The party I represent in Spain’s Parliament, VOX, is the Spanish expression of the ‘new Right’ that is taking shape across most of the West. It differs from the ‘mainstream’ or classical Right in that it does not take for granted the cultural hegemony the Left has enjoyed since 1968 (or, arguably, since 1945, as claimed by R.R. Reno in his book, Return of the Strong Gods), nor the Left’s self-bestowed moral superiority. The new Right confronts the Left not only in economic matters, but also in the cultural realm. The classical Right dismissively portrays the new Right as ‘populist’ or ‘far-right’ (the label ‘populist,’ though, might be accurate insofar as the new Right is more receptive to a number of concerns of the working class—like, for example, its helplessness vis-à-vis illegal immigration).
VOX was created in 2014. It arose out of the disappointment of many Spaniards, outraged by the centre-right Partido Popular’s failure to repeal any of the ideological laws that had been instituted by the previous Socialist Government: among them, free abortion on demand, same-sex marriage, artificial insemination for women with no male partner, a “law of Historical Memory,” which imposes a partisan, leftist narrative of Spanish 20th century history, etc.
VOX is the political embodiment of Spain’s national-conservative instinct. For the very survival of Spain is at stake in several ways. Spain’s political survival is threatened by a relentless emptying out of its sovereignty, either by power being ceded to regional governments or by power being transferred to a European Union increasingly acting as a supranational state. Spain’s social cohesion is undermined by a wave of neo-Marxist ‘identity politics.’ Her cultural heritage is threatened by mass illegal immigration.
Demographic suicide definitely poses the worst threat. Current Western materialistic and hedonistic culture is, to quote Mark Steyn, a “present tense culture” disconnected from both its past (depicted as a nightmare of male domination, racism, and homophobia) and its future (a future abolished by Europeans’ failure to procreate). Edmund Burke famously wrote that a nation consists in a partnership “between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born”; this partnership has been broken in 21st century Europe. We must realise that the present does not exist in and of itself: the present is the recollection of the past and the anticipation of the future.
The Spanish fertility rate is 1.15 children per woman, almost 50% below the generational replacement rate, and it keeps plummeting. In Spain, there are today 3.5 million people fewer in the age group 20 to 40 than there were only twenty years ago. In a few decades we will have an intractable population pyramid, with too few youths and too many elderly. Who will pay for retirement pensions and healthcare spending? In 2019, in the province of Orense, there were four Spaniards’ deaths for each birth (in several other provinces, the ratio is 3 to 1). The socialist government in place has passed a ‘National Strategy for the Demographic Challenge.’ In the long document, the words ‘birth’ and ‘babies’ are totally absent. The Government intends to fight the baby bust by improving internet connectivity and building better roads in depopulated areas.
The demographic suicide of Europe is closely connected with the disappearance of the notion of the sanctity of human life. In Spain, abortion is legally available on demand since 2009. Months ago, euthanasia was legalized by the Spanish Parliament. The inviolability of innocent human life used to be a defining feature of Western culture, largely distinguishing it from other civilizations, and even of its own pre-Christian past. Primitive non-Western peoples often abandoned the elderly in the wilderness. The arrival of the Spanish in South America brought an end to human sacrifices; English rule in India entailed the banning of sati (also called suttee), which is the burning alive of widows.
Doctor Jerome Lejeune famously said that the quality of a civilization is to be measured by the respect it pays to the most vulnerable. We are appalled when we learn that Australian aborigines used to slaughter 30% of their newborn babies for population control, yet we Europeans exterminate 20% of our babies in the mother’s womb.
Both the demographic winter and the advances of abortion and euthanasia are related with the crisis of the family. In Spain, nuptiality rates dropped by 40% in the last 25 years. Cohabitation has replaced marriage as the standard condition for long-term sexual relationships. The average European believes himself incapable of pledging life-long fidelity. Cohabiting couples have fewer children than married couples (not surprisingly, as mutual commitment is weaker). We as a society fail both children and adults when we fail to make marriage the standard place for sex and child-rearing. We are sacrificing the well-being of children—and even their very existence—as well as the true happiness and fulfilment of adults to the latter’s supposed romantic freedom.
It looks as if the ‘solution’ the elites of Madrid and Brussels have figured out for demographic collapse is mass immigration. Our case stands alone in history: we are a society eager to be invaded because it has gotten tired of breeding. For reasons of geographical closeness, that immigration will come mostly from Africa and Asia—the African coast is just 14 km away from Spain’s southern limit. The average income in the countries of Western Europe is 17 times higher than the average income of African countries. In 1900, Europe’s population was four times more numerous than Africa’s. Today, Africans are twice as numerous as Europeans, and they are expected to be four times more numerous in 2050. The migration pressure will be irrepressible. But immigration will not prevent the breakdown of the Welfare State: the average migrant is a low-qualified, low-skilled worker who gets low wages (if he works at all; unemployment is remarkably higher among migrants) and therefore does not contribute significantly to the funding of welfare benefits (on which he typically relies).
