analyses the holiest word in the political dictionary
I have been accused by anti-Nationalists and fellow Nationalists alike of being a non-democrat. It is a label that causes me no loss of sleep; I have always regarded ‘democracy’ as one of the most over-used and unscrupulously exploited words in politics. If Dr. Johnson once said that ‘patriotism’ is the last refuge of a scoundrel, meaning not that every imaginable rascally act has been sanctified by the claim of patriotic motives, the very same can certainly be said for the term ‘democracy;’ it is the stock-in-trade and halo of every shyster in public life, and my experience is that those who shout the loudest in its praise and lay the highest claims to be its champions are the ones who, when convenient to themselves, would most readily violate its most hallowed principles.
Because my contempt for those who cloak themselves with this word has at times been very thinly veiled, it has given rise to the question that has very often been leveled at me: do I approve of ‘democracy’ or not? Running parallel with this question is another: do I favour ‘dictatorship’?
Let me straightaway reply that in dealing with such questions it is best, I think, to throw those two words right out of the window and onto a garbage heap of emotive catch-phrases where they belong, and to talk about this subject in terms that have some true meaning.
Meaning of ‘Dictate’
What, to begin with, is supposed to be the meaning of the word ‘dictate’? I always thought it meant compelling people to do something against their will. By that definition, it is inevitable that in every society, under whatever name, there are going to be people who will have to be ‘dictated’ to – criminals, for a start, for their will is to break the law, whereas it is the will of the state to defend and uphold the law. No, when we are talking of ‘dictatorship’ in these terms we are talking about government that operates against the will of the majority, and conversely, ‘democracy’ is generally understood to mean government which operates according to the will of the majority.
But what is the answer of those who condemn ‘dictators’ on these principles when evidence is produced of men who have been thus described but whose actions can be proven to have had overwhelming popular consent? This was exactly the case with Hitler and Mussolini until, possibly, the very last stages of their careers, when military defeat soured the memory of their earlier achievements, and it was the case with Franco right until his death.
I can anticipate the ‘democrat’s’ answer already. These rulers, he will claim, were able to obtain popular consent because they took over and controlled for their own purposes all the mass media of the time and used those media to indoctrinate the populace into supporting their policies. To this I would reply: perhaps indeed they did, but was their practice in this respect really any different to that of our true rulers today who exercise a similar total media control and who, with the aid of that control, lay down the perimeters within which we are allowed to argue, criticise, and debate? True, under ‘democracy’ a man may take a wooden box to a street corner, stand on it and condemn the government of the day to whatever passers-by take the time to stop and listen, whereas in the Fascist and National Socialist states he most probably would be arrested by a policeman for performing the same act, but what does this prove in terms of people’s right to free expression? Only that the rulers of ‘democracy’ are a little more subtle in their methods of popular control. They know very well that the ‘free expression’ allowed to the man on the wooden box is utterly meaningless as long as his audience is restricted to a few pedestrians in the vicinity and he lacks the facilities to communicate his views to millions at a national level.
This reality is not contradicted by pointing to politicians who are allowed time on TV to condemn the existing government, and those who imagine that such a facility is indicative of a state of ‘freedom’ simply reveal how little they know of the true facts of political life. That facility is in fact given to a very few and they are in all cases ‘selected’ on the basis of the knowledge that they are reliable servants, if not of the government of the moment, at least of the broader ‘liberal’ establishment of which it is a part, and that their criticisms of those currently in office will be strictly circumscribed and limited to issues which have been defined by the media controllers as being ‘safe’ for public discussion.
No, certainly the media can be used for the purposes of indoctrination and generally are, whether those in control are professed ‘democrats’ or otherwise. There is, however, a limit to how far such propaganda can convince the people of the benevolence of their rulers. No amount of telling the people that they are well off will work so long as it is manifestly clear to them that they are badly off. In the three so-called ‘dictatorships’ of which I have spoken, the people were able to see, year to year, a steady improvement in their living standards, so that the state propaganda to which they were subjected on that score only confirmed what they already knew by their own experience. And it was that experience that provided the basis for the overwhelming popular consent which they gave to their rulers.
This, of course, will not satisfy the partisan of ‘democracy,’ whose mind is so constituted that he will insist that popular consent be registered in some institutionalised form through such a procedure as regular elections and will deny the legitimacy of a ruler who does not submit himself to this process. But just how valid is the process in ascertaining the nature of the popular will?
The people are presented with the choice of two or more contending parties. Theoretically, any group of politically concerned citizens may combine together to form a party and present themselves, under the banner of their party, as candidates for parliament. In practice, however, only those parties that are considered ‘within the pale’ of establishmentarian thinking and policy are given a reasonable hearing by the mass media on which, in all except the very tiniest of societies, the populace relies for its knowledge of what the parties are saying and standing for. Elections therefore become, in effect, a choice between political factions that have all first been approved by those who wield the real power in the state. Additionally vital for obtaining a hearing is that the candidate or party have the backing of big money whereby they may purchase the means of self-advertisement. In practice, such big money only comes from powerful moneyed institutions, whether they be those of trade unions or big business. There are no moneyed institutions that represent the ordinary man in the street or give a fig about what he feels; moneyed institutions represent organised vested interests, i.e., élites.
