The causes of progressivism: more questions to Drieu Godefridi

Today we continue our correspondence with Drieu Godefridi, a philosopher of law trained at the Sorbonne, whose book The Green Reich

was recently translated in Brazil. As we have seen, he was skeptical of general explanations that assume “everything is connected.” I then continued asking about the causes of progressivism, since in fact the uniformity of this political-cultural manifestation that crosses continents unaltered amazes me.

Question on the causes of progressivism

It is possible to draw a parallel between communism and progressivism (let’s call this anti-human ideological set) as social phenomena: typically, social groups that were communists yesterday are progressives today. But at the time of communism there was a central power that could explain the almost uniform spread of communism. If a European communist sounded the same as an African or an American communist, the phenomenon could be explained by the direct influence of the USSR. However, the same is true in the case of progressivism – or it is even worse, since communism embraced more opposing and expressive aspects (see Stalinism and Trotskyism, for example). The uniformity of progressivism is unbelievable. Thus, the most intuitive explanation is to ask cui bono and attribute the cause to it. I answer that progressivism is good for those who want to create monopolies, because quotas for LGBTQIAP+, and similar ones, generate additional costs that cannot be paid by the small ones. I can then close your bakery for transphobia.

However, if we consider that progressivism is not caused by great central planning, we will have to look for the causes in mentalities. We can assign a social or moral evil the condition of the first cause and then add the monopolists as shrewd but secondary actors who use this social fragility to their advantage. Although counterintuitive, it is not a bad idea, and it can be used to explain communism as well, placing the USSR as a shrewd actor who used the spiritual confusion of urban and educated youth. It was the usual approach in Russian literature.

Do you think of such an explanation?


Your questions are very interesting and I answer them without delay:

1. What explains the relative coherence of communisms is the role of the USSR, you are right; but also, and at first, the role of the work of Karl Marx (plus Friedrich Engels). Doctrinally speaking, communism has always been a Marxism, and no communist experience is known that has not claimed Marx’s work. Now, there is no doctrinal equivalent of this “beacon” of communism in what you call contemporary progressivism. The question only gets more interesting!

2. Before answering it, a terminological precision: I strongly regret that we have relegated the beautiful name of progressivism to the left. On my own, and following the example of Friedrich Hayek, I am ‘progressive’ in the precise sense that I approve of and celebrate the immense technological advances of this civilization that your continent and mine share. It seems to me a mistake to leave in the hands of this extremist and regressive left the name of progress, as well as that of liberal . (Liberal, as you know, originally designated, in both English and French, the partisans of the free-market . Today, ‘liberal‘, in the United States, designates exclusively the left, and even the Marxists!)

3. It seems to me that the biggest difference between the time of the USSR and ours is the speed in the circulation of information. A disinformation campaign made in USSR took months to foment; then months, and sometimes years, to be put into operation. Nowadays, it only takes a few hours for an idea, a meme, a (dis)information to go around the planet several times and impose itself on our screens. , including yours and mine. But what explains the relative uniformity of this new leftism, in my humble opinion, is that the Soviet matrix was succeeded by the American matrix. It hurts. write this to me, but the United States is today the cultural heart — in the Gramscian sense — and the throbbing and fearfully fertile matrix of the worst derivatives of this new leftism. This at all levels: gender ideology, neo-racism, environmentalism. Just one example: for months now, in the United States, the left has imposed the idea that a man can be pregnant in the same way as a woman. Nothing in Europe. Six months later, the same idea prevails everywhere in Europe. And it’s just one example in a thousand. Are they tearing down statues in the US? We bet the statues will also shake on their pedestals in Europe! What is true of Europe is probably true of the other countries of the “Western” world in the civilizational sense (Australia, New Zealand, South America, etc.). The cultural matrix of this new leftism is North American, as is the cultural matrix of the 20th century was Soviet.

Question on thematic specialization

It is undoubtedly a simple and plausible explanation. And it is compatible with John Gray’s theory of apocalyptic religions: after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the US became the new beacon of the End of History, and another Hegelian — Francis Fukuyama — became the official prophet. The whole world was moving “inexorably” towards an American democracy and a market economy; peace would be eternal.

As for the name, Thomas Sowell said that the progressives

are like failed firms that change their name to escape charges. The racist and eugenic infamy of the Progressive Era made the progressives ) called themselves liberals. So it is because there was a movement with that name that I use it. As for the American history of this movement, I think it is well explained in Liberal Fascism

by Jonah Goldberg. But he took that expression from HG Wells, a very important Englishman. It would be very convenient to have a complete history of this ideology of Anglophone origin that had close relations with Nazism.

Today the USA is really the new center of a cultural empire to Gramsci. And it is interesting to note that different aspects of his ideology are emphasized in different countries. I suppose the most important thing in Canada is gender; in Europe, environmentalism. Here, it’s race. Since World War II, the West knew that Brazil had no segregation. The FEB brought together men of all colors and they worked as friends. Then UNESCO invited Gilberto Freyre, a cultural anthropologist opposed to eugenics and racism, to coordinate a study that would make Brazil an example of “race relations” for the world. Since the influence of the Ford Foundation, however, it has to be said that Gilberto Freyre is racist and that Brazil has a “veiled racism” worse than the racism of the USA. Florestan Fernandes (a communist sociologist at USP) became the official racial thinker. But there was another left-wing anthropologist, Darcy Ribeiro, who endorsed Freyre’s theses concerning the absence of racism itself in Brazil.