Besides being economically dysfunctional, most illegal immigrants are hardly assimilable culturally. European leaders hold their own culture and history in contempt, and therefore do not feel morally obligated to demand from immigrants that they embrace European values; quite the opposite, European leaders feel it is their duty to respect the migrants’ customs. Roger Scruton proposed the term ‘oikophobia’ (‘loathing of one’s own home’), the opposite of the Grecian virtue called ‘oikophilia’ (love of the home). The natural corollary of “oikophobia” is “xenophilia,” that is, inordinate love of alien.
Thus, we now have Islamic ghettos thriving in so many Swedish and Belgian cities (to name just the two most egregious examples). In French cities, we have ‘no go zones’ labelled as ‘territoires perdus de la République.’ Douglas Murray wrote in The Strange Death of Europe that, should Charles Martel (who fought against Islamic invaders, defeating them at the battle of Tours in 732) rise from his grave (he is buried at the Abbey of Saint-Denis), he would conclude the Muslims had actually won the battle, given that Saint-Denis is now largely Islamised.
Anyone who objects to ‘multicultural Europe’ will be vilified as ‘racist’ by the woke dominant thinking. Diversity is now widely deemed a good for its own sake—perhaps the highest good: “diversity is our strength,” we are told. But, one doesn’t find much diversity in Möllenbeck or in certain neighbourhoods of Marseille, Bradford, or Malmoe. They are homogenously Muslim areas; native European residents flee or adapt to the Muslim ways. As predicted by Giovanni Sartori in the 1990s, we are not moving towards a new Europe based on the blending of cultures but rather one based on the ‘juxtaposition’ of various identities and ethnic communities. Estimates by French demographist Michelle Tribalat indicate that 90% of French Muslims marry other Muslims. This “Lebanisation” trend is not tempered by the passing of time; on the contrary, second or third generation French Muslims often feel the appeal of their culture of origin more intensely than their parents or grandparents (Georges Bensoussan has referred to this phenomenon as “disassimilation”).
The option of the European establishment for a ‘multicultural’ future of mass immigration is confirmed by its treatment of central European governments—Poland and Hungary in particular—which have opted for a clear alternative. Poland and Hungary want their peoples to preserve their identity; hence, they try to boost native birth rates, rather than encourage immigration. They intend to strengthen the family and incentivize marriage, and also restrict abortion. I believe that this option for a different solution to the troubles of Europe is at the root of hostility towards Poland and Hungary displayed by the Brussels bureaucracy.
The role of identity politics in European decline deserves specific consideration. The 20th century was shaped by war between three ideologies (fascism, Marxism, and liberalism) in 1917-1945, and between the latter two from 1945-1989. Samuel Huntington warned in 1996 that this intra-Western ideological conflict would be superseded in the 21st century by a clash of civilizations, as the West would gradually lose its hegemony and Islam, China and India would gain economic and military power, as well as self-confidence. The world is living a period of ‘re-indigenization,’ as all civilizations except the West rediscover and reassert their fundamental values.
The share of the West in global population, GDP and technological power is constantly dwindling. Moreover, the ideologies of the 20th century have not been overcome. Marxism did not disappear in 1989; rather, it reinvented itself as ‘identity politics.’ The essence of Marxism is social antagonism, the interpretation of History as a struggle between oppressors and oppressed. In classical Marxism, the groups in conflict were social classes; in postmodern Marxism, they are genders, races and sexual orientations. Feminism and anti-racism made sense until the 1960s, but they attained their legitimate goals long ago (at least in the West). They have subsequently become toxic movements nurturing resentment and seeking to establish a ‘victimocracy.’
In the new identity politics, as long as a 50/50 ratio on gender in absolutely all socially-respected domains—scientific, corporate, military, academic, etc.—is not achieved, this means women have been discriminated against. The same logic applies to race issues, especially in the U.S., where “affirmative action” policies are leading to a dangerous situation in the academy: some Ivy League colleges are admitting black and Hispanic students with a score of 900 in the SAT exam, while rejecting white students or Asians with a 1400 score (as explained by Heather MacDonald in her book The Diversity Delusion). Our priority is no longer to pick and promote the most talented, but to achieve politically correct gender and race ratios. ‘Affirmative action’ in favour of women, “sexual minorities,” or people of colour is necessarily ‘negative action’ against males, straight and white people.
