Repost: In Defense of Francisco Franco

Here’s another slightly revised and improved repost of something from my old blog. For better or for worse, this is a very short and polemical piece about a very large topic–for a more sober and in-depth overview with a greater focus on Franco’s economics, you can listen to this episode of Voice of Reason Radio’s The Orthodox Nationalist. (Incidentally, TON is worth listening to in general, despite the host’s slightly eccentric terminology. I mean, “social nationalist”? I realize they’re going to call us Nazis anyway, but why egg them on?) There’s also Stanley Payne’s Franco and Hitler–I haven’t read it, but I have heard good things.

There are certain topics, all sacred cows of modern liberalism, which if introduced into a discussion will turn most otherwise intelligent people into drooling, fallacy-spewing morons. One such topic is the Spanish Civil War and the Spanish State which followed it — for though Generalissimo Francisco Franco remains very dead, his reputation, such as it is, lives on.

Let’s start with what the average person is liable to know about Franco and the Civil War. We are told by our liberal overlords that wars are usually nuanced affairs, that it is wrong and old-fashioned to side too vigorously against Adolf Hitler or Osama bin Laden, and that it is bigoted and ignorant to assert that insurgents who murder American soldiers may not always be nice people. But though all wars are nuanced, the New Jacobins hasten to add, some wars are more nuanced than others. For during three violent years in the late 1930s, the Iberian Peninsula miraculously ceased to be a real place, becoming instead a one-dimensional fairytale landscape, a Sorelian myth made earth and flesh, populated on one side by savage Nationalist ogres, and on the other by decent, innocent Republican champions of Truth and Justice, if not of the American Way. The Republicans, who were simply good and innocent souls desiring a free and democratic Spain, eventually collapsed against the juggernaut as all uncompromising idealists must, leaving the evil Franco free to establish a dictatorial fascist state, which by the time of his death 40 years later had declined so badly that Spain elegantly segued back into its current state of Enlightenment, Democracy, and Progress virtually by its own accord.

How are traditionalists to respond to this narrative? Simply by pointing out that it is nonsense.

Undoubtedly the most striking aspect of the modern view of the Spanish Civil war is its two-faced speciousness. The Left has constructed a magnificent set of double standards in its discussion of the war, allowing room for either praise or condemnation of any action depending entirely on which side of the conflict in emanated from.

Thus, while left-wing intellectuals and elites started romanticizing foreign voluntarism on the side of the Republicans before the war was even over, the thousands of Irishmen, Frenchmen, Moroccan Muslims, Americans, Britons, Norwegians, Finns, Russians, Belgians, and Turks who joined the Nationalists with equal bravery and earnestness have not even been dignified with Hollywood demonizations, but rather have simply been ignored. Unlike Bertolt Brecht’s repugnant little poem The Interrogation of the Good, the Left’s narrative about the Spanish Civil War seems incapable of accommodating the idea that “the other side” might have been sincerely and intelligently committed to its cause.

Thus, while the atrocities committed by the Nationalists are said to clearly demonstrate some fundamental moral failing, the Republicans’ merciless and planned slaughter of priests, nuns, women, and children was simply a “regrettable mistake” or a “necessary evil.” (After 1975, the Spanish Left has campaigned, not unsuccessfully, to ban all public commemorations of Republican atrocities during the Civil War.) Needless to say, the fact that the war was presaged in 1934 by a Communist mob’s orgy of murder and arson in Asturias is not the sort of thing one generally mentions in polite company.

And thus, while the support lent to the Nationalists by Hitler and Mussolini clearly demonstrates that Franco was a fascist (scholars of fascism are in nearly universal agreement that he was not: Spain had its fascists – the Falangists of Primo de Rivera – and though they constituted part of the Nationalist alliance, this, like the support of the Italy and the Third Reich, was more a matter of “the least of two evils” than of genuine and enthusiastic agreement), the support lent to the Republicans by that great humanitarian Josef Stalin is ignored with equal gusto. In a sense, we can of course say that Franco was a fascist because he received military support from fascists; by the exact same token, we may label Churchill and Roosevelt Communists because they cooperated with Stalin during the Second World War.

