Venner went on to discuss two of his major influences: Charles Maurras and Ernst Jünger. He admired Maurras’ hard-nosed character and his courage in the face of ordeals. After his trip to Athens in 1898, Maurras returned a convinced pagan, an inspiring thought to Venner. Venner looked to Homer as the foundation of European civilization: nature as the base, excellence as the principle, and beauty as the horizon.
Those values he received from Maurras who, however, was never confused about the true French identity which was created by the forty Catholic kings of France. While the foundation is important, the structure arising from it is what counts.
Jünger was authenticated by his life, in Venner’s eyes. Venner was moved by Jünger’s high spirituality formed in the forests and nature. He quotes St. Bernard:
You will find more in the forests than in books. The trees will teach you things that no master will tell you.
That is the spirituality of Jünger’s French and Gaulish ancestors, which is what Venner terms “tradition”, which “develops in us without our knowing it.”
Venner never mentioned that both Maurras and Jünger converted to Catholicism before their death. It is hard to believe that, in such thoughtful men, that was from weakness or ignorance. Most likely, it is the correct conclusion of old men who have known nature, excellence, and beauty, yet were still seeking for their fulfillment. Ironically, in Venner’s words, in those men tradition slowly developed within them. Venner makes the choice starkly clear: conversion or suicide. Mock me if you will, I am just trying to save you many years of lost time, if not suicide.