The American right and Franco (blast from the past)

by Chris Bertram on December 2, 2021

For just over a year before Crooked Timber started, I had a blog called Junius. As the American right get more and more attracted by “natcon” views, I remember how shocked I was that even back then they could be quite sympathetic to the Franco regime. And I remembered I posted this (from May 2003):

Sasha Volokh, in the middle of a trip to Spain, comments on the Spanish Civil War and, frankly, shocks me:

…with every revolutionary construction of the war, Franco becomes more and more palatable to people like me, which means losing the support of any of the middle class or landowners and possibly even getting some of the Western democracies to intervene on Franco’s side. (I don’t know whether those countries would have the ability or desire to do that, but at least I, as a potential 1930s French or English voter (or Spanish resident), would have little difficulty choosing between Communists and Franco.)

This from someone who styles himself as a “libertarian” (I suspect these remarks reveal a greater concern for private property than for liberty). There were brutal massacres on both sides in the civil war, but the numbers slaughtered by the Francoists far exceeded those killed by the Republic and the graves of those executed are still being discovered today. What of the Francoist vision of society? Here’s Antony Beevor from his The Spanish Civil War, describing the social order imposed by the Francoists:

Every Spaniard was decreed to be a Catholic; divorce and civil marriage had been instantly abolished in Nationalist territory; and the penalty for abortion was made even greater than under the monarchy. The orphans of Republicans killed in the purges were forcibly baptized and given new Christian names. The church was in a position to establish a thorough control of public morals. One of their posters ordered: ‘No immoral dances, no indecent frocks, no bare legs, no heathen beaches.’ (The Falange, meanwhile, seized girls on the street whom they considered to be immodestly dressed and cropped their hair forcibly.(p. 385)….

According the the Falange, the state would only be ‘strong if the woman at home is healthy, fecund, hard-working and happy.’ She was therefore liberated ‘from having to work outside the home’, which meant that she was barred from practically all jobs except that of a domestic servant.(p. 387)

There are pages of this kind of thing. I realize that Mr Volokh may have good reasons for hostility to the Communist Party, but in the passage I quoted from him he is explicitly imagining himself as an English, French or Spanish person of the 1930s (I wonder how he can be so sure of what his reactions would have been?). The regime imposed by the Francoists had many Taliban-like features and even middle-class voters with property have daughters! Of course, the Taliban (not to mention many other brutal dictatorships) owed their success to a similar anyone-but-the-communists attitude.

Twigs and branches

by John Q on December 2, 2021

Another open thread, where you can comment on any topic. Moderation and standard rules still apply. Lengthy side discussions on other posts will be diverted here. Enjoy!