Quote of the Week: Sam Francis, “Shots Fired”

The ‘Religious Right’ is merely the current incarnation of the on-going Middle American Revolution, a cultural and political movement that has underlain the political efforts of the American Right since the end of World War II. Despite what many right-wing sages would like to believe, that movement never had much to do with their perennial holy cow, the free market, but rather with the perception that the white middle class core of American society and culture was being evicted from its historic position of cultural and political dominance and was in fact in the process of becoming an exploited and oppressed proletariat. It was this perception, rudimentary as it was, that to a large extent underlay the political movements around Father Coughlin, Huey Long, and similar figures in the Depression and later around Sen. McCarthy, whose anti-communist radicalism is explicable only as a vehicle for Middle American resistance to and resentment of the ruling class that had by the 1950s displaced the traditional bourgeois elite of the nation.

Since the end of World War II, the American Right as a mass political force in the United States has been driven by three successive causes. The first, anti-communism, carried not only McCarthy but also Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon in the 1950s, though Eisenhower merely piggy-backed on the synthesis of anti-communism and Middle American class and ethnic consciousness that Nixon and McCarthy had so brilliantly forged. The second, opposition to the civil right revolution based mainly in the South and later in northern white working class suburbs, carried Barry Goldwater, George Wallace, and (again) Richard Nixon, though Mr. Goldwater never understood what he was leading and continues to this day to imagine that it was a movement for ‘individual freedom’ (a delusion that helped him lose the support of the northern working-class voters) rather than a social convulsion for the preservation of class, ethnic and cultural dominance.

The third cause of the Right is now and has been what was called in the 1970s the ‘social issue’ and in the 90s the ‘culture war’, and, far more explicitly and effectively than the earlier anti-communism and bourgeois individualism exposed by the Right of the 50s and 60s, it focuses on resisting the erosion of traditional morality and the traditional middle class social and economic dominance the morality codified. ‘Cultural issues’ were indeed present in but remained largely tangential to the right-wing efforts of the earlier decades and emerged as prevalent concerns only in reaction to the cultural assaults of the 1960s and afterwards. The most obvious way to defend a moral code is through religion, and the most obvious people to defend it are religious leaders and their followers. Hence, religion emerged logically as the appropriate vehicle for the expression of Middle American moral, social, and cultural counter-revolution.

What follows from this line of analysis of the religious Right as it exists today is that what ultimately drives its adherents is not religion in the ordinary sense. What drives them is the perception – accurate in my view – that the culture their religion reflects and defends is withering and their withering portends a disaster for themselves, their class, their country, and their civilization. Religion happens to be a convenient vehicle for their otherwise unarticulated and perfectly well-founded fears. But while it is a convenient vehicle and a more effective one than those that carried the Right in earlier days, it is not the most effective vehicle the Right could have.

This is not to say that the religious Right is composed of hypocrites who use religion for political ends. With the possible exception of most of its more prominent leaders, it’s not. Most adherents of the religious Right are sincerely and seriously religious; but you can be sincerely and seriously religious without being political and without being political in the way the religious Right is. It’s not religion that drives the religious Right; it’s the legitimate frustrations of a social class that has been bludgeoned and betrayed by its established leaders for more than 50 years.

Religion is not the most effective political and ideological vehicle for expressing and publicly vindicating the frustrations that animate the Middle American Revolution because the Christianity of the Right simply doesn’t encompass very many Middle American interests. While the religious Right is effectively armed with an ideology and a world-view that enhances its militancy, its energy in mounting effective political and cultural opposition at the local level, and its alienation from the dominant elite and the elite’s regime in the leviathan state, the movement’s aims remain too limited. The real problem with the religious Right is that, in the long run, its religious vehicle won’t carry it home. If they ever ended abortion, restored school prayer, outlawed sodomy, and banned pornography, I suspect, most of its followers would simply declare victory and retire. But having accomplished all of that, the Christian Right would have done absolutely nothing to strip the federal government of the power it has seized throughout this century, restored a proper understanding and enforcement of the Constitution and of republican government, prevent the inundation of the country by anti-Western immigrants, stop the cultural and racial dispossession of the historic American people, or resist the absorption of the American nation into a multicultural and multiracial globalist regime. Indeed, the Christian Right for the most part doesn’t care about these issues or even perceive them as issues, and insofar as it does, it not infrequently lines up on the wrong side of them.

Yet these are the principal lines of conflict in the Middle American Revolution, and it is by winning on them, rather than on school prayer and creationism, that Middle American interests would be served and the incumbent ruling class and its power apparatus be overthrown. While the purely religious perspective of the Christian Right helps to radicalize it more than anti-communism, libertarianism, or other and older ideologies of the Right did, it also tends to narrow the vision of what really demand a radical challenge from the Right – the domination of a hostile ruling class that uses state power to entrench itself and wreck the country, the culture, and the middle class as well. Thus, the religious orientation of the Christian Right serves to create what Marxists like to call a ‘false consciousness’ for Middle Americans, an ideology that appeals to and mobilizes a socio-political class but what does not accurately codify the objective interests and needs of the class and in the end only distracts and deflects its political action and ultimately works to buttress and reinforce the dominant regime.

▪ Sam Francis, Shots Fired (Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, 2006) extract from pages 102 to 105.

SydneyTrads is the internet portal and communication page of the Sydney Traditionalist Forum, an association of individuals who form part of the Australian paleoconservative, “traditionalist conservative” and “independent right”.

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