Do Rzeczy (“To the point”) interviews Prof. Miguel Ayuso


Intervention by Miguel Ayuso (Archive).

Professor Miguel Ayuso, President of the Philip II Council for Hispanic Studies, gave an interview to the Polish weekly Do Rzeczy (“To the Point”). Space did not allow him to elaborate on his answers, which we believe will be useful to Polish readers. We offer the original Spanish version below.

It can be viewed at this link.


You say you are a Carlist. What is Carlism?

Carlism is the political incarnation of the continuity of the Catholic monarchy, that is, the Hispanic monarchy. In the nineteenth century, the liberal revolution entered Spain by dynastic usurpation in 1833, while the defenders of the old order rallied to the cause of legitimacy around the legitimate King Don Carlos. Since then, Carlism has been the bulwark of the Spanish political tradition against liberalism, socialism or fascism.

How much influence does Carlism have on the Spanish right wing?

The Right-Left game is very inadequate for understanding political life. In any case, without Carlism it is impossible to understand Spanish history of the 19th century, with three wars and countless uprisings, with a dense network of newspapers and magazines, even with a significant presence in the liberal Parliament. In the twentieth century, its influence naturally extended into the period of the Second Republic (1931-1936), because without the participation of the Carlist militias, the National Uprising of July 18, 1936 would not have been possible. When the Falange was a small group, the Traditionalist Communion was a solid organization. After the war, Franco deprived it of the support of its Circles, that is to say, of its properties and means of communication, and unleashed a persecution that was at times relentless and at other times mixed with a certain tolerance. It can be said that Carlism was an important organization until the sixties of the 20th century. It was the religious change of the Second Vatican Council and the internal dynastic problem, when Franco chose as his successor the representative of the liberal dynasty (Juan Carlos), with the unwise reaction of Carlos Hugo de Borbón, that caused its decline. After Franco’s death, it was divided and weakened. But it should not be forgotten that the Falange itself, which grew in an inorganic and opportunistic way under Franco’s regime, did not have a better fate. The politics established on the Right after the General’s death was none other than that of liberal conservatism in its various versions. Today, although Carlism enjoys considerable intellectual prestige and has delegations in some parts of Europe and throughout Hispanic America, it has no electoral weight.

You also say that you are a traditionalist and not a conservative. What is the difference?

Conservatism is a branch of liberalism. The liberal parties of the nineteenth century, called moderates, as opposed to those who wanted to destroy too quickly the remnants of the old order, called progressives, did not serve to prevent or even slow down the process, but rather to consolidate it. Once its stabilization was achieved, since the consolidation of liberalism in the strict sense is impossible, since its triumph must coincide with its defeat, always at the hands of the most coherent of the revolutionaries, who only destroy, there were groups that focused their action on the preservation… of the revolution.

Today, a large part of those who consider themselves traditionalists, both religious and political, are in fact nothing but conservatives. Tradition resides in accumulated progress, sociological, but morally purified. Liberalism is anti-traditional, but in some of its branches it can be conservative.

How do you position yourself in terms of ideas in relation to a party like Vox?

Vox is an offshoot of the Popular Party. The latter was born from the evolution of Alianza Popular, that is, from the gathering of a group of political personalities of the Franco regime. It was a conservative formation, naturally liberal, with Christian-Democratic elements, which evolved towards reformist centrism. It is not difficult to understand that there could be a dissatisfied sector, the most conservative, with this evolution. But the origin of Vox is not so much doctrinal as personal. Abascal was a leader of the Popular Party in the Basque Country, with which he had some differences regarding anti-terrorism policies. He was received by Esperanza Aguirre, then president of the Community of Madrid and representative of the most liberal sector of the party in economic and social matters. It was only when she left politics that Abascal was forced to look for another space. His successive attempts were unsuccessful for some time: neither as a Catholic nor as an identitarian force, both of which he tried opportunistically, was he successful. Only the events in Catalonia in 2017, together with some (unexpected and completely circumstantial) favorable electoral conjunctures, managed to open a space for itself. In fact, it was on the verge of disappearing.

Vox is therefore a satellite of the Popular Party, which it rightly accuses of having abandoned some of its founding principles. But it is a liberal-conservative party, with extremist outward expressions that have earned it the label of ultra-right. Its emergence has only served to engulf any healthy reaction within traditional Spanish society and lead it towards liberalism. A complete disaster.

Vox is the only conservative party that counts electorally in Spain, but its electorate remains limited. Have Spaniards surrendered to progressive/woke ideology?