The result of this system in Britain is that elections, as a means of registering what is the popular will and putting into power a government that will carry out that will, are nothing more than a fraud and a racket. And it is not basically different in the United States or any other of the larger societies of the West that we are accustomed to designating as ‘democracies.’ If proof is needed of the inefficacy of ‘democracy’ in Britain as an instrument of the popular will, we only have to ask: where are the political leaders in parliament who have obeyed majority wishes on such wishes as Immigration, Capital Punishment, Abortion, Homosexuality, VAT [Value Added Tax], and much more? Legislation has been passed on these questions which in no way reflects the mandate of popular consent, which is supposed to be the bedrock on which ‘democracy’ rests. It has been passed by self-appointed élites, who believe they know better than the people what is good for the people – supposedly a hallmark of ‘dictators’!
Is the practice of such élites in putting themselves above the public opinion then wrong? Not necessarily so, though I believe they happen to have been wrong in Britain in the fields I have mentioned. The proposition that the majority always knows best in the complex matters of state, which call for experts trained and knowledgeable in affairs, is a ridiculous proposition that will not stand up to two minutes of serious examination. It is as ridiculous as if I, when my motor car is failing to function in some way, called together a group of laymen on the subject of motor engineering and took a vote on what should be done to get the vehicle back on the road. As one almost wholly ignorant of the workings of the internal combustion engine, I would not wish to be consulted on such a matter, let alone allowed to vote; at all such times I seek an expert who knows about such things and who knows what to do. So it is with doctors in matters of sickness, lawyers in matters of law, generals in matters of warfare, plumbers in matters of plumbing, and so on. In every facet of our daily lives we put ourselves under the direction of specialists, who are supposed to know their trade. This is not to say that the specialists are always right; they can sometimes be disastrously wrong. It is only to say that modern civilisation has not devised, and cannot devise, any better procedure for dealing with our problems.
Open Door to the Ignoramus
Yet it is in the most important sphere of all, that of politics, that we adopt, under ‘democracy,’ a wholly different procedure and a wholly different system: we do not require that people are specialists in the art of government, that they have first acquired extensive education and training in that art, in order that they may govern us. Any ignoramus can get elected onto town councils and to parliament, provided that he belongs to one of the ‘approved’ parties and pays lip service to their beliefs, and from those positions can play havoc with our lives and misgovern our affairs with resulting chaos in the manner of the sorcerer’s apprentice, who runs riot by the application of an untrained mind to matters that need men of sound training.
And yet we accord the non-specialists who run our political affairs the authority and the power that in other fields we only grant to specialists: their authority and power is derived, not from their proven competence in their field, but from the fact that, under a system wholly fraudulent and wholly dependent on the art of the confidence-trickster, they have obtained the majority of our votes!
Some men in the 20th Century, recognising these manifest contradictions, weaknesses, and absurdities in the ‘democratic’ system, have opted for an alternative system for the governing of states to which we have assigned the term ‘dictatorship,’ a word equally devoid of serious meaning, as I have pointed out before. The essence of their idea is that it is necessary, to deal with the complex affairs of developed modern societies, to have specialists at the helm – a necessity so obvious that it scarcely needs the emphasis I have given to it. Their theory is that there are better ways to bring such specialists to the fore and grant them the power to get done the jobs that have to be done than the charade of ‘elections’ as carried out by ‘democratic’ rules. Normally the method chosen is one of appointment from above rather than election from below, and the specialist is sought, not from the comparatively narrow field of politics, but from the wider field of the whole nation’s life: from the careers and professions and businesses, where the men of the greatest competence can be found and chosen entirely on the basis of merit and achievement. They may include men who have been active politically but this is not a necessary criterion.
The Legitimacy Argument
In what then lies the legitimacy of the power of such men? They have not been elected, so how do we know that they carry the people’s mandate? The simple answer is, of course, that we do not know – by any process acceptable within the ‘democratic’ rulebook. The argument that will be advanced in favour of such an alternative system is not that it wears the mantle of ‘legitimacy’ by reference to that rulebook but that no such criterion of ‘legitimacy’ is ever really possible. The whole concept of legitimacy by such a process is called into question, and on the grounds that it can never be established by methods which, when examined honestly, can be seen as false and fraudulent.
The nearest that man may ever get to truly democratic government in the real world is in the limited sphere of societies and clubs, where those called together are of broadly homogeneous disposition in respect of the objects for which they have joined such bodies and where they have the facility, every individual amongst them, to have their say on matters of which we may reasonably expect them to have some interest and comprehension. The same might be true in very small societies at a primitive level of existence, where matters to be debated and voted upon are so basic that every man and woman of adult age can understand them and where the number involved is sufficiently minute to enable every member to communicate with every other member. Again, a measure of ‘democracy’ might be achieved in the conduct of the affairs of a country village, where it is possible to assemble everyone in the local village hall and allow them to discuss and vote on such questions as the cutting down of an old historic tree, the building of a new road through the neighbourhood, or the erection of a prominent statue overlooking the village green. Here once more there is reason to expect that everyone, the village idiot excepted, will have an opinion worth hearing and that every opinion gets a hearing. At these levels of human existence there is some possibility that the principles of ‘democracy’, whatever their merits or demerits, have reasonable chance of being put into practice.
