Violence and the civilized society: Conformity and dissidence in different societies (Part Nine)
By Mark Wegierski
(Initial drafts of this essay date back to 1988. – author’s note)
One may generally conclude that there are no easy solutions to this complex of problems. It can be suggested that the current-day, left-liberal, managerial-therapeutic regime, which is the prevalent configuration of Western societies today, has to a large extent solved the problem of maintaining its ideological hegemony, apparently without recourse to violence. The efforts of the earlier, traditionalist regimes, to maintain their world-views, may now seem as especially vicious, cruel, and crude, and have also been shown as manifestly ineffective. The traditionalist or conservative would argue that left-liberalism's renunciation of violence has been more apparent than real. Left-liberalism was always able to somehow utilize coercion on its behalf. Today, with the managerial-therapeutic regime firmly in place, most conditioning takes place through the mass-media, mass-education, and consumerist systems. This is all ostensibly "non-violent." It is also largely possible because of the advent of fantastic new technologies in a period when left-liberalism was already largely ascendant, particularly among the opinion-forming elites/intellectual classes. However, this ongoing indoctrination may be seen as the exercise of what liberals called "prior constraint" in regard to censorship; i.e., certain ideas, notions, and outlooks, are simply not discussed or disseminated widely. In addition, there is a growing movement towards "political-correctness" and the outright banning of that deemed to be "hate-speech," as well as the punishment of those deemed to be "hate-mongers". What constitutes "hate" is conveniently defined by the ruling group, and these definitions are growing ever-wider.
If conservative and traditionalist regimes have been guilty of "killing the body," left-liberalism can be accused of "killing the soul." One should also remember that left-liberalism has, in the twentieth century, to a large extent relied on the Leninist regimes to do the actual removal of "inconvenient" people for them. And these Leninist regimes killed proportionately far greater numbers of people than any conservative or traditionalist regimes. (It has been calculated that more people died in one day of Stalin's regime, than had been executed over the entire, 800-year existence of the Spanish Inquisition.) It should also be remembered to what extent traditionalists and conservatives have thoroughly and wholeheartedly repudiated Nazism, whereas apologists for the Leninist regimes have been and are still quite frequently seen among liberals. Considering how far traditionalists and conservatives appear to be from ever holding significant power in most Western societies, the question of the use of violence and force must for them be a largely academic one. However, the theoretical working out of these questions points to the fact that all societies ultimately employ coercive instrumentalities; that liberalism has advanced world-historically through the use of severe violence (e.g., in the English Civil Wars and suppression of the Jacobite rebellions, the French Revolution, and the American Civil War); and that conservatives who are aware of the problems created by late modernity may be more acute in understanding the issues around the employment of violence in the civilized society.
One of the better possible societies may consist of a symbiosis between traditionalism and liberal democracy, which has sometimes been called “ordered liberty”, or could be called an “organic democracy” – and which roughly corresponds to what Aristotle had considered the optimal, so-called “mixed regime” – polity.
Mark Wegierski is a Canadian writer and historical researcher.