This time around, the divine left is definitely short of ideological change. Once upon a recent time it went to sleep with uncle Stalin; much later, it began to yawn with the revisionist Trotsky, Mao, and Tito; today, it is noisily waking up to the tune of politically correct liberalism. Even a layman must raise a simple question; If the divine left did not have the guts to state publicly that it once was deadly wrong, how can one be sure that it is right today? Of course, its belated ideological menopause requires updated political romanticism, stretching today from the lacrimal advocacy of human rights to the fervent campaigns for the rights of pets, penguins, and pedophiles. Short of its hard right-wing nemesis, which is, alas, nowhere in sight, the divine left must resort to labels of demonization, dubbing every opponent a proverbial fascist pig.

The unstoppable corrosion of the liberal experiment in the East is causing nightmares for the divine left and its socialist-liberal offshoots in the West. The recent nationalist-communist temptation in Poland, Russia, and Lithuania is casting a long shadow of uncertainty on the liberal legacy. The facts, after all, speak for themselves; the free market experiment in Eastern Europe has resulted in a poverty that even bygone communist horror had managed to avoid. First decapitated by communist pathology, only to be recently inundated by growing market uncertainty, who can the disenfranchised masses in Eastern Europe turn to and which new angels can they now follow? Might it be that the bad guys from the bin of recent history were partially right? Could it be that some national-communist hybrid may offer the best political alternative for the New World Order facing old disasters? Right-wing populism, coupled with a growing appetite for a command economy, is meticulously paving its way through the mind-set of Europe.

Recently, the European New Right and its youngish French theoretical leader, Alain de Benoist, came again under the liberal-socialist limelights, presumably because of their never-ending search for the Third Way. Benoist, who has been preaching the exit from left- and right-wing dualism for over 25 years, was again called to account. His prestigious quarterly Krisis, in which both left-leaning and right-leaning scholars and erudites have found a platform for political and philosophical debate, has triggered a witch-hunt from all corners of the French intelligentsia. The first to hit him with charges of fascist and communist sympathies were some French Le Monde journalists, who were quickly mimicked by other defamers throughout Europe. As one could expect, instead of trying to refute the New Right’s scholarly endeavors and Benoist’s ideas, French and Belgian journalists, together with other politically correct writers, called for censorship—in the name of human rights and tolerance. The divine left and its liberal fellow-travelers seem to be indefatigable in defending all types of multicultural pluralisms, but they adamantly refuse the pluralism of new ideas. They deplore multiethnic purges in the Balkans but employ sophisticated purges against their erudite enemies. The modern hit-scribes attempt to relegate Alain de Benoist and other independent thinkers to the dustbin of history, although this time history has returned.

Benoist has long declared that, in the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the cleavage “left vs. right” means absolutely nothing. The discourse of the Versailles-Potsdam architects is no longer valid in the face of new geopolitical tremors, which are causing new intellectual rifts and surprising alliances throughout Europe and the world. What do the words fascism or communism really mean after the collapse of their respective systems? When Stalin went after the communist Trotsky, he called him a “fascist traitor”; when American campus students protested against the conservative Richard Nixon, they dubbed him a “fascist pig”; when a feminist gets tired of her awkward male, she calls him a “fascist jerk.” As the words “commie” and “fascist” become political footballs, so do their respective historical incarnations become trivialized and forgotten.

Could one not, after the brutal collapse of both communist and fascist systems, partially adhere to the conservative legacy, insofar as this legacy incorporates tradition and historical memory? And could one not concomitantly and partially tinker with the socialist credo or planned economy in a country shaken by barbaric upsurge in the only me generation? Unquestionably, even the modern standard-bearers of progress can no longer deny that the liberal illusion of permanent economic growth is slowly coming to a close. Today, even the French left is badly split. Some prominent left-leaning heavyweights, some of whom have collaborated with Benoist’s Krisis, have come to his defense and vocally denounced the new intellectual inquisition. Prominent left-leaning journalists, like Jean-François Kahn or Jacques Julliard from Le Nouvel Observateur, have distanced themselves from the modern watchdogs of political correctness. Even the former Bolivian guerillero, the famed philosopher Regis Debray, as well as the known sociologist of postmodern surreality, Jean Baudrillard, have scorned the modern liberal-socialist scribes in search of sensation. Many intellectuals in Europe know very well that different times are coming. Few independent thinkers can shrug off the fact that the Western European multicultural experiment with 16 million non-Europeans may be setting the fuse for a titanic Balkan powder keg. The wisdom of aged politically incorrect conservatives, such as Browning, Burke, and Benoist, seems to be unexpectedly gaining ground over inveterate historical optimism and its premature apostles of the end of history. Hard times are returning, as Aleksander Solzhenitsyn has warned, and, very likely, Europe and America must expect nothing from nobody: neither from their own atomized peoples nor from their distant, departed gods.