At the level of the national affairs of a state of population of 50 million or upwards, there is no such possibility of any true, fair, and democratic consensus, for even if every major question is put to people’s referendum – as happens to some extent in Switzerland (a country whose people are less in number than those of Greater London) – the fact still remains that such a referendum will rely for its outcome largely on the power of propaganda over which certain influentially placed people will have a disproportionate, if not total, control. This was seen in the referendum in Britain on the Common Market [European Economic Community] in 1975, in which the pro-Market lobby was able to spend literally hundreds of times more money on promoting its side of the question than the anti-Market lobby, which was doomed to campaign on the proverbial shoestring.
When all these facts are considered in the sober light of day, we may appreciate that true democracy, except in the small societies that have been mentioned, is a total mirage, and that it provides no basis whatever for determining the legitimacy of government; there has to be some alternative criterion of that legitimacy, and, ultimately, the only such criterion is the admittedly very unsatisfactory one of the law of possession; in other words, he who has the power has the right!
Basis of ‘Right’
It is vitally important at this juncture to clarify what is meant by ‘right’ in this context: it does not mean moral right; it does not mean superiority of principle; it does not mean justification of every act, good or evil, carried out by those who have power in their hands; it merely means the right established by nature in accordance with the reality that no other right, however noble in conception, can be effectively asserted and that no other method of determining right has ever been devised.
This is the principle understood by those who have led the modern revolutions during our century against the old institutions of parliamentary democracy. Their legitimacy, from the moral point of view, is derived not from the process by which they have won and retained power, but from the benefits or otherwise that their leadership has brought to their people when in power. These, of course, are a matter for considerable debate, but it is a debate that lies outside the scope of this article.
Again, sweeping away the familiar verbiage about ‘democracy’ and ‘dictatorships,’ we may confidently state the fact that it is a commonsense interest and wish of all rulers of nations to be popular, and that their use of power is tempered by such a wish at all stages of the process. Of course, that wish is tempered in turn by a realisation of the need to make prudent provision for the requirements of the future by far-sighted works, the dividends of which may not be realised immediately – investment in long-term development projects, acts of foreign policy essential to national security but costly in their execution at the time, large defence budgets conceived in the same purpose. This balance between the promptings of popularity and prudence has to be struck by all rulers and all leaders in human affairs, regardless of the nature of the institutions in which they work – ‘democratic’ or non-‘democratic.’ Such leaders, therefore, may be seen to be working under basically the same conditions: they are unwise to go too far in one direction or in the other.
Party democracy, however, has one important weakness in these regards: it breeds, inevitably, a preoccupation on the part of rulers with what we might term ‘instant popularity.’ The people have to be pleased all of the time – or, if not that, at least at such times as some vital test of popular consent is marked down in the calendar. General elections, by-elections, local government elections: the frequency with which these events are taking place requires that government policy is constantly tailored to allow for them. If nasty measures are required which the people may not like, the best time to carry them out is just when a general election has been won and another is not in prospect for several years, then, as the latter draws near, the time for all the sweeteners and ‘goodies’ comes around. It is really a cheap game of bribery and extortion, depending not on sober considerations of national need but on the scheduling of the next mass popularity contest. It is not a way to get good government.
There is another consideration. Assuming for a moment that we accept the ‘democratic’ principle that government is there to serve the people, what is vital is that government be equipped with the necessary powers of action to perform that service effectively. This it will not have if it is submitted to the stifling procedure of parliamentary life in Britain as we know it. The whole process is one which atrophies all virile impulses to action to get done the things we have to get done if the people’s will, let alone the people’s interest, is to be pursued. The modern revolution against the ‘democratic’ process has aimed very largely at streamlining the process of government whereby decisions can be made quickly and in time to make action effective. As just one example of the ‘democratic’ farce, we have the seemingly endless debates in parliament accompanying the introduction of a new bill, and all in the service of the sacred principle that all legislation must have the consent of the people by reason of having been voted upon by the people’s representatives. Yet this procedure has not prevented a mass of legislation getting through parliament which by no stretch of imagination could be claimed as having popular support – legislation of which I have named a few examples earlier in this article. Did ‘the people’ will the abolition of the Death Penalty or the legalisation of Abortion?
Is it an unreasonable proposition that a vastly simplified and accelerated process of legislation which dispensed with some of the formalities of parliamentary consent might result in legislation not only much wiser but much more in conformity with popular wishes? As an example, would a small group of chosen men and women, each with a wealth of experience in the field to be legislated upon and with their ears to the ground of popular feeling, do any worse than hundreds of elected representatives, mostly professionally ignorant, and living in philosophical ivory towers?
The ‘Freedom’ Fallacy
‘Freedom,’ like ‘democracy’ and ‘dictatorship,’ is another of those words dangerous to use without exact application and highly popular with political scoundrels and racketeers. At the most preposterous level, we are asked to envisage millions of men marching to war with the thought that they are fighting for this meaningless abstraction, instead of tangible things such as their country, their race, their homes, their wives, or their children. At all other levels, the word is nothing more than a slogan until we get down to defining what we are advocating people should be free to do.