The real key to Left’s animosity towards Franco is not to be found in the Civil War, but in the peace which came after it. Consider some of the Spanish State’s accomplishments just in its last decade: while many parties of the European Left were openly opposed to the notion of an age of consent, Spain was alone in restricting its pedophilia laws; while the post-Vatican II Catholic Church was losing both disciples and principles by the boatload, the nacionalcatolicismo of Franco ensured the continued place of the pious and sacred in the lives of ordinary Spaniards; while the rest of the world felt trapped between the destructive avarice of American capitalism and the totalitarian attrition of Soviet Communism, the “Spanish Miracle” proved that any nation willing to disregard the false dichotomy between these two economistic and materialistic ideologies could have its proverbial cake and eat it too; while atheism, androgynism, and multiculturalism cruelly beset most of Western Europe, Spain, along with Salazar’s Portugal, remained a lone outpost of decency in a seemingly infinite sea of muck; while leftists went from Stalin and Hoxha to Mao and Pol Pot – from one form of evil and totalitarianism to another – Franco remained an unwavering anticommunist; and while liberals went hoarse in their condemnation of all things non-democratic, the humanity, stability, and healthy pluralism of the Spanish State seemed to be providing a vindication not of liberal democracy, but of Cortés’s theory of dictatorship. Indeed, the sins of the Spanish State – the two most significant being its poorly-advised oppression of regional cultures and its failure to follow through in practice on its de jure monarchism – were neither as egregious nor as numerous as those of any other government of its time, democratic or dictatorial. (It is one of the least discussed facts of modern politics that even genuinely oppressive and inhumane right-wing dictators – Pinochet, Videla, the Greek military junta of the 1970s – are nearly always far less murderous and far more willing to yield power peacefully than their counterparts on the Left.)

It is in the success of Spain’s post-Civil War government that we find the real reason for the Left’s animosity towards Franco. For though the convictions of the useful idiots who volunteered for the Republicans were probably earnest enough, the Civil War is today simply a tool of propaganda. So explosive are the lessons we may learn from an unprejudiced investigation of Franco’s legacy, so destructive to the founding myths of liberalism, that no man can be allowed to examine them for himself.

Introduction to “Why You are Demoralized…”

Liberalism’s basic appeal is freedom: For nonwhites, freedom from oppression by whites. For women, freedom from oppression by men. For all people, freedom from traditional morality, religion, authority, material want, and so on.

It’s the same satanic appeal the Serpent made to Eve in the Garden of Eden: “Did God really say…?” (that is, the traditional authorities are not to be trusted) and “You shall be like God,” (that is, you can live on your own terms.)

And most non-conservatives think that the basic conservative message is “You must obey our rules!”  Compared with the liberal message of “You can be your own god!,” conservatism doesn’t look good at first glance.

How can we traditionalists counter the appeal of liberalism? Why would anyone want to join our enterprise? Continue reading

Why You are Demoralized and What You Must do About it

[This is not a typical Orthosphere post. For an introduction to this essay, go here.]

“I didn’t know I was demoralized” you may be thinking.  Perhaps you aren’t demoralized, but there’s a good chance that you are. After all, “demoralized” doesn’t mean “immoral.” It means instead that your morale, your spirit, is low.

The question “Why are you demoralized?” could therefore be expanded. “Why are you demoralized? Why are you disaffected, put off, bummed out, bored with all the cynicism and happy talk? Why don’t people ever get real about anything?” We have an answer for these questions.

We cannot, of course, fully explain your demoralization. We don’t know you, and much depends on your unique circumstances. But there is an important part we can explain, because it originates outside you, in the conditions of society. Indeed, we can be so bold as to assert that anyone who pays attention to the signs of the times should be demoralized. Like pain, demoralization can be a signal that something is amiss, and one should pay attention to the signal

So why are you demoralized, and what must you do? Short answer: You are demoralized because they have taken from you the most important goods you need in order to live well. These goods do exist, they belonged to your ancestors (who received them through the Western Civilization of which they were a part) and they are therefore yours by right of birth. You must seek these goods and embrace them when you find them. You must rediscover your lost civilization. Continue reading

