Peronism came to Argentina and never left. Not only have the Partido Justicialista and its avatars dominated Argentine electoral politics, through their various iconic husband-and-wife acts over the last seventy years, but they have contaminated the thinking of the whole country, which adhered to their arbitrary and contradictory doctrines even during the sixteen years they were banned, and adheres to the present day when once again they are nominally out of power. Actually it is a century, now, since Peron’s “Radical” predecessors first won election (dating from Hipólito Yrigoyen, 1916). Moral, intellectual, and material squalour is their chief legacy to a country which was once among the world’s most prosperous and most free. The spiritual equivalent has now migrated to Rome.
This, at least, is the impression I have formed from afar. “Justicialism,” so far as one can read, embodies every sort of rhetorical populism, across the political spectrum, but with a heavy and perfectly consistent bias towards centralized power. It stands for “social justice” — an absolutely imaginary and therefore unattainable ideal. It is on the side of labour and of management, it is Catholic and anti-Catholic, racist and anti-racist, isolationist and aggressive, leftist and rightist and dogmatically nationalist with all the contradictions nationalism entails. Yet it is not unique.
Socialism is leftwing Fascism; Fascism is rightwing Socialism. Other than that, they are the same. They vie for the same voters, and politicians may move comfortably back and forth between their symmetrical (i.e. identical) extremes. The principle underlying both is that the government should control everything, for the government’s idea of the common good. Whether the government technically owns everything is neither here nor there. Indeed, Socialism/Fascism works better, for the government, if private actors can be made to take the blame and the losses for all of the government’s goon-show mistakes. Any “excess” income on which they fall in their government-assigned monopolist stations can then be impounded.
Mussolini tried the same tactics in Italy, and Peron hugely admired him (as did Roosevelt and many others at first). And had it not been for the embarrassment of having to choose an ally in the last World War, Fascism would probably still dominate conventional Italian electoral politics. Rather it does, notwithstanding, for as the Argentines have shown, you cannot oppose a bundle of statist contradictions without falling into contradictions yourself, and being lured incrementally into a reflection of your enemy. Italy as all Europe now reposes under the direction of a Euro-justicialismo of nested bureaucracies, and in North America we have “evolved” our Nanny States along the same lines. Everything is regulated, and with that signature clumsy incompetence that is inevitable when something very large and ham-fisted tries to micromanage things very small, such as human beings and their families.
How to resist? Not by “proposing alternatives,” which can only be implemented from the top down, through participation in the established political order. That has been tried, repeatedly, and has anyone noticed it has repeatedly failed?
Rather, I think, one resists by creative personal non-cooperation: rendering justice not “socially” to the abstract mass, but individually to your neighbours. With love.
That was from the beginning the “political” genius of Christianity, which undermined dirigiste authority simply by ducking under its radar sweeps; emerging when, under its manifest contradictions, it finally and totally collapsed. Casualties — martyrdoms — must sometimes be taken, but to the ends of Heaven they are all good. Live a free Christian life, in defiance of the modernists, but without telling them.
Spread it by example.