Violence and the civilized society: Conformity and dissidence in different societies (Part Four)
By Mark Wegierski
(Initial drafts of this essay date back to 1988.)
Since traditionalism and conservatism greatly respects the civil order, it will clearly reject armed struggle as long as "liberal democracy" allows for some vestiges of real democratic choice by the people. There remains the hope for the traditionalist and conservative, that it will be possible to attract the support of a significant percentage of the population (or, less likely, of some significant portion of the elites) for at least some of one's policies, if only because one believes that human nature is conservative-tending. Unfortunately, the left-liberal elites are continually stacking the deck or loading the dice against the possibility of the actualization of traditionalist and conservative policies. There are so many ways today that left-liberals have obtained enormous advantages over conservatives, in current-day liberal democracy. One of the most obvious ways of doing this is the introduction of mass, dissimilar immigration into the Western countries, which typically leads to the creation of a large, permanently unassimilatable bloc, which will almost always vote for left-liberal parties. Another obvious strategy is the excision of serious conservative, traditionalist, or nationalist thought from the academy and circles of "serious opinion" -- thus reducing it to a leaderless and untutored reflex, with possibly ugly manifestations, which can be quickly and easily pejoritized and de-legitimated. Such categories as "history", "tradition", "human nature", "spirit", and "soul", mean nothing to many left-liberals, the human person is simply seen as a tabula rasa, on which anything that the liberal controllers want to be written, can be written.
It must be pointed out that the courts as well as quasi-judicial human rights and similar tribunals of most Western countries often serve as left-liberalism's last line of defense against the will of the majority; as well as a powerful instrumentality for advancing those sets of values in law (and thereby social changes), that the majority may sometimes be highly reluctant to support. The operation of this top-down system of juridical legalism, based on highly expansive interpretations of ever more widely defined "human rights", has been termed, by some conservative critics, as a "judicial usurpation" of democracy.
Also, the mechanistic and excessively proceduralist legalism of the system attenuates the proper operation of justice -- of real punishment for real crimes. (By contrast, in Victorian England, for example, there was public outrage when a murder trial, in what seemed like a highly obvious case, took more than a week!)
An example of how comparatively little conservative parties can achieve today in Western countries, even when actually in power, is afforded by Mike Harris' Progressive Conservative government in the Province of Ontario (elected with substantial legislative majorities in 1995 and 1999). While trying to carry out what could be seen as mostly "tidying-up," administrative reforms, the Harris government was confronted by some of the most overwrought opposition ever hitherto encountered by a government in Canada. The trade-unions (especially the civil service and teachers' unions), most of the mass-media, and feminist and minority interest groups, whipped up an ongoing frenzy of opposition to Mike Harris from the day he was elected. Mike Harris was described as "anti-human", as "the closest thing to fascism ever seen in Ontario", as a "thug", as "mad", and so forth. It was suggested that Mike Harris submit to psychiatric counseling, as only a "crazy" person could carry out the policies he was carrying out, without being aware of how enormously they were hurting people. So conservative parties or factions within parties certainly can exist, but they are mostly unable to carry out conservative policies, on those comparatively rare occasions when they win a legislative majority.
Many liberals really see conservatives as a continuous "dark threat," that must be beaten back again and again. The "dark forces" often come close to winning, but are always defeated at the last moment. This paradoxical conception of conservatism as very powerful, but almost certain to fail because of its "evil" nature, helps keep "the progressive forces" in a constant state of activism and vigilance against the Right. One is reminded of the important role of "Goldsteinism" (or the bogeyman) in upholding the regime in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.
To return again to the question of violence against the state or its ruling groups, some persons would argue that "one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist." However, one might well question whether there are in fact any right‑wing terrorist groups in the West today, apart from some very miniscule fringes. (In terms of the idea of the manufacture of a "right-wing threat," it has been pointed out, for example, that many of the massive incidents of swastika‑smearing in the former West Germany had been staged by the Soviet intelligence services and Far Left activists.)
Some liberals have done their utmost to portray the vicious terrorist attacks in Oklahoma City and in Norway, as highly typical of a generalized right-wing. One also remembers how some liberals seized upon trying to link the Arizona shootings, to the Tea Party.
There appear to be a large number of criteria by which a terrorist can be distinguished from a legitimate fighter for national self‑determination or other cultural goals. Especially during the Cold War era, liberals tended to see many groups employing grotesque terror as "freedom‑fighters," while at the same time seeing many quite self-restrained oppositionists as "terrorists."
To be continued.
Mark Wegierski is a Canadian writer and historical researcher.