The Need for Authoritarianism

The propagation of Enlightenment philosophy led to an obsession with liberty and freedom in Western Europe. This is how we ended up with Classical Liberalism in its various forms. I should not need to point out the flaws of Liberalism for anyone reading this. Certain Liberal (in the original sense of the word) tendencies remain in right-wing political theory, even in the “alt-right” with the ever-increasing Liberalism for Whites™ crowd. However, this has caused some on the “right,” like the contingent of libertarians and anarcho-capitalists, to react with hostility toward absolutism and centralized government.

In a previous article, I highlighted Juan Donoso Cortes‘ theory of repression and the need for internal discipline through religion, specifically Christianity. Liberalism fails to address the issue of governing a degenerate populace and, indeed, contributes to such a problem. In my article, I quoted Cortes, appropriately called the Cassandra of the Modern era, on the possibility of a restoration. I shall reproduce it here:

There is only one thing that can avert the catastrophe—one and only one: we shall not avert it by granting more liberty, more guarantees and new constitutions; we shall avert it if all of us, according to our strength, do our utmost to stimulate a healthy reaction—a religious reaction. Now is this possible, Gentlemen? Yes, it is. But is it likely? I answer in deepest sorrow: I do not think it is likely. I have seen and known many men who returned to their faith after having separated themselves from it; unfortunately, I have never known any nation which returned to the Faith after having lost it.1

The likelihood of a religious restoration seems almost non-existent. The idea of some powerful preacher arising and converting the masses of apostates and heathens in Europe and America is quite fanciful. Likewise, the Great Monarch2 is probably not just around the corner. Cortes does offer a potential way out of the mess of modernity: authoritarianism, personified in the Dictator.

No one really likes the idea of an all-powerful authoritarian autocrat, unless it’s one who supports their ideals, of course. Even so, absolutism eventually becomes wearisome, both for the ruler and for the ruled. Dictatorship has never really been viewed as a satisfactory form of government, at least not over the long term. Why is it worth considering, then? For Cortes, dictatorship is to the political order what a miracle is to the natural order. It is an intrusion, a rare exception, that is worth considering when the circumstances are dire in order to impose legitimacy and restore order from chaos. We can witness this all throughout history, with dictators arising in Greece, Rome, China, Germany, and so on. After the Age of Revolution, the option was desirable, which is why the twentieth century had so many autocracies.

How, though, is such a concept relevant to us today? Didn’t the right-wing leaders fail, seeing as how none of their regimes have survived? Those directed toward the material, like race and genetic purity, were destined to fail, which the National Socialists and Fascists of the alt-right don’t understand. A transcendent element must be present. Without this higher aspect, man cannot fix his problems, which are rooted in the soul through sin, not in the material realm. This is why Francisco Franco, Salazar, Dollfuß, and Codreanu, despite their imperfections, were much more promising than their contemporaries and could have achieved lasting success. They serve as a model for a prospective elite looking for political change in the near future.

Let’s take Franco as an example. Spain had been the center of the Catholic world ever since the so called “Reformation.” Yet, the Liberal infection had found its way in and had spread abundantly by the time of Cortes (which is why he advocated for dictatorship) which destabilized the nation and resulted in numerous changes in government within a short period of time. Franco, well-suited to answer the call of his countryman from decades earlier, took control of the counterrevolutionary forces of the civil war after the coup. He successfully imposed himself upon Spain, defeated the revolutionaries, established himself as leader, and crushed any dissidents.

Yet, none of this is really what made him great; other right-wing strongmen had done the same. It’s what Franco did after he took power that distinguishes him. The Catholic Church supported the Nationalists in the civil war. Franco, whether or not he was a devout Catholic, understood the importance of the Church, especially to Spain, and reciprocated by holding up Catholicism as the state religion and granting it special privileges. Religious education in accordance with Catholic dogma was made mandatory, the state financed the Church in the construction and reconstruction of its buildings after the war as well as paying priests’ salaries, and the Church was guaranteed a voice in the media; the Church, in turn, allowed Franco to participate in the selection of Spanish bishops.3

“Medieval” Spain, the great defender of Catholicity, was back from the dead. Mass attendance went up, the seminaries started producing more priests, pilgrimages became commonplace, and anti-Catholic literature was banned and suppressed.4 No doubt my position as a Catholic colors my view, but Spain had regained its religious spirit. It was thriving, an oddity in the decaying modern world. But the dream did not last. The infelicitous decade of the 1960s occurred. The Second Vatican Council modernized the Church and the new hip and progressive Papacy could not endorse unenlightened Spain, so they betrayed Franco. They disendorsed Franco’s policies and promoted freedom of expression, association, religion, etc., the same “freedoms” that had been condemned by previous Popes.5 Clerical reform collapsed the reactionary Spanish church, Franco lost the most vital component to Spanish success, and Liberalism and Progressivism could no longer be contained. Spain democratized after Franco’s death. Juan Carlos I had no intention of continuing Franco’s legacy. Spain might have limped on after his death had he put the crown on his own head, but Franco had no sons.

