Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Leftism Revisited

My newest political read is Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddhin's Leftism Revisited, a survey of left-wing thought. von Kuehnelt-Leddhin was
a Catholic aristocrat from Austria--he wrote for National Review,
back when that magazine had class. His opinions are quite thought-
provoking, though rather eccentric. He sees all democratic mass
movements as fundamentally leftist, which in his view includes
nationalism, communism, fascism, and nazism.

At first, this seems overly broad. Nazis as leftists? Yet he makes
his case for this categorization, citing voting statistics in the
elections during the rise of Hitler. The non-leftist non-Nazis
voted largely the same throughout this period. The left-wing
parties, however, all went over to Hitler.

True right-wingers support the mixed governments which have aspects
of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy, rather than democracy in
its pure form. (I'm still debating whether the American government
fits the mixed government type.) von Kuehnelt-Leddhin shuns the
conservative label, considering himself an early liberal in the
spirit of other Catholic aristocrats like de Tocqueville and Lord

I myself am torn between Chestertonian democratic populism and
Waughvian aristocratic pretension. This book hasn't helped me
resolve the tension at all, alas.

No comments: