came from a semi-aristocratic background – a Spanish family of colonial landlords. Entirely an autodidact, he never attended a university, despite being among the founders of the Los Andes University of Bogotá and having amassed a private library of more than 30.000 books.
He barely ever stepped outside his library, devoting his life entirely to literature and a close circle of friends. He was offered lots of official positions, among them “chief advisor to the state president” and “ambassador in London”. He simply didn’t care. Being a classical aristocrat of both spirit and background, he despised most of the modern world, especially liberalism, socialism and democracy. I compiled some quotes from his works.
This list is not from Wikiquote or goodreads.com or anything like that; some of it, I translated from Spanish; some of it, I translated from other languages, some of it I found in English. Anyway, I hope you can enjoy his aphorisms which take you to another time and, perhaps, another world.
The first step of wisdom is to happily understand that there is no reason why anyone would be interested in our ideas.
“Benefitting society” is the pretension (or excuse) of a prostitute.
A revolutionary discovers the “true spirit of the revolution” only when he stands in front of a revolutionary tribunal sentencing him to death.
Only defenders of lost things are safe from the horrible applause of idiots.
The Sphinx does not devour those, who solve its riddles – only those, who give the most stupid answers.
The most alarming sign of decadence is the decay of hypocrisy.
“Feudal anarchy” is the word which democratic terrorism uses to slander the only period of tangible freedom known to us.
Every civilization is a dialogue with death.
Religious rituals may not improve ethical behavior, but they sure do improve manners.
More than a Christian, I may be a heathen who started believing in Christ.
Freedom, equality, brotherhood. The democratic program consists of three stages: the liberal stage, in which a bourgeois society is formed that leans towards socialism; the egalitarian stage, in which a soviet society is formed that leans towards the New Left; the brotherly stage, consisting of junkies living next to each other without a sorrow in the world.
Marx may win battles, but Malthus will win the war.
A monarch is the prose of monarchy; a monarchist – the poetry.
Only those who never moved a finger to acquire them should talk about money and power.
A political position has nothing to do with social status; there are reactionaries in rags and crowned leftists.
The terrorist is the liberal’s grandchild.
Discipline, hierarchy and order are aesthetical values.
Rich people are only harmless when there is an aristocracy to despise them.
There is no upper class or common people anymore: only rich and poor plebs.
The bad habit of the Right is cynicism, the bad habit of the Left – deception.
Civilized individuals are not a product of civilization; they are the reason for its existence.
It is good to demand of an imbecile to respect art, literature, philosophy and science,- but he should do so in silence.
Marxism and psychoanalysis are spells, not technologies.
The history of “progress” is a tale about humanity complicating life in vain.