Spanish sociology and electoral laws mean that the Socialist Party is the “party of state” and the Popular Party is an opposition that, when the Socialist Party fails, manages to come to power for a usually short period of time. The voters of the Popular Party are not of progressive ideology, although secularization has wreaked havoc in Spanish society. Vox voters are former Popular Party voters who feel betrayed, but who do not always maintain coherent positions. In any case, beyond its demagogic and not very serious aspects, on certain fundamental issues, such as Atlanticism or Zionism, Vox is more pronounced than the Popular Party itself.

In Poland, and more broadly in former Eastern Europe, this progressive woke revolution developing in the West is described as Cultural Marxism. But you have written that “political correctness is not so much, as has often been said, the fruit of Marxism, or even of what some call Cultural Marxism, but of liberalism in its radical version after the revolution of May 1968”. So is it the model of liberal democracy that is dysfunctional? This has nothing to do with Marxism?

Political correctness is a phenomenon born in the United States of radicalized progressive liberalism. It is incomprehensible without Americanism. Its attribution to Marxism is a crude conservative maneuver to attribute to communism what is the fault of liberalism. And the fact is that stirring up the scarecrow of anti-communism continues to be profitable for conservative liberalism. Of course, the problem is liberal democracy. Classical Marxism has disappeared today. And so-called Cultural Marxism is nothing but radical liberalism. It should not be forgotten that the Western world today is a mixture of a capitalist economic structure with fiscal socialism and moral secularism. A kind of collectivist individualism, paradoxical as it may seem.

Is there a remedy for these dysfunctions or in your opinion is it a structural problem of Western liberalism?

Of course that it is a structural problem of liberalism. It leads to its self-destruction. The situation is particularly complex because it is a pincer from which it is difficult to escape. Mass society embrutes and reduces responsibility. But the remedies to get out of it, if the international panorama would allow it, are not assumable by the corrupted societies.

Spain has traditionally viewed itself as a Catholic country, as Poland still does today.  But for years it has been a vanguard of progressive revolution in Europe, more so than Italy, another Latin country with a strong Catholic tradition. What happened?

The main causes lie in Franco’s developmentalism, which stripped traditional society of its defenses and transformed it into a society of the masses, and the coincidence in time with the crisis of the Church, accelerated by the Second Vatican Council. All Catholic countries are secularized today. Italy and Portugal, of course. But also Poland. If sometimes it is not seen as clearly as in Spain, it is because we have a special political situation, derived from the electoral geography dictated by the presence of peripheral nationalisms in Catalonia or the Basque Country.

The situation of the Church is particularly deplorable. But as everywhere else in the world. In Spain, diffuse conservatism initially served to protect broad social strata from the deeper secularization of countries such as Great Britain, France or Germany. What happened was that in France there was a clearer (albeit small) traditionalist reaction. In the long run, France maintains this thriving group, although Spain continues to have a higher level of religious practice. The ecclesiastical hierarchies do not want to see the problem and continue to cling to the discourse of openness to the world. This has not changed since the time of the Council and has been maintained, with different characteristics, by John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis.

Should we regret the Franco era? Was not his regime authoritarian, but less totalitarian than today’s “woke” liberalism? Can the losers of the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939 be said to have won the culture war in post-Franco Spain? 

The Franco regime bears a great responsibility for the present catastrophe. It is impossible to imagine the current destruction without Franco’s social and cultural policies. The Falange, dominant in the forties and part of the fifties, was modernist and secularist. As a kind of refugium peccatorum, it allowed liberal and even Marxist culture to spread. Franco, moreover, had no political thought, but was above all an opportunist for whom the most important thing was his own survival in power. It was a dictatorship that, for those not involved in political or doctrinal struggles, was more benign than the current situation, but more oppressive at its core.

With a government that has enabled the extreme left and regional separatism, does Spain not run the risk of disintegrating both socially and geographically?

The balance of forces supporting the government is indeed very unstable. And the support of the separatists is bound to come at a price. Spain is disintegrated, but the phenomenon – once again – is not strictly Spanish. Dissociation or desocialization is a universal phenomenon in the West. Spain was anchored by the monarchy and the Catholic faith. And today, both factors of cohesion are very weakened. The liberal monarchy established by Franco has little institutional space. And, with certain ambiguities, it is always closer to secularism. Which is suicidal.

Can Spain still be saved? What can be expected in the current context? What influence does its evolution have on what is happening in Latin America? What is this influence?

From the perspective of natural realities, there seems to be no way out for Spain. Even more so if the Catholic Church does not react and continues a path of self-destruction. The relationship between Spain and Hispanic America remains close. Secularization is also advancing overseas, due to the inaction of the Church and the advance of the Protestant sects, promoted by the United States of America. Some of these processes are in common, while others are specific. Unfortunately, this question cannot be answered in a few sentences.

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