In the debate in which ‘democrats’ see themselves outscoring those whom they have designated as enemies of ‘democracy’ the freedom of the individual is one of the constantly recurring themes – though what individual they have in mind they prefer not to be tied down to defining.
The more adult among ‘democrats’ will be mature enough to recognise that the defence of one man’s freedom necessitates the restriction of the freedom of another. What we are really then talking about is the freedom of the great majority of ordinary citizens – for that is the only definition of ‘the people’ that makes sense within the terms of democracy.
I think I know something about that mass, because I have spent many years discussing with its members their innermost personal aspirations. One of the first freedoms they want is the freedom to walk the streets and parks of their neighbourhood at any hour of the day or night without fear of attack. Another is the freedom to work at a trade or profession of their choice with the prospect of steady increase in pay and living standards and with some reasonable security of employment. They want to be free to spend their leisure time in pastimes of their own preference and desirably with the availability of cheaply bought facilities in their own locality whereby they may do so.
They want the freedom that comes of owning the house they live in within reasonable time of their first setting out to obtain it. They want the freedom to send their children to schools of their own choice at which those children may achieve a good education. They want the freedom that comes of enjoying good health.
They want the freedom to choose with whom they will mix socially and, if they own their own business, the freedom to decide with whom they will trade and whom they will hire or fire.
They want the freedom to look forward during most years to a pleasant holiday somewhere in this country or abroad without worrying and fretting about every penny they spend.
They want the freedom to be able to keep in their own pockets every penny they have worked to earn, excepting that portion which is absolutely necessary to pay for essential public services.
In both the public and the private context, they want freedom from financial debt.
Political Freedom: How Many Want It?
It will be noticed that in listing these freedoms I have excluded any mention of political freedom – and very deliberately so because I am speaking, as indicated earlier, of the majority of honest-working, law-abiding, decent citizens, and my experience of knowing them is that political freedom is something to which hardly one in a hundred gives two seconds’ thought.
This does not mean that political freedom, i.e., the freedom to engage in political activity on behalf of the cause of one’s choice is, necessarily, a thing to be dismissed as having no value; it is only to say that it is a freedom to be evaluated, as with all others, in order of priorities in which people see them, and it is my observation that the freedoms that I have just mentioned occupy a higher priority with most than the freedom to take part in politics.
And on the principle, repeated in slightly different form, that one freedom sometimes involves the curtailment of others, we have to consider to what extent these freedoms desired by the vast majority may be advanced or retarded by the extension of political freedoms desired, at the very most, by a small minority.
It needs little insight to realise that the personal freedoms desired by this majority stand the best chance of being achieved and safeguarded in a society where there is prosperity, cohesion, peace, and order, where there is stable government and where national affairs have a firm direction – a direction not changed every five minutes by changes of political leadership, where national leaders collaborate together to a common purpose instead of constantly warring against each other in the process of jockeying for power and position.
From this we may see that there are many areas of potential conflict between the aim of freedom for the ordinary individual who just wants to go about his daily life in peace (the majority) and freedom for the political activist, the protester, the dissenter, the rebel (always the minority). A political system that goes all out to promote the one will find that the inevitable consequence is that there are some restrictions on the other.
But when you probe the ‘liberal’ and ‘democratic’ mind you will find always that the preoccupation is with the freedom of the minority, with that comparatively small section of the population who want to be involved in political affairs, and much less with the freedom of the majority who just want to be left alone.
State and Individual
Considered from this point of view, it is a dishonest distortion of the facts when the ‘democrat’ prattles endlessly on, as he does, about the need to protect the individual against the impositions of the state. A strong state and a free individual are constantly presented as if they were two conflicting aims. But in fact it is possible to conceive of circumstances in which a strong state is necessary, not to encroach upon the freedom and rights of the individual, but to defend those very things against the power of other institutions which intervene between individual and state and can much more dangerously threaten the individual than does the state itself. As one example, there is the trade union mafia which bullies and intimidates the worker who does not want to join a strike. At the other end of the spectrum there is the power of big banksterdom which holds the individual in thrall through usury and debt. There are the anarchic mobs with their minority axes to grind which interfere with ordinary people’s rights to enjoy cricket matches or athletic contests. There are local government institutions, such as certain London borough councils, which will grossly abuse their powers by, for instance, throwing council tenants out of their homes for the ‘crime’ of objecting to coloured neighbours being foisted upon them – petty tyrannies run by miniature tyrants who can make the individual’s life hell if that individual is not protected by a higher power that will keep the tyrants in check. In a score of ways a weak state, which does not have the will to keep these interest groups and pressure groups in order, exposes the ordinary individual to far more loss of freedom than a strong state which is resolved to rule and govern.
So we may see that there is not the simple conflict which the ‘democrat’ would have us believe there is between the needs of freedom and authority. These two needs can be made to harmonise in a higher synthesis in which freedom is lifted from the sphere of empty verbalising beloved of ‘liberals’ and defined in terms of its many meanings and applications. We recognise that not all freedoms can be given full flow and we decide which are the most important. It is a strange paradox that those who are most often designated the enemies of freedom may sometimes be the ones who bestow the greatest gifts of freedom on the greatest portion of the people, while those who shout ‘freedom’ the loudest in their political rhetoric are so often the ones who would subject the people to the lowest form of tyranny.