At issue in the new New Right controversy is the future of Europe after the breakdown of communism, on the one hand, and the persistent cracks in the liberal idea of progress, on the other. The European New Right, with many other European thinkers from both ends of the political spectrum, claims that the post-Cold War world can no longer be gauged by means of old ideological cliches. The rise of the Zhirinovsky syndrome in Russia, the neocommunist temptation in traditionally anticommunist Poland and Lithuania, the appeal of historicism among growing numbers of German scholars, require a different approach to political reality—an approach that goes beyond traditional left-and right-wing Manichaeism, Accordingly, political and ideological affinities have been realigned. Scores of former East European communist apparatchiks seem to have found a decent abode in a new brand of petty nationalism. Many have also converted to politically correct liberalism, grotesquely trying to prove that they are more American than the American political class. As far as French intellectuals are concerned, they have decided, some time ago, to quit the Mao pass and slide straight into the Rotary Club. Everybody, all over the Western hemisphere, is looking for new value systems in an old and disenchanted world of new unpredictability. The recent vogue in geopolitics at many European universities is confirming time and again that theologies and ideologies come and go, but rude geographic reality always remains a nation’s destiny. Europe is again in the foreplay phase of a new global crisis, and current disputes among European intellectuals are like minor political necking before inevitable hardcore action.

Beyond the issue of fascism, which is falsely tied to the European New Right, there is a matter of principle that the politically correct European scribes cannot swallow. They cannot tolerate the European New Right’s refusal of any sort of intellectual prostitution, in which the divine left has for decades avidly excelled. Suffice it to cast a furtive glance on the pedigree of Benoist’s detractors. Most of them began their careers in the 1950’s as avid brown-nosers of the commissar Zhdanov—only to become today the vocal disciples of the fun-man Joe McCarthy. The French divine left is using the generic term “fascism” to discredit its real and surreal enemies, despite the fact that it itself contributed to the rise of fascism in World War II France. Its political gadgetry had to be replaced, and consequently the old leftist emperor had to switch to new politically correct clothes. From jeans and joints he switched to Cartier and Coke; he abruptly exchanged rusted Kalashnikovs for more digestible caviar; he has traded in the muscled ideology of the gulag for the soft ideology of multiculturalism.

Indeed, a strange paradox now exists; the American traditional right, as well as its more dynamic counterpart the European New Right, appears to be more on the left today than those who claimed until yesterday the monopoly of the left. The so-called American paleoconservatives as well as the so-called European rightists are on the left insofar as they represent the new force fighting for substantive intellectual change and the radical exit from politically correct self-censorship. By contrast, the divine left, which once flirted with Marx, is hopelessly grounded as a reactionary sediment of past illusions. It pompously claims that multicultural happiness lies around the corner, although titanic ethnic cracks are surfacing everywhere. It nebulously aspires to the end of history, although history has already taken its revenge, notably in Eastern Europe. It dreams about the convivial get-together of patchwork guys from Borneo, the Bronx, and the Balkans in a promiscuous merry-go-round of global democracy. It screams for respect of human rights, while disrespecting ethnic rights. Moreover, the divine left has replaced its intellectual Mecca. It once pilgrimaged to Moscow and Havana; today it travels to its new global Damascus, called New York and Paris.

Charges of communist and fascist sympathies leveled by the divine left against the European New Right fly in the face of truth. In many of his theoretical treatises, Benoist has demonstrated that fascist racism is the offshoot of modern egalitarian schizophrenia. According to Benoist, modern anti-Semitism is a typical egalitarian pathology, which refuses Jews their Otherness by attempting to level them to the egalitarian Same. By the same egalitarian token, global democrats aspire to suppress the Other by advocating “global markets” and by turning every distant people into a hybrid Americanized shopping-mall species. The divine left and its socialist-liberal clerks operate like a reactionary fall-out, endlessly using and abusing abstract notions of democracy and human rights without ever situating them in a specific ethnic and historical context.

Some have also catalogued Benoist and the New Right as anti-American writers. Benoist, just as many other past and present European cultural conservatives, is anti-American insofar as he scorns the leveling American consumerism, the obsessive desire for global messianism, and the retreat from the tragic. They all bitterly regret the passing of true American federalism and the vanishing days of the last American hero, who once displayed the unsurpassable Jack Londonian will to self-surpassment. In a modern world of yuppie speculation, coupled with the dictatorship of well-being, there is no more rugged Shumpetarian individualism and the true ante bellum community. Modern American individualism has given birth to the self-centered hoarding of a happy few, who engage in vicarious pity for the distant poor of faraway antipodes. The American divine left and its liberal acolytes love to talk about the rights of blacks and Hispanics, as long as the latter do not knock on their brass gate or come close to their swimming pool. Modern European conservatives are critical of the mindless hedonism of the yuppie political class, which either benevolently or malevolently has turned the erstwhile American dream into a demonstrable nightmare.