I disagree: faithful dissent

Last, but not least, Kelly Wilson has produced an argument–sure to live forever in the annals of sophistry–for why Catholics who reject Church teaching aren’t really rejecting Church teaching.  Wilson is upset that conservative Catholics would like the modernist heretics to just apostasize and stop trying to undermine the Church from within.  It is we, she says, who are unfaithful to the Magisterium for saying the Magisterium must be obeyed!  I was eager to see how Wilson would defend this counterintuitive claim, and she doesn’t disappoint.  Catholic teaching comes in three levels, she says:  1) what comes straight out of revelation (the Bible), 2) what follows through logical necessity from revelation, 3) other pronouncements.  The trick for beginning modernists is to push all the stuff that offends against modern androgynist utilitarianism into the third category, and then say that the third category are teachings we must “respect” but not necessarily believe–like how I guess we’re not supposed to make fun of the tradition that Saint George killed a dragon, but we don’t have to actually believe it.  But here we hit a snag:  the pope himself said that an all-male priesthood (that horror of the modernists) belongs to category 2.  “Ah”, says Wilson, “but he never said that the proclamation that all male priests belongs to category 2 is itself a category 2 statement.”  Now, in ordinary communication, it is always assumed that “X” and “X is true” are asserted with the same certainty, but if they aren’t all sorts of possibilities open.  If the pope decides to plug this hole, saying “The declaration ‘X belongs to category 2′ is itself category 2″, well, would that statement itself be category 2?  At a stroke, the Magisterium can’t declare anything!

Following a similar line of argument, Wilson denies that the Magisterium, in its emphatic insistence in Casti Connubii and Humanae Vitae that contraception is utterly incompatible with Christian morality, ever positively asserted that this teaching must be accepted.  One wonders what in the world they were talking about, then.  Wilson’s guide here is the traitorous Winnipeg Statement of the Canadian Catholic bishops, which at least seems to claim that, if a couple is unconvinced by Humanae Vitae, well then, it’s A-OK for them to go on desecrating the conjugal bed.  I’m not sure why the Winnipeg statement is supposed to trump both the pope and all world’s other bishops, who insist that this teaching is an absolute requirement of the natural law.

So, let me endorse the comments by Bruce Burgess and others that Wilson finds so obnoxious.  People who choose Leftist over Catholic orthodoxy should leave.  The entire rest of the world belongs to them and their devilish creed.  There are scores of liberal Protestant denominations that already embrace the watered-down Christianity they want Catholicism to embrace.  The heretics can take their pick.  If they really believe in religious tolerance, they should stop trying to force the poor, pitiful remnant of the once splendid Roman Catholic Church to go along with them.

I disagree: are the bishops being selfish?

While we’re on the topic of unfair criticisms, I’m tired of hearing things like this from conservatives:

As you are no doubt well aware, Obama yesterday in effect decreed an amnesty for young illegal aliens, bypassing Congress and the Constitution. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is now APPLAUDINGthis action! [The document is in pdf.]

It was just a few months ago that they were screaming like stuck pigs over the administration’s unilateral order that that they include contraception in their health care plans. You called the bishops contemptible and you were absolutely correct. This corrupt group has no objections to the use of lawless power when it benefits their aims and objectives, but don’t you dare tread on their little bailiwick. This bunch of unprincipled leftists is why I left the Catholic Church.

Yes, that’s it;  the Catholic Church is selfish for not wanting to participate in evil.  How is this apostate’s opinion different from a Leftist’s?  The bishops can say, quite honestly, that their principles underlie both positions.  (A better criticism, made from time to time by Auster himself, is that the USCC’s “conservative” and “liberal” principles contradict or at least frustrate each other.  There’s some truth to this.)

I disagree: when is it not appropriate to beat your wife?

I just know I’m going to get grief for this, but long-time readers know I have a mischievous streak that causes me to always sympathize with an obvious villain.  I was pleased to see the obviously gallant Michael Avramovich, in his recent Mere Comments post, doesn’t just invite Muslims to be “partners for social justice” or some liberal crap like that; he invites them to leave their false religion and embrace Jesus Christ as their Saviour.  The dude talks like a Christian.  However, we must be careful that it is Christ Himself we promote to the infidel and not our contingent cultural norms, rightly though we cling to them ourselves.

Avramovich is outraged at Muslim cultures’ supposed permissiveness towards domestic violence.  The Koran says that a husband may punish a disobedient wife by swatting her with a toothbrush-size stick, which a millenium-and-a-half later has led to the following:

one-half of ever-married Egyptian women agree that a husband is justified in beating his wife for at least one of the following reasons: She goes out without telling him (40 percent), neglects the children (40 percent), argues with him (37 percent), refuses to have sex with him (34 percent), or burns food (19 percent). Seventeen percent of the women surveyed agreed that a husband is justified in beating his wife for all five reasons.