Freedom for the Majority
So to turn to the question which was raised early in this article: do I favour ‘democracy’ or not? My answer is that I favour those freedoms which I have defined as being precious to the greatest number of people, while I recognise that for such freedoms to flourish some curbs on certain other freedoms are necessary. My dispute with self-styled ‘democrats’ is not over the desirability of freedom itself but over whose freedoms should take priority.
Those who wish to bestow on this view the title ‘democratic’ are welcome to do so if it fits their conception of the meaning of that word. For myself, I prefer not to use the word because it is one that, in my opinion, has become debased to the level of mere jargon, of meaningless verbiage. Instead I say to people: if you ask me am I for this or that, let me answer, not in mere words, but in concrete ideas – ideas which mean what they are said to mean.
I would apply the same rule to the question: do I favour ‘dictatorship’? My answer is that there are hundreds of areas of affairs where ordinary people are today being dictated to by petty tyrants and where I oppose that dictating. I have named a few of these. Generally, it follows from what I have said about the freedoms that the ordinary man values that I would oppose violations of freedoms, and so that largely answers the question.
At the same time I am not going to admit the word ‘dictatorship’ itself to my political vocabulary any more than I would admit the word ‘democracy,’ and for the same reason. What is ‘dictatorship’ to one man may be nothing more than leadership to another. I am certainly not against a strong national leader who by his works bestows greater benefits on the majority of his people and in the making of his major decisions acts in accordance with his feeling of the pulse of his people, even if in the first he is not chosen through the corrupt charade of an electoral system and if subsequently he does not call a halt to the ship of state every little while in order for that charade to be re-enacted. If ‘dictating’ means acting against the people’s wishes and imposing upon them the policies which they have not approved, who is the greater dictator: Adolf Hitler or Ken Livingstone? Francisco Franco or Arthur Scargill?
In the immediate aftermath of World War II the ‘victorious’ powers resolved that one of the vital conditions of the making of the post-war world would be that ‘Nazism,’ ‘Fascism,’ or any other movement of authoritarian Nationalism would be prevented by all means possible from ever rising again, not only in Germany and Italy, but anywhere else. By this they meant that the ‘democratic’ rights and freedoms normally extended to political parties right across the spectrum would be suspended in the case of movements of those kinds, whether they proclaimed themselves to be ‘Nazi’ or ‘Fascist’ openly or were merely designated as such by those who set themselves up as the thought controllers of the new world.
For the Soviet part of the post-war community of nations this policy did not pose any special problem. ‘Nazism,’ ‘Fascism’ and all other forms of Nationalism were simply banned alongside every other creed or movement opposed to the Communist way of thinking. No pretence ever existed in the Soviet Communist scheme of things that there should be any toleration of dissenting points of view.
But for the Western nations claiming for themselves the mantle of ‘democracy’ things were not nearly so simple. To admit openly that any kind of political creed or movement disapproved of by the ruling powers should be banned under the laws of the state would be to tear away from under their feet the very principles and precepts upon which their various ‘democratic’ systems were supposed to be based. Having told everyone that they had been fighting the war “to make the world safe for democracy,” how could they cast out of the window their very justification for six years of struggle?
Repression in West Germany
The various ‘democracies’ resolved this dilemma in various ways. In the Federal Republic of Germany the most blatant, harsh, and unashamed oppression was practised against all those organisations and individuals that might be suspected as intent on reviving National Socialism. Such bodies and people were openly banned under the new laws of the Republic, instituted under pressure from the Allied occupational authorities. In view of the fact that National Socialism was popularly (albeit quite wrongly) regarded as an essentially German phenomenon, and therefore more likely to re-emerge in Germany itself than anywhere else, it was possible to gain acceptance of the idea that ‘safeguards’ against it needed to be more stringent in that country than in others. Elsewhere, including in our own country, the ruling powers were more subtle in their approach; no official prohibition of ‘Fascist’ movements was introduced, but in a hundred different ways practical obstacles were placed in the path of organisations thus designated, which meant that, in effect, they enjoyed none of the normal rights granted to other types of political party. Prominent among these obstacles were:
(1) The introduction of laws against ‘racism’ which were designed to eliminate free public discussion of the issue of racial differences or of the power of organised Jewry.
(2) Effective suppression of the Nationalist Press by means of advertising boycotts; both against Nationalist newspapers and magazines and against wholesalers and retailers who might handle them – these boycotts being organised principally by Jewish Business interests.
(3) Constant police harassment of Nationalists by means of telephone tapping, visits to homes on the flimsiest of pretexts, arrest and interrogation without any basis for charges, sabotage of activities and infiltration of Nationalist organisations by police agents for the purpose of internal disruption.
(4) The effective elimination of freedom of assembly by means of the withdrawal of hiring facilities for meeting halls from Nationalist groups – this policy sometimes being ‘justified’ as being in the interest of ‘community relations’ (i.e., ‘antiracism’) and sometimes in protection of property against the threat of disorder (always, of course, the disorder of the opponents of Nationalism and not of Nationalists for what their adversaries might do).
(5) In harness with the above policy, the insidious encouragement of left-wing mobs to attack and disrupt Nationalist meetings, so as to provide the pretext for the denial of meeting facilities on grounds of the threat of damage to property and also to discourage private owners of meeting halls from hiring their premises to Nationalists.
