Worse Is Worse: Why We Shouldn’t Root for the Demise of the Establishment Right

In his Substack newsletter, Neema Parvini expresses the hope that in the next English parliamentary election, the woke left Labour Party wins all the seats up for grabs. According to Parvini, such an outcome is necessary for England to move beyond a truly tepid opposition to the left in the form of the present conservative party and its leader and England’s current prime minister, Rishi Sunak. The only way forward for serious opposition to the left, according to Parvini, is if the Labour Party is allowed to score a blowout in the next election. Then it would be forced to rule England “without the theatre and distractions of the Tories.”

I can’t say that I haven’t heard this argument before. In fact, I made it myself persistently for about 50 years. I once held an animated conversation with the right-wing libertarian Murray Rothbard in which I defended “la politique du pire” (the politics of the worst). This is the idea that one should hope for, or make, things go wrong in order to bring about a revolution or other social change.  It’s an old Leninist idea adopted by some French communists, which presents the victory of the most extreme elements in the enemy camp as a precondition for the ultimate triumph of one’s own side.

 “Worse is worse,” was Murray’s response, meaning that one does nothing to advance the American right-wing by ceding ground to a powerful, determined adversary. I’ve since come to the conclusion that Rothbard  was right, and that in my drastic wish for the Ieft to vanquish the fake right I had taken leave of my senses.

The most graphic example of the failure of my onetime strategy was the fate of the German Communist Party before the Nazis took power. From 1931 on, the Communists, perhaps on orders from Moscow, cooperated with Hitler’s followers in helping bring down the Weimar Republic. They joined the Nazis in making the Reichstag nonfunctional and even participated in street violence aimed at overturning Germany’s government. The Communists recklessly assumed “Nach Hitler kommen wir!” (After Hitler we’ll come to power!).” What happened, in fact, was that their one-time allies in mischief threw those Communists in concentration camps after assuming power.

Allow me to point out that the German Communist Party circa 1932 was pursuing a relatively sensible strategy in comparison to what Parvini advocates. In 1932, the German Communist Party had millions of party members and lots of seats in the Reichstag. Although they misunderstood the ability of the Nazis to take over Germany and eliminate their enemies, the Communists were dealing from a position of relative strength.

Parvini, by contrast, is a member of a marginalized right in a country that is ruled by a woke, semi-totalitarian administrative state, which is in tight alliance with the mainstream media, the educational establishment, corporate capitalists, and the culture industry. There may be establishment opposition in England as there is in the United States. But if it’s like ours, it tries not to make large waves and most certainly avoids being burdened by the unwanted presence of outspoken right-wingers. From where exactly does Parvini think he’ll draw his mighty counterforce to the left? Perhaps he’ll enlighten us because I have no answer to my question.

Parvini is engaging in what Carl Schmitt characterized as “political romanticism.” That is the tendency of dreamers to imagine that an otherwise unrealizable political goal will be achieved as a kind of miracle (Schmitt compares this attitude to an almost otherworldly religious orientation). From this visionary perspective, we needn’t worry about our present dismal circumstances. Everything we don’t like in the world around us will be swept away as if by the arrival of a deus ex machina. From the view of those advancing “the worse is better” scenario, this monumental reversal can only take place once true misery sets in. This also corresponds to some degree to the expectation of Christian Dispensationalists that we must endure a time of” tribulations” before Christ returns and sets up his kingdom. But, unlike Parvini, the Christian millenarians are speaking about a specifically religious vision. They are not proposing a political strategy for dealing with what looks to me right now like an almost invincible left. Please note that we are speaking about successful totalitarians, not the clumsy brutes who ran the Third Reich or who managed Stalin’s or Mao’s empire.

There may be light at the end of this wacky, totalitarian tunnel, but it will take a long time for it to shine on us; and a solution will not present itself if Sunak is replaced by some weirdo pushing open borders and transgender surgery for minors. Parvini is correct that neither our conservative establishment nor the British Conservative Party is really of the right, and both are offering at best band aids to deal with gaping body wounds. But neither he nor I are being asked to provide more effective remedies, and for the time being, neither one of us is in a position to bring about any major change to the status quo.

 Meanwhile, we are seeing a populist reaction to leftist excesses rising in America and other Western countries, which may check further leftist advances to some degree. Still, this shouldn’t make us overly optimistic. The glaring imbalance of forces suggests the right needs to gain much more ground before it can launch a serious counteroffensive.

The best hope for defeating the present holders of power is in allowing them to destroy themselves. Of course this may take a long time. We’ll have to wait until all the designated victim groups that make up the woke left’s clientele and street mobs turn on each other; and only then can we hope to see the eventual dissolution of the present odious regime, which misleadingly describes itself as “liberal democracy.” Although we can sow discord on the left, I’m not sure we can do much else to hasten the left-wing regime’s death agony. That end will come in its own time, and at this point we can do nothing significant to hasten it.

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