And so we notice that the Church was in a large part responsible for end of Francoist Spain. However, Francisco Franco had the right idea of how to govern in an age of licentiousness. When people are not religiously repressed, they must be physically repressed. Had Spain continued as it was under Franco before the sixties, the need for government oppression would surely have decreased as religiosity increased. He wielded absolute power with efficiency. Then, he injected the antidote into Spanish society; Catholicism. The only way to reduce the need for authoritarianism and decentralize the government is to reintroduce morality through genuine Christianity. The privilege of personal autonomy will only be granted to those responsible enough to handle it.

Maistre had it right when he said “Man in general, when reduced to himself, is too wicked to be free.” True freedom comes from the cross, from the chain with which we are bound to the divine throne. The necessity for severity in response to degeneracy is not exclusive to the political order. In the days of exceedingly depraved paganism, God revealed the Old Law to Moses. It was harsh and burdensome but necessary for the Hebrews, or else they’d fall away from God (as they commonly did). But when the Empire brought Pax Romana to the world and ensured a basic level of morality among its subjects, God sent His Son to establish the New Testament, one that fulfilled and abrogated the Old Covenant. Christ said to us, “Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.”6 We have discarded the light yoke of Christ, and must prove ourselves worthy of carrying it again if we truly desire a gentle and mild burden.

Iniquity must be combated with force, just as a parent must discipline their insolent child. “He that spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes.”7 A doctor who must cure an uncooperative patient restrains him first, then gives him the medicine. The same must be done in our current political situation. Thus, authoritarian dictatorship acts as a proper conductor from chaos to proper order. In this sense, the alt-right, though obviously insufficient, is a step in the right direction.

Of course, many will still not realize the necessities of these extremes. “Such means cannot ever justify the end,” they’ll say. Frankly, the objection doesn’t matter. The collapse of Liberalism is imminent. Whoever has the power and will to wield the sword of absolutism will establish the new order. Unfortunately, noble claimants lack either the will or capability to take back what is theirs. The Left does not care about freedom, and neither should we at the moment. You cannot fight evil with liberality or decadence with indulgence. The choice is between the Satanic order of Leftism or the Divine order of Christian dictatorship.

It is a matter of choosing between a dictatorship which comes from below and a dictatorship which comes from above. I choose that which comes from above because it comes from pure and serene regions. It is a matter of choosing between the dictatorship of the dagger and the dictatorship of the sabre. I choose the dictatorship of the sabre, since it is nobler.8

  1.  Juan Donoso Cortes, “Discourse on Dictatorship.” See pg 63 in R.A. Herrera’s collection of Cortes.
  2. Or Kalki, if you wish to use such terminology.
  3. See Franco’s 1941 Convention with the Vatican, and the Concordat of 1953.
  5. The most notable condemnation being Pope Blessed Pius IX’s “Syllabus of Errors,” which Cortes himself influenced.
  6. Matthew 11:29-30
  7. Proverbs 13:24
  8. Cortes, “Discourse on Dictatorship.” Page 66 in Herrera.
Testis Gratus

Catholic, reactionary, traditionalist — "Ego vox clamantis in deserto: dirigite viam Domini"

17 thoughts on “The Need for Authoritarianism

  1. It seems to me that Scriptures point to two authorities – two authoritarian authorities that struggle and vie for power – one is the kingdom of darkness, which is fueled by the need for power, to control others, to limit it’s enemies, and to watch it’s citizens for any signs of disloyalty. The other is the kingdom of light – a tyranny of goodness in as much as it has no tolerance for sin or sinning sinners, it too controls others and demands power. It seems to me that the thing to do is to deny both the full measure of their demands and to use the same solution our founding fathers did – let everyone have their own power to decide what power to serve – keep it out of the hands of one authoritarian individual or government or else risk being enslaved to a leadership whose lust for power doesn’t stop at squashing individuals in order to get it. Remember – when Church and State were allies, sin was law-breaking, and law-breaking was sin – the alliance of the two has never not been used for evil, even with the best of intentions.

  2. The State isn’t the kingdom of darkness. The kingdom of darkness is Satan’s empire, whose subjects can be found in every walk of life. The State as such, when well-ordered is an indispensable human institution that perfectly agrees with the will of God and the nature of men and things.