(6) The almost total exclusion of Nationalists from the new medium of the post-war era, television. This exclusion has been ‘justified’ by broadcasting authorities on the grounds that TV time is granted to the spokesmen of political parties in accordance with those parties’ degree of representation in parliament, but of course the truth is that access to TV is in the first place essential for a party even to have a chance of representation in parliament. At the same time quite generous TV time has regularly been granted to spokesmen for the most miniscule and obscure organisations providing that their views are not considered ‘dangerous,’ as are those of Nationalists.
These conditions have operated to various degrees in various countries and in Britain they have done so to a degree acutely disadvantageous to the Nationalist cause (we are of course speaking here of British Nationalism and not of regional separatist movements in Scotland and Wales, nor of Irish Republicanims, which are regarded as in an entirely different category). The way in which the establishment in Britain has reacted to the challenge of Nationalism has been similar to someone telling a motorist: “You are completely free to drive around our neighbourhood and go anywhere you like,” and then when the motorist sets out to do just that he finds himself thus prevented by a series of no-entry signs, road repairs, traffic jams, and diversions every time that he wants to travel down a street of his choice. The whole set-up is of course one colossal piece of humbug. The ‘democracy’ that exists on paper in no way exists in real practice, except in the case of those whose viewpoint has been vetted and approved by the establishment as being “not dangerous”.
The Liverpool Experience
This system of concealed suppression exists, broadly speaking, throughout most of the present Western World. Our own party experienced it in Liverpool only recently in events that were described in our columns last month. We elected to hold a public rally in the city in accordance with our ‘democratic’ rights; in the event we were stopped from doing so by a combination of city council, police, hotel management, and left-wing political opposition, which all acted in tandem on the occasion to prevent our rights being exercised. There occurred the threat of a riot and the ‘democratic’ process was immediately suspended in the interests of preventing that riot. It needs little imagination to realise that such a threat of riot can easily be ‘arranged’ just about anywhere and at any time for the same procedure to be adopted – to the point at which, eventually even where no real threat of riot is present, the mere supposition of it is enough to have the same result.
To state all of this is not to deny that the violation by ‘democratic’ powers of their own supposed principles in these cases has a certain rationale – if looked at from their own point of view. To the claim which I have made, that the whole process reeks of humbug, the answer might be given that humbug is an inevitable weapon in the real world of politics, and entirely necessary and justified when some greater good has to be served or some greater evil opposed. Every possible immoral and despicable device was employed by the Allied powers in World War II on the grounds that the ‘enemy,’ i.e., ‘Nazism,’ was so manifestly and enormously evil that any kind of minor evil was permissible in the cause of its destruction. You have to fight dirty in order to win a dirty game, etc., etc. That is the argument.
With this argument no doubt in the back of his mind, today’s ‘liberal-democrat’ will sanctify the methods used to suppress those whom he regards as dangerous to his system. “Of course I believe in the maintenance of free speech,” he will say, “but I do not agree with extending it to those who will abuse it” (i.e., such people as ‘fascists’). In other words, ‘freedom,’ in his conception of the term, has its limits. Extended beyond a certain point, it becomes self-destructive to the very order of things that he holds most dear, which he considers essential to the stability of society as he understands it.
To which I would say: fair enough – given his particular values, one can see his point. Have I not acknowledged in the first section of this article that freedom cannot be total and absolute but must be restricted in certain sectors if it is to be preserved in others?
But where the ‘liberal-democrat’ trips himself up is in failing to make this same rule for those political systems he opposes as he does for the system he supports. In his own scheme of what is the right society he defends the withdrawal of freedom from those who might endanger that society; at the same time he is the very first to squeal in protest when just such a principle is applied by those who are acting in defence of a different society. Then such an act is derided as ‘oppression,’ ‘dictatorship,’ the denial of ‘human rights,’ etc., etc., etc., ad nauseam.
It is at this point that we should perhaps take a closer look at those societies regarded by the ‘liberal-democrat’ as the absolute antithesis of his own, and in order to see how there operates in reverse the principle of imposing limitations on freedom which he justifies in the defence of his own society. By this is meant those societies which the ‘liberal’ will designate as ‘fascist’ – using that term in the very broad, loose way in which he is accustomed to using it rather than in the exact and precise way in which it should properly be used, i.e., virtually any society in which Nationalist and patriotic ideals are combined with strong and firm government, rather than a society constructed according to the specific programme carried out in Italy under Mussolini.
Straightaway let us dispense with the idea that in such societies there is any such thing as the suppression of every kind of dissenting opinion and thought; such a thing would be quite impossible to enforce in practice even in the doubtful event of its being desirable in principle. No such suppression existed in reality under Fascism in Italy or National Socialism in Germany, let alone in any other type of society or system broadly similar to those mentioned. No ‘dictator’ other than a comic-opera fool (which Mussolini and Hitler certainly were not) would wish to be surrounded by people who never dared to tell him when they thought he was wrong. All sound and effective leadership, however strong and self-willed, needs sources of frank and independent advice, and all vital decisions of state need to be carefully discussed and analysed from every angle before the committment is made to put them into effect. Does anyone seriously think that the massive social and economic achievements of the so-called ‘dictatorships’ – undeniable, whatever one may think of the other features of those regimes – or the tremendous wartime achievements of Germany, effected after Summer 1941 against immense odds, could have been possible just through the peremptory orders of one man and without prior discussions involving a pooling of brains and expertise?
