When democratic leftists embrace illiberal ideologies, they normalise the fascism of the European New Right
Anders Breivik: A disciple of the New Right’s Guillaume Faye
The death of socialism has been like the fall of some rainforest giant, leaving a space for lesser growths. For most of the 20th century socialism — the government control of the economy — was the aim of most left-wing movements, no matter their disagreements about its form or the means to achieve it. With socialism discredited by its real practice and the success of capitalism, other movements, some of which would have once been anathema to left-wingers, have filled the ideological space. Where Marxism once promised industrial abundance, environmentalism condemns abundance as evil. Whereas once it was hoped that all divisions of race, nation and creed could be superseded by universal cosmopolitanism, identity politics proclaims that men are the inescapable product of their background and it is wrong to expect them to abandon it.
Connected is the familiar spectacle of democratic leftists excusing and defending Islamism and other anti-liberal movements. The Guardian published a eulogy for Hugo Chavez that called his regime a credible alternative to the “current neo-liberal order”.
You can dismiss this stuff as morally frivolous, but it is dangerous. There are those that are willing and able to cash in when anti-liberal ideas are normalised. This applies most obviously to those so defended, but there is another group that reads such words with enjoyment. This is the so-called European New Right.
In the film The Sum of All Fears the mastermind declares: “Most people believe that the 20th century was defined by the death struggle of Communism versus Capitalism, and that Fascism was just a hiccup. Today we know better. Communism was a fool’s errand; the followers of Marx are gone from this earth, but the followers of Hitler abound and thrive.”
This is oddly prescient. Despite its name, the New Right has nothing to do with neoconservatism, libertarianism or old-fashioned conservatism. Its roots lie in the realisation of fascist intellectuals that a return to power was impossible until the cultural atmosphere had been sufficiently changed. This involved a deep reverse engineering and repackaging of the fascist legacy, most prominently in the French Nouvelle Droite.
Under the lead of Alain de Benoist, the ND allowed fascists to think of themselves as something other than defeated. Instead of resentful losers, they were keepers of the faith during the interregnum: our current society of liberal democracy, cosmopolitanism, mixed economy, and human rights. When these false idols are discredited, the faithful would guide European civilisation back to its rightful path.
Taking this into consideration, left-wing anti-liberalism assumes a new importance. Democratic rightists such as myself may roll our eyes when James Lovelock says fixing global warming requires the “temporary” suspension of democracy, and fan our armpits when Sue Blackmore frets in the Guardian about whom “we” will allow to live and who to die. We can do this because it is tacitly understood that such people are phoneys. Neither Lovelock nor Blackmore have the power to back up their statements, nor the will to get the power, nor the nerve to use it if they did. But what do you make of a statement like this:
Hitler’s racism, however, is only one form of racism […] There are other forms of racism – cultural (asserting that there are high and low cultures), civilisational (dividing people into those civilised and those insufficiently civilised).
This might seem a standard piece of post-modern, left-wing drivel. It is, however, taken from The Fourth Political Theory, by Alexander Dugin, the Russian New Right theorist who believes in a Eurasian empire “from Dublin to Vladivostok”, and that the Waffen-SS was “an intellectual oasis in the framework of the National Socialist regime”. Though in fairness, Dugin also glorifies Stalinist Russia.
This is the difference between the new Left and the New Right: the New Right mean it. When it comes to providing an anti-democratic, anti-globalisation, radically environmentalist, identitarian alternative to the neo-liberal order, they really mean it, and have a real chance of getting it.
This is particularly true, as there is a schism in the New Right’s ranks. The orthodox branch of Alain de Benoist and Alexander Dugin phrase their appeal in terms of diversity, “the cause of the peoples”. In effect, it is a division of turf — et Muslim communities be ruled by shariah if white communities can be ruled by fascism, and the overall political structure is a New Right one. This naturally comes along with a great deal of anti-Semitism repackaged as anti-Zionism, and a visceral hatred of American hegemony.
Rather more dangerous and more radical is the dissident faction lead by Guillaume Faye. To his credit, Faye has gotten himself into trouble with his former comrades for saying loudly that the Holocaust did happen, that there is no sinister Jewish conspiracy responsible for the world’s ills, that obsessive anti-Americanism is ridiculous, and that all of these are pathetic ways of avoiding responsibility. If you wonder how someone can be more dangerous while jettisoning the most vile elements of fascism, it is that there is a difference between evil and danger. Faye’s revision has allowed his ideas to spread as far away as India, given his emphasis on alliances with Hindu fascists like the RSS and Shiv Sena. Recent developments in European fringe movements suggest that Faye’s line is the one being followed, leading to the bizarre spectacle of parties like the Belgian Vlaams Belang and the French Front National being more outspoken about the issue of anti-Semitism and Jew-bashing than the liberal mainstream.
No one should conclude, on this basis, that Faye has becomes more liberal. If you consult his magnum opus Archeofuturism, you find that he outlines an anti-democratic, EuroSiberian empire in which “the descendants of the great waves of extra-European immigration” have been deported to Madagascar. This may ring a bell.
Faye’s name is unfamiliar, the name of one of his admirers is not: Anders Behring Brevik. Brevik’s belief in political union with Russia, mass cloning to replenish white stocks, and the rest, is a straight lift from Faye. That you have not heard this has something to do with the fact that, scrambling to smear the democratic Right, the mainstream media failed to do its research. However,”the Breivik action” is already hailed in the dank recesses of the internet, as “the first Archeofuturist victory”.
Faye may well be the most dangerous man in Europe. His ability to synthesize has allowed the creation of a fascist international, from Bombay to Boston, one quite willing to kill. This is the final inheritance from the modern Left: it has built a perfect engine of excuses for the violence of Islamic fascists and never asked whether other fascists might make use of it. This will only get worse as more and more are repelled by the foulness of Islamic jihad and start looking for answers outside the mainstream.
I have believed for some time that the modern Left is dying, undone by its utter inability to offer solutions to the problems we face. If that is so, then the crucial argument of the 21st century will not be between Right and Left, but between the democratic Right and the fascist Right.