    1. Of course, though I don’t necessarily disagree with the libertarian sentiment for smaller and decentralized government. A lot of “rightists” like the ideas of subsidiarity, localism, and so on. However, those are not luxuries that can be afforded at the moment, nor at any time of great degeneracy.

  3. I agree with many, even most, Libertarian conclusions concerning the undesirability of senseless State micro-management of everything, but not their premises. Libertarianism seems to be haunted by the old Anabaptist error of seeing the State as a wholly profane thing with which Christians should have nothing to do. This way of thinking goes hand-in-hand with anti-clericalism, and so contemporary Libertarianism tends to drift leftwards into atheism, immoralism, etc.

  4. This is a fantastic piece.

    This might seem a bit off-topic, but I feel there is some relevance. I have been rather surprised at the massive success of ‘Faith Schools’ in the UK. Obviously, most British parents are effectively atheists and probably join in the derision or apathy towards Christianity, yet they leap over each other to get their child enrolled at a ‘Faith School’ due to the abysmal state of public schools and the collapse of the grammar school system. Faith schools simply produce better education results.

    Now, notwithstanding my own dislike of the Church of England which is thoroughly Liberal today, and my general hatred of the very concept of universal education, this is quite remarkable. It shows some ability of the masses to sniff out what is in their interest, and at times discard even well synthesized dogmas to achieve it. In a situation of autocracy, would it really be so hard to stimulate this through incentivization, coordinated of course by well placed and powerful institutions/individuals?

    I really get the sense somebody like a Viktor Orban could revive religion in Hungary without much effort whatsoever. While attendance is low, most Hungarians do identify themselves as believing Catholics and are culturally non-degenerate in large part. What if Hungary pursued a ‘faith school’ program, at least temporarily. Surely the same results would be achieved as they have been in England, for exactly the same reason. Tie religion to the nation, to the collective zeitgeist and it could easily come roaring back to life.

    Not saying Russia is revived yet (attendance is still low), but part of the explosion in Christian identification and adoption of the Church’s attitudes has been governmentally achieved: Putin appearing constantly with Patriarch Kirill, opening new churches, priests appearing all over T.V., as well as tying the Church to the fight against Americanism. Still work to be done, but what a difference 16 years of proactive state action have made.

    1. Thank you.

      It seems that Eastern European countries do not need the sort of violent restoration that the Western ones do. What Putin and Orban would need to do is formalize their power and cast out any last vestiges of Western degeneracy, then officially put the Church back where it belongs. The main forces standing in their way are NATO and the EU, who probably would not tolerate this process, evens something as simple as widespread implementation of faith schools. The extensive secularization for the rest of Europe as well as most parts of America will not allow such gentleness.

  5. There’s much wishful thinking here I’m afraid. Franco’s system not only failed to endure, but left a political legacy among the Spanish people which has obstructed the growth of anti-liberal movements of any sort.

    The best proof of this is today’s Spain. Unique among the countries of Western Europe, Spain has failed to produce a meaningful anti-system right over the past decades. Whether Catholic, neo-falangist, Carlist, or national rightist, no alternative Spanish party has had anything like the success of parties like the FN, the Vlaams Belang, the FPÖ, etc. elsewhere in Europe.

    In the current crisis the left has benefited far more than the non-centrist right, as the rise of Podemos and the failure of all the would-be Golden Dawns makes clear.

    Blaming this on Vatican II is hardly plausible, since its effects were hardly limited to Spain. The hostility of the Church has certainly not prevented the rise of the identitarian and other hard right parties even in traditionally Catholic countries.

    Franco succeeded in bludgeoning the popular classes into submission but never won their hearts as did, say, Peron. He then remained in power many years longer than needed (Cincinnatus he was not!) and left Spain, even 40 years after his death, a profoundly unfriendly place for any true right.

    1. Right, I never said he was perfect. The main problem is that he failed, and we can give many reasons as to why. Franco’s heart never really seemed to be wholly in it for Spain but rather for Franco; he loved power, saw an opportunity, and took it. That doesn’t mean that his methods aren’t worth emulating, though.

      Vatican II’s effects were global, but they were obviously going to hurt the most where the Church was most anti-Modernist, which was Spain at the time. Franco used the churches to bring the Spanish people back in line, and when the Papacy turned on him, he lost his greatest weapon and the only means to bring lasting stability to Spain. Also, it gave people a further excuse to villainize Franco. He lingered on because there was no one to take over. The dream was already dead. Ideally, absolutism lasts only as long as it needs to, as the longer it lasts, the more unstable the nation becomes.