Those who care to read David Irving’s Hitler’s War, one of the less bigoted accounts of the 1939-45 conflict though by no means one completely uncritical of the German leader, will realise that its central figure far preferred generals who would speak frankly to him and argue with him when they thought it necessary than time-serving sycophants and yes-men. Meanwhile, those who actually visited Germany in the 1930s (as opposed to those who merely read about that country in their Jewish-censored press) will be able to testify that foreign newspapers, most of which were highly critical of the National Socialist regime, were available in the main shops and on the main newsstands of all the major towns and cities, including American as well as British and French papers. Bearing in mind that a high proportion of educated Germans were able to read in English or French or both languages, there might be every reason to suppose that such papers would be denied to them, but this was not the case.
Then there was Juan Peron, the so-called ‘dictator’ of Argentina. Organised under his government and run by his wife Evita was a special bureau in Buenos Aires at which any citizen, however poor or lowly, could call at any time of the day and express any complaint that he saw fit. Each and every complaint was carefully investigated and, where found just, was acted upon so far as this was possible. Such a procedure hardly accords with the image of ‘dictatorships’ that the ‘liberal’ would prefer that we have in our minds, which is one reason why not many people have ever heard about it.
When, in the 1960s, a group of army officers seized power and set up their own government in Greece under Colonel Papadopoulos, ‘liberals’ the world over squawked about all freedom of dissent in that country being brutally suppressed. Yet I well remember watching a TV documentary in which a woman well-known to be opposed to the government was featured openly attacking it in an interview filmed right in the middle of Athens, where she lived. Granted, the interview was probably not shown on Greek TV, but it must have been seen by a great many Greeks in Britain which were likely to return later to their homeland. Papadopoulos was, needless to say, execrated by his opponents for jailing some of their number; but this did not prevent them jailing him in return when his government was overthrown.
It has never been seriously contested, certainly not among people of my acquaintance whose thinking would in the ‘liberal’ vocabulary be termed ‘Fascist,’ that there should exist in every mechanism of state the facility for frank and sometimes critical discussion of government policy. Where the great disagreement exists is in the matter of the form in which this facility should be provided. There will be people who do not necessarily support the contention of ‘liberals’ that the parliamentary form prevailing at present has to be the best one, or that that squalid commercial racket masquerading under the guise of a ‘free press’ is indeed the best means whereby there can be a frank public discussion of national affairs whereby public evils may be eliminated and the public good served. One might indeed ask what is the value of a ‘free press’ in which the front page is plastered with ‘exposure’ of some minor sex scandal, written obviously for the titillation of readers, while much more important and damaging scandals concerning irregularities in the affairs of state are conveniently hushed up because of the fear that certain powerful interest groups might otherwise be offended and certain valuable advertising contracts thereby lost? Of course, the idea of a ‘free press,’ like all other ‘liberal’ articles of faith, is a total sham, as anyone with real experience in the world of journalism will be able to testify. Yet should anyone suggest that the press be removed from the regulation of commercial racketeers operating from the shadows and subjected to some more open regulation, however limited, by government he is immediately branded by the ‘liberal’ as the enemy of ‘freedom’! Of course, freedom of the press, as the ‘liberal’ would have us believe in it, has always been a total fantasy, just as the idea of freedom of broadcasting. Such vast and powerful institutions as the press and broadcasting can never be other than controlled by élites and oligarchies; the only question to be decided is: which élite? which oligarchy? And, most important of all, in the interests of WHAT and WHOM?
In what then lies the essential difference in attitudes to free debate between the ‘liberal’ and those who favour an alternative system? Perhaps I may be permitted to describe it in this way: while the former sees it as a means of disrupting the process of government, the latter envisages it as a means of helping the process of government. To the ‘liberal,’ human freedom and civilised political life are inconceivable except in terms under which half the body politic is occupied with the effort to govern while the other half is occupied with the effort to prevent it governing. No decent procedure of politics is possible, in other words, without the ever present existence of party warfare. There has to be a constant fight for power between rival political factions – otherwise no society can be ‘free.’ The ‘liberal’ fails to see that in such an environment the whole political process becomes nothing better than a mutual slanging match in which truth and objectivity, to say nothing of a sober judgement of what is in the best national interest, become the first and chief casualties. Parliament, instead of being a forum for intelligent analysis of state policy, is a battleground of ideologies behind which stand vested interests. As for ‘the people,’ in whose name the whole institution is supposedly conceived, their views are generally treated, as I have indicated earlier, with wholehearted contempt, while the real freedoms that are valuable to them – such as freedom to work and to walk about the streets in safety – are regarded as of little account compared with the freedom of the Opposition caucus in the House of Commons to howl down every Government speaker in a frenzy of zoological noise bereft of one iota of constructive thought.
Limitation of Freedom
Then there is the issue of the limitation of freedom to which I have referred earlier. As indicated, the ‘liberal,’ in contradiction to all his professed principles, upholds in practice that such limitation is necessary in certain circumstances. The non-liberal, though with much less hypocrisy, simply holds to the same view.
