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