And yet the Muslims say they don’t endorse spousal abuse!  Surely this is a case of the sinister “taqiyya” in action.  Well, wait.  It depends a lot on what these Egyptian girls understand by the word “beating”.  Here’s a question for you:  what is your position on spanking?  Is corporal punishment of children a human rights abuse that should be outlawed?  Not being a liberal twit, I assume your answer is “no”.  Well, then, does that mean that you endorse child abuse, since you’re okay with using “violence” against children?  In the context of children, most people realize that there’s a difference between swatting a kid on the behind as a calm, measured disciplinary action and flying into a rage and breaking his arm.  Now, suppose we had a custom of spanking our wives when they’re disobedient, which is worse than flicking them with toothbrushes.  “Outrageous”, you say?  Well, if corporal punishment is such a uniquely horrible form of punishment, shouldn’t we reserve it for adults rather than for children?  “But it’s demeaning because it’s a punishment for children”, you say?  Well, as soon as we start applying it to adults, that will cease to be a problem.  Now, I personally don’t use corporal punishment of any kind on my wife or daughter, but I wouldn’t say that the natural law absolutely forbids it.  Of course, some brutal men go much further than toothbrush swatting or spanking, but such abuse is condemned by Islam as much as by Christianity.  It could be that those Egyptian gals really think it’s okay for them to be thrashed to within an inch of their life for burning the food, but I doubt it.  Cultural context is everything.

I disagree: artificial intelligence

This article starts really well:  the idea that one can have “competence without comprehension” really is a stunning insight of both the theories of evolution and of computation, and I’d never thought of putting the two side by side like the author, Daniel Dennett, does.  Then he ruins the fun with the mother of all non sequiturs:  Alan Turing’s great insight is that a machine can do a lot of things without understanding anything.  Therefore, if we make the mindless algorithms that the machines follow complicated enough, the machines will be able to understand!  It seems to me that the Turing’s insight would imply the opposite:  the more refined our computers, the more we will find that it is possible to do without understanding, while not moving a step closer to making a sentient machine.  Following his connection between natural selection and computing, Dennett sees artificial intelligence skeptics as the analogue of creationists, but it’s an funny sort of fundamentalism that would include Kurt Goedel, John Searle, and Roger Penrose.  (I was very impressed, though, with the respect Dennett shows for his opponents.)

On having faith

An atheist friend asked me recently what reason there is to have faith in God.

Now, first, let us properly understand faith (my friend surely didn’t). Faith is, essentially, trust in what reason has revealed as truth and revelation has ratified, and vice-versa. To have faith is not to believe something for no good reason but to believe it for every good reason. Faith may be likened to a man who is deathly afraid of flying, but who nevertheless boards the plane, firmly reminding himself how unlikely it is to crash. He’s right and not irrational to believe the plane probably won’t crash — it’s a perfectly rational belief and he has every reason to believe it. Faith isn’t quite so much the believing but the accepting, the adhering of the will to that truth.

To ask what reason there is to have faith is to ask why reason obliges us to have faith. But if faith is simply the acceptance of truth, then the atheist is really asking (though he doesn’t know it), “Why does reason oblige us to believe that what reason has revealed as truth is truth?” Phrased this way, we see how silly the question is. It couldn’t be otherwise: to have faith just is to be reasonable. One may as well ask why triangles can’t have four sides.

“The Manhood Deficit,” Continued

This blog post builds on the comments section discussion in an earlier post, “The Manhood Deficit,” concerning whether it is better to conceive of “homosexuality” as an identity (a thing you are) or an activity (a thing you do).

Here’s a useful data point to add to that discussion: the story of a happily married Mormon man with three kids and a self-described “extremely healthy and robust sex life” with his wife telling everyone that he is “gay.”

One of the insights from the earlier discussion on the nature of homosexuality is that, as a schema, it makes it difficult to talk about the world in meaningful ways. Indeed, to the extent that the abovementioned man can be considered “homosexual,” it’s only because the entire schema of “sexual identity” is so protean that it can accommodate virtually any oddity.

Essay on Rene Girard at The Brussels Journal

My article The Apocalypse of Modernity, which examines the recent work of René Girard, is now accessible at The Brussels Journal.  Girard’s “turn towards history” will be of interest, I believe, to readers of The Orthosphere.  Here is a tease: “The contemporary West resembles nothing so much as an archaic society in the full panic of social breakdown, searching desperately for the scapegoats whose immolation will induce the gods to intervene. Whether it is the black-clad ‘Antifas’ in Northern Europe who violently stifle free speech or the ‘hoody’-wearing vigilantes who have consigned a hapless Florida man to the hell of liberal non-process – the defining agents of the age resemble the implacable crowds of archaic narrative.”