Bruce Charlton and Fascism, Pete Seeger and Communism

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.


About thrasymachus33308

I like fast cars, fast women and southern-fried rock. I have an ongoing beef with George Orwell. I take my name from a character in Plato's "Republic" who was exasperated with the kind of turgid BS that passed for deep thought and political discourse in that time and place, just as I am today. The character, whose name means "fierce fighter" was based on a real person but nobody knows for sure what his actual political beliefs were. I take my pseudonym from a character in an Adam Sandler song who was a obnoxious jerk who pissed off everybody.
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13 Responses to Bruce Charlton and Fascism, Pete Seeger and Communism

  1. Dark Enlightenment baby!
    Once you take the pill everything becomes clear.

  2. Ryu says:

    Let PC culture kill all innovation in the US. They’ll get exactly what the USSR got. The US will die one piece at a time. One can kill PC culture by making it uncool. It’s for squares, man.

  3. Hizzle says:

    “European” is too broad a term to mean anything, I think. The only consensus among Europeans is that the elite and the press love the Euro while the average citizen in the Euro Zone doesn’t like the Union at the very least, and also takes issue with the currency.

    You seem to place particular emphasis on the English, who are powerful, but I think it would be reductionist to ignore the German influence on American culture (Scandinavians also hew to this line). Your average History Channel buff thinks German = Nazi, but everything from socialism to abolitionism had its start there.

    The traditional meaning of terms like liberal (an enlightenment thinker) or conservative (one who is for the traditional order) have completely lost their meaning in America. American liberals focus primarily on deceiving themselves (PC, Multiculturalism, the inability to acknowledge the fact that Wall Street isn’t Republican) while American conservatives focus primarily on fooling others (Global Warming is a myth, or Trickle Down Economics actually works).

    To show how insane this system is, a Paleocon like Buchanan or a loon like Ross Perot is certainly more liberal (at least in pro-worker, anti-globalist terms) than someone who’s supposed to be a progressive, like Bloomberg or either of the Clintons.

    I feel worst for the tea-party/Breitbart/ Pajama Media/ Constitutionalists types because they always play by the rules and they always lose.

  4. Candide III says:

    > and the ideal of complete personal liberation, particularly of women and particularly sexual was never a part of [communism]
    Gay liberation wasn’t — at least I never heard of it — but liberation of women certainly was, and that included sexual relations. Among Lenin’s first decrees was one taking away marital matters from the jurisdiction of the churches and one instituting no-fault divorce. Other decrees contained equal pay provisions, instituted maternity leave etc. Ideas of sexual liberation were current both among the ideologues, like Kollontai, and in a cruder form among the revolutionary people, especially youngsters.

    • Candide III says:

      And going back a bit, the destruction of family and the community of women were declared as Communist goals in Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto in 1848.

      • Candide III says:

        I made one comment before this one to the effect that Lenin’s bolsheviks were true to the Communist manifesto with respect to family and women’s rights. Among Lenin’s first decrees were decrees introducing no-fault divorce, taking marriage out of Church jurisdiction, equalizing pay and instituting maternity leave. There was much sexual liberation both at the top levels (Kollontai, Armand) and in the revolutionary masses, especially youth (cup-of-water theory).

  5. JB says:

    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.

    It can’t function but by the time it dies it will have had more than enough time to ensure that your society gets ground into the dust forever. It’s the colonialism that makes it permanent. There’s no waiting it out.

  6. Peter Blood says:

    Stalin rolled a lot of that back. Stalin was a reactionary, if you can stomach it, and was more of a National Bolshevist than a Communist.

    I’ve read some things that Trotsky wrote about the family. Maybe he was a demon. It was a good thing Stalin did to put an icepick in the thing’s head.

    • Peter Blood says:

      I’d like to know how my comment gets put in the middle, since I was replying to Candide III below.

    • Candide III says:

      Some of it. Stalin suppressed the heady sexual exuberance of the Kollontai sort, but the fraction of employed women climbed and climbed until women were laying railways, and so on. He had a way of adopting the policies of his enemies after he destroyed them.

  7. And the left has pretty much abandoned economic issues anyway, in favor of sexual ones.

    The Left offers complete sexual freedom in return for the abrogation of all other freedoms,

  8. josh says:

    “and the ideal of complete personal liberation, particularly of women and particularly sexual was never a part of it.”

    Where do you get this? The communist manifesto was the manifesto of a group of wackos of direct descent from the Babeuf conspiracy (by way of Buonarotti). Personal liberation was at the heart of it from the beginning.

  9. CamelCaseRob says:

    In this part of a sentence of yours “but was more likely to be inspired by racism and classism, things which communism rightly opposed.” Are you saying that communism as communism was right to oppose racism and classism, or are you saying YOU oppose them?

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