What then are the limitations on freedom considered necessary in those societies offensive to ‘liberals’ and therefore usually designated by the latter as ‘fascist’?
They are those limitations that are called into play at the point at which the exercise of freedom seriously endangers the workings of stable government, undermines national unity or substantially threatens national security or the national interest. Considering things soberly, I do not see such limitations as being unreasonable, particularly when it is borne in mind that they are limitations which, at worst, only affect a very small few and in no way infringe upon the liberties of the ordinary average citizen.
And given that the spirit and intent of a government are fundamentally patriotic – which is certainly what they should be – is it unreasonable to deduce that any political party, personality, or activity which repudiates the very principles of national self-preservation, national independence, and national defence against the country’s enemies, internal as well as external (which principles are the cornerstone of patriotism) are deserving of the status of illegal? After all, every state, ‘democratic’ or otherwise, legislates against those practices that are considered to be morally wrong or socially disruptive, and these include murder, rape, robbery, fraud, and many others. What, then, is wrong in designating in the same category acts which clearly are harmful to the national good and, likewise, placing such acts outside the pale of the law?
It has been in this spirit that the constitutions of the authoritarian states have been constructed. Clearly, there could be no room within such states for political parties or any other kinds of organisation not owing first and exclusive loyalty to the nation in question. Going one step further, neither could there be room for those whose political activities were conceived with the object, not of assisting the process of government, but of disrupting and sabotaging that process, since, whether by intent or not, activity of that kind would inevitably harm the nation and aid its enemies. The same could be said of activity which caused disruption in the nation’s economic life, and it has been for that reason that trade unions as we know them in this country have been disbanded in such states and their functions taken over by state-controlled bodies set up with a view to co-ordinating the different sections of industry rather than bringing them into conflict. Such procedures have, of course, been hysterically condemned by leftists and ‘liberals’ as an infringement of ‘workers’ rights,’ but those same people were not able to do much about protecting the ‘rights’ of those British miners who wanted to carry on working during the recent coal strike, nor, indeed, did many of them even wish to do so. To risk repetition, the ‘rights’ with which the ‘liberal’ and leftist are continually obsessed are always the rights of the politically active minority and seldom the rights of the peaceful and conscientiously working majority.
If we are to accept the premises of the ‘liberal,’ we must accept his view that political decisions have to be based on consensus and compromise, on mutual tolerance of diverse opinions, and on the attempt to synthesise those opinions into an acceptable policy. That at least is how the ‘democratic’ process would be described by most of those who support it.
Such a proposition sounds perfectly reasonable – just as long as at the end of the road there is the basis of a commonly shared loyalty and objective. When two or more groups of men are arguing about different means to achieve the same end, it is possible to envisage some acceptable compromise that puts a limit on the argument and gets them all working to that common objective.
But when the argument is between two or more groups of men of totally different and conflicting loyalties and therefore in all probability working in pursuit of wholly incompatible objectives, no such mutual tolerance or compromise can ever be possible, and it is in the matter of believing that it can that the ‘liberal’ reveals his naivety.
Men of good ‘liberal’ disposition have spent the last few years trying to find a mutually acceptable formula for achieving an end to the conflict in Northern Ireland, hardly ever stopping to think that such a formula is out of the question as it involves bringing together in common cause two groups of people dedicated to different and utterly irreconcilable causes, i.e., the cause of union with Britain and the cause of integration into the Irish Republic. In such a conflict one side can only be satisfied by the complete and permanent defeat and annihilation of the other.
Likewise, there cannot possibly be any basis for mutual tolerance or compromise in any state between two political factions, one of which is dedicated to the principles of national self-preservation (involving as that must do racial self-preservation), national independence, and national defence, in a word – Nationalism, and the other of which is dedicated to the removal of national and racial boundaries, to racial integration, to supra-national authority, and to the pooling of national defences in an international system, in a word – internationalism. The two concepts are wholly incompatible and one can only be realised at the expense of the other; one can only be ensured by the elimination of the other.
What ‘liberals’ have condemned in authoritarian states as ‘suppression’ of dissenting opinions has in fact merely been the recognition that in societies dedicated to Nationalist ideals and objectives there can be no room for those dedicated to entirely opposite objectives. One faction must obliterate the other or be obliterated by the other.
There is ample room for argument, debate, discussion, and criticism within the framework of dedication to the nation and between those dedicated to the nation; there is no room for argument with those who work against the nation.
These, then, are the limits to freedom that the ‘liberal’ fails to comprehend and therefore opposes as wrong, while at the same time he imposes his own limits to freedom in protection of his own basic beliefs and values. He is a hypocrite and a humbug, but he is more than just that.
He knocks the bottom out of his own case by repudiating the very principles that form the sole support for that case. In being prepared to violate ‘democracy’ in defence of ‘democracy,’ he admits that there is no substance in ‘democracy,’ only pretence, lies, camouflage, and deceit.
In answering a question which I raised in a previous part of this article: do I believe in democracy? I might say that I cannot possibly believe in something that does not exist.
No. 198, April 1985 and No. 199, May 1985
SOURCE: The Liberty Bell, July 1985