In the new American phase from the global left, it is mandatory to introduce affirmative action in everything: at the beginning, at the university; now, in the money that political parties spend on candidates. There’s a big problem: you can’t always say, in Brazil, if someone is white or black. How to solve? At first, they didn’t have the courage to propose racial courts, and the universities created the self-declaration system. Unsurprisingly, even the blue-eyed whites declared themselves black. Universities then created “self-reporting hetero-identification commissions” — ie, racial courts — to decide whether the individual is white or black. In the first year, two identical twins were declared white and black by the UnB racial court.

Brazil has a Constitution (of

) anti-racist, so the issue was taken to the Supreme Court, which interpreted racial quotas as constitutional. However, this subjection of the politician to the judiciary already seems to be a symptom of US influence. This subjection was noted by Tocqueville, as well as the isolation between administration and politics. I don’t think the people who elected Trump are progressive, but I believe the administrators are. With authoritarian jurists and bureaucrats, it is possible, in this system, to subjugate the people.

Thus, it is plausible to say that US democracy degenerates because of these two particularities, and that the strength of that country exported the vices of its political system?


1. What you write about the specialization of our continents in the different registers of this new leftism is quite accurate: “it is interesting to note that different aspects of its ideology are emphasized in different countries. I suppose that the most important thing in Canada is gender; in Europe, environmentalism. Here, it’s race.” That’s right. Ecologism is probably the only variant of this new leftism in which Western Europe has an advantage over the United States. The European Union, as an undemocratic bureaucratic construction, lends itself wonderfully to the imposition of an extreme ecological agenda. It is very clear that this is the case today, under the influence of European Commissioner Frans Timmermans, probably the worst extremist who came to power in Western Europe after 1945. This Dutch socialist converted to fanatical ecologism is the perfect incarnation of the thesis I defend in The Green Reich.

It remains true that the last sun of this new leftism is North American. Let us not forget what distinguishes the US from Europe as well as from South America: strength. Seven hundred billion dollars in annual military budget: the American boiler of this new leftism is based on an unparalleled power on the surface of the globe and on the massive impact of its cultural industry on our national cosmovisions.

two. His description of the misdeeds of contemporary left neo-racism is also perfect. As I described in my essay Estampillés — essai sur le néo-racisme de la gauche [Carimbados: Ensaio sobre o neorracismo da esquerda], taking the racial factor into account necessarily leads to the consequences you describe: racial courts. Will they ever measure the skulls, as the German National Socialists did, to certify the race of university candidates? It is often forgotten, but Nazism was not a “white supremacism” [supremacismo branco], but an “aryano-supremacism” [supremacismo ariano], ie, they had “the Aryan” as a race superior to all too much. In the beginning and before everyone else, the Slav, who is as white as possible. Nazi scientists regarded the Slav as a species of ill-evolved animal. But as he was as white as a German, often blond and light-eyed, the Nazis borrowed from the French theorist Vacher de Lapouge his theory of races based on the shape of the skull. I add an image of one of these Nazi scientists at work, ie measuring a gypsy’s skull, in 214:

Stein/Pfalz Fo Fa. IV 1938. Fonte: Wikimedia
Stein/Pfalz Fo Fa. IV 214. Source: Wikimedia| o.Ang.

What about those with mixed ancestry? This neo-racism is as grotesque in its theory as it is monstrous in its practical effects.

3. The judicialization of the political is a good and a bad thing. That there is a part of judicialization consubstantial with the separation of powers, in the sense of Aristotle, John Locke, Montesquieu and Friedrich Hayek, is indisputable. From this point of view, it is desirable, for example, for a constitutional court to be able to stop a law that violates the constitution. Without this, the very concept of constitution is emptied of meaning and we return to radical and arbitrary democracy in the sense of the Attitude. 5th century BC. C. On the other hand, what is detestable is the coming to power of a generation of judges, in Europe as in the USA, who

“legislate from the bench”, ie, who replace with their vision of the just that of democratically elected representatives. Just one example: in Europe, the entire asylum policy took place under the blow of the extremist and delusional jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, and notably the Hirsi decision, which imposes a policy “open borders” would indeed not be wanted by 10% of European citizens, if they had been given a voice in this matter. This drift is not only deplorable; it threatens the foundation—the definition—of our democracies. Symptomatic from this point of view is the reaction of the Democratic left to the Dobbs decision (24123812) of the Supreme Court, which is limited to to note that there is no federal right to abortion in the Constitution — a truism — without in any way preventing states from practicing abortion if that is the democratic desire of the majority of their citizens. Democrats cannot accept this, as they demand that their subjective preferences, even the most extreme, be imposed by all means, regardless of the fraud of democratic mechanisms.

Thank you for this pleasant exchange which I hope will be as interesting for you and your readers as it is for me.

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