Bruce Charlton got to discussing fascism recently, in the context of “neo-fascism” and the Dark Enlightenment, and he appended some previously published thoughts to the effect that any secular right movement would be called fascist by the left and this would be essentially true.
Charlton frames it as “common sense” versus “political correctness”. Bourgeois liberals- liberals in the sense of libertarian conservatives, or liberal in the sense of being what is called liberal but pro-business, try to carve out a space between these things in what is called mainstream conservatism- ecumenically religious, interventionist socially in education but not in terms of legal privilege for blacks, and placing confidence in a strong market economy to smooth over social frictions. And yet the relentless logic of these two things- PC in the familiar contraction, and CS as Charlton uses to designate its opponent- grind away endlessly at each other, making the idiot fiction of bourgeois liberalism almost as hard to maintain and the idiot fiction of leftism.
PC, Western progressivism or leftism shouldn’t be confused with communism. Communism was or is indeed a communal ideology, and the ideal of complete personal liberation, particularly of women and particularly sexual was never a part of it. If Pete Seeger was ever going to have a real break from communism, it might have been over Castro quarantining- or less politely jailing- HIV patients.
The relentless grinding is mostly one way, and yet Pete Seeger did make a partial and grudging retreat from his pro-communism. Was he ever really a communist? I think not, because of what and who he really was. He was a Western progressive, and as such deep down he thought communism was great for benighted Catholic and Orthodox countries but a little simplistic for imposition under the English empire. So pro-communist is probably a better description.
As much as the Western elite loves communism, it had to go from being pro-communist in the 1940’s to anti-anti-communist in the 1950’s, due to the disgust and revulsion the common European has for communism. The European is by nature a nationalist, a fascist. Managing fascism has been the basic problem of the elite since it came into existence, but sometimes when managing a troublesome force you need to pick your battles.
The position then changed from communism as a positive good, to communism as a possibly less than optimal response to real and legitimate social ills. Opposition to communism could possibly be in response to its suboptimality, but was more likely to be inspired by racism and classism, things which communism rightly opposed.
The danger the elite told us was excess- excessive zeal against communism, which could easily, and most probably would, spiral out of control. The old right refused this argument- as Barry Goldwater famously said, “Extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice.” Traditional Republicans of the Bush type- not liberals in the progressive sense, but what Moldbug would call Whigs- accepted this, as they always found the non-elite revulsion to communism itself repulsive.
A certain segment of conservatives split the difference, emphasizing the practical failures of socialist policies without taking too much moral question with it. Reagan and Thatcher represented people who were comfortable with a certain amount of socialism to smooth out the rough edges of life- the “safety net” of Peggy Noonan’s coining, if I remember correctly- but didn’t want bums and freeloaders taking a ride. But this compromise is dead. It accomplished certain relatively significant things, but having accomplished them, is irrelevant. And the left has pretty much abandoned economic issues anyway, in favor of sexual ones.
There has been a long splitting of the difference on sexual issues- women who didn’t want to be subservient to a man could be nuns, maiden teachers, nurses or have other female professions. Men who wanted to have sex with other men could do so discreetly, and no one cared. The left has now decided to refuse to accept any difference-splitting, correctly realizing that this is what led to their partial setbacks from the 1960’s to the 1980’s.
The relentless press of the left on sexual, or “family” issues leaves the traditionalists with no room. For Charlton Christianity is the answer, but Christianity is on the verge of being illegal in any orthodox form, and most people aren’t willing to do something overtly illegal.
PC can’t be killed, as far as I can tell, so it will have to be a victim of its own success. A completely PC society can’t function, so the best we can do is withdraw our support for it and hope it will die a little quicker.