      That all being said, at least Spain is better off than most in the sense that its poverty is preventing a huge influx of migrants like other countries (which is partially why their “far-right” is so small). They probably won’t have to deal with that conflict on the horizon.

      1. So, a dictatorship for what then?

        The Catholic Church has become liberal, which is the cause of Franco’s downfall (from what I can gather from your great article and the comments). So what, if a Dictator comes to power, in say Spain, for example, would he have to his defense?

        Why is he there? To turn the spirit of the nation back to a form of Catholicism that the Pope himself and all he’s clergy and laity disavows?

        1. Perhaps I’m LARPing a bit, but I think if a regime like Franco’s came into power in Europe, and they were truly dedicated to Catholicism, they’d probably start ousting the liberal clergy and hand control over to groups like the SSPX. In this way, they would help to rebuild the Church at the same time. It’s not as if Catholicism had no problems in Franco’s day; there were still Liberals and Modernist heretics, but he dealt with them in Spain. The only difference is that the Papacy has now been infiltrated.

          At the very least, such a dictatorship would be a way to free the nation from Liberalism which is a huge step in the right direction, even if their goal is not some Traditional order.

  6. I think there needs to be an end to democracy in the West. These democracies will be repalced by dictatorships in one form or another.

    Each nation is different. Whats good for Spain won’t necessarily work for England, which hasn’t been Catholic since the time of Henry VIII.

    Even then, could Great Britain, or let’s just stick with England to make things less complicated, return to Anglicanism? There are more enemies, or atleast, more prominent enemies in our society in the West, to this cause, than there are in the East (Eastern-Europe).

    To a large degree the white working-class is still majority and still at odds with the establishment in many of it’s views. I don’t know for how long though.

    I think we need to reverse things, if we are ever going to return to the supposed Traditional way of life.

    Then there is the complicated matter of Royalty. What do we do with them? Do they secretly still cling to the ideals of their ancestors, while their country is changing all around them? Or are they just as much sucked into the degeneracy as us?

    I think we need a sort of “Caretaker Dictatorship”, that will slowly restore things to their proper place. It will not bring us a Traditional civilization, it’s existence is non-Traditional. What it can do is take the kids away from the parents and bring them up and prepare them for the society they will build (talking about Royal children aswell, more importantly). Each generation under this New Regime will take more steps to “de-revolutionize/de-modernize” our society.

    1. The problem with the types of dictatorships we’re talking about is that they are very unstable in the long term, so they need some goal. History has shown us that absolutism (at least in Europe) cannot last long without a significant reaction, either from without or within. I’d worry that prolonged dictatorships would lead to a World War II scenario, which “the West” really can’t afford.

      1. But you can’t have a quick dictator come in, and establish an order that people aren’t used to or willing to accept. That’s when the nation fights back, or when the foreign armies come in.

        You have a long dictatorship, or autocracy, led by people who make it clear from the start what they’re trying to do: re-establish the monarchy, for example. At all times this autocracy must be understood as working for the people. It is a government run by patriots. If it isn’t accepted by the people, then it has failed to begin with.

        It must be good to the people, it must win them over. It must teach them that democracy was a total failure, because you’ve got one party disagreeing with another, and neither one represents the nation. Here, the government is totally for the people, and won’t be challenged by any other political opposition. The nation is totally represented, and those who oppose the state, are opposing the will of the nation. Fight the government, and you fight the sovereignty of the people, the two must become synonymous. Make this clear, because we have a lot of minorities in our country, all good cows ready and waiting to be milked, and by that I mean deported for breaking the host nations laws. That’s how you win people over. You must turn the percieved iniquities of the regime into good characteristics, that show how much better it is than the previous form of governance.

        You make it clear that the country and it’s government at this time, is not permanent. This is a step towards something better, a necessary step to bring about a way of life, for this nation, that is spiritual, that is meaningful, that is strong in it’s own lands and in itself. You must be seen to be co-operating with other nations also, and you must build shiny new thigns, and you must create jobs, and thsoe jobs must produce something that can be sold, and therefore make the nation wealthy, so that more good can be done, by the autocrats, on behalf of the nation.

        1. I get what you’re saying, but I don’t think such a comprehensive program can really be established or accepted by the people, though I could be wrong. It’s sort of what the USSR did, but it became increasingly apparent that the elites were simply power hungry con-men, just as ours are today. It seems more likely that the masses will have to be beat into submission rather than won over. Personally, I don’t think it really matters either way, we simply need an elite willing to combat modernity and push us in a new direction, hopefully a good one.

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