If the U.S. is the global vanguard of identity politics in its racial version, Spain is the foremost lab of its gender version. We are the only country that has codified a new crime—’gender violence’—which, by legal definition, can be perpetrated only by males. Criminal classification and sanction will vary for one and the same crime, depending on whether it is committed by a man or a woman. Due process of law and presumption of innocence have been undermined. Spanish men and women have had exactly the same legal rights for at least half a century; Spain is one of the safest countries for women in the world, according to international studies. Yet, Spain now possesses a Ministry of Equality, lavishly funded with taxpayers’ money. Its primary mission is to drum into Spanish minds the notion that ‘gender oppression’ is alive and we still have a long way to go before we achieve real equality.
The success of identity politics is to be understood in the light of two factors. On the one hand, the temptation of victimhood is deeply entrenched in human nature. It is very attractive to think that if you failed in the exams or in your career, it was not really your fault: sexist-racist-homophobic society is to blame. On the other hand, identity politics is actually functioning as the pseudo-religion of the 21st century (this is a phenomenon insightfully scrutinized by Douglas Murray). Young people in search of existential meaning, in search of a purpose other than earning money and seeking pleasure, are proposed a horizon of moral purification. How can you be virtuous in the 21st century? By embracing the feminist, anti-racist, and LGBT causes.
Alas, such young people are joining these fights 60 years late. Identity politics entails, thus, cognitive dissonance: you must depart from reality, you must discover an invisible oppression where it is not apparent anymore. Kenneth Minogue has suggested that leftist social justice warriors are suffering from what he calls “Saint George in retirement syndrome.” With no dragons left to slay, St. George, the dragon-slayer, finds himself forced to become a hero in a new way. He must invent dragons where none exist, and even swing his sword into thin air. The pseudo-religious side of identity politics is also manifest in the growing, aggressive intolerance displayed by its supporters. Dissenters are vilified as beyond the pale. They seek to silence others, not by disproving the truth of what they say, but by decreeing that they don’t have the right to say it (because it is allegedly sexist, racist or homophobic).
Environmentalism is another increasingly influential pseudo-religion, also very detrimental to the West’s prospects. Current environmentalism turns the clock back to primitive religion, the worship of natural forces and elements, that historically preceded the emergence of the notion of a personal God. Environmentalist religion possesses its own divinity (the planet), its original sin (the industrial revolution and the use of fossil fuels), its gospel of salvation (Agenda 2030 and the “green laws”, like the Spanish law on climate change), its penance (the ascetic vegan, sustainable life, with no meat and no aeroplanes), its Paradise (the “climatically neutral” Europe of 2050, with its landscape filled with solar panels) and its prophetess (Greta Thunberg).
We all admit the world’s average temperature has increased since the 19th century, but that warming has benefited mankind (for example, with the fertilizing effect of the increase of carbon dioxide, which has made the planet greener). It is deemed impermissible to ask to what degree this warming is due to natural factors or due to the intensification of the greenhouse effect caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Despite what we are told, the ‘scientific community’ is not united on this topic. The acceleration of the warming predicted by so many environmental scaremongers in the 1980s and ’90s has not come about. The predicted surge of floods, hurricanes, etc., has not happened either: the number of fatalities in climate disasters has fallen by 96% in the last century.
If environmentalists are sure the warming is anthropogenic and will prove disastrous, they should be supporting nuclear energy, the only serious alternative to fossil fuels. However, their protests were responsible for the standstill of the global development of nuclear energy from the 1980s onwards. They spread an irrational fear towards the safest and most powerful energy mankind has found so far. ‘Renewable energies’ (solar and wind) cannot be the basis of an industrialized economy, but at best a complement. These energies are intermittent (they just work when the sun shines or the wind blows), un-storable and inefficient (to produce the same amount of energy a small nuclear plant generates, you need 450 times more surface of solar panel installation).
European emissions of carbon dioxide make up just 9% of the world total; China’s are on the verge of 30%. Europe has already cut 25% of her emissions since the year 2000; China has almost tripled hers in the same period. But it is Europe that commits to an ‘European Green Deal’ that will make energy even more expensive (Germany, pioneer in renewable energy, has the most onerous electricity bill in the world), while China and India pursue their unbridled growth.
Europe is immersed in an exercise of self-denial that will become self-destruction if a new course is not found. Europe condemns itself for its past (for example, for having practiced slavery… like all civilizations, despite the fact that it was the West that first abolished it). Europe fails to produce the next generation. Europe feels obligated to open its borders to everybody as atonement for its supposed historical sins. Europe destroys its social cohesion with identity politics and culture-war of gender madness. Europe weakens its economy with an ‘energy transition’ that will lack any climate impact whatsoever if it is not implemented by all countries (China and India included).
In the face of such a death spiral, today’s ‘new Right’ represents a response and a glimmer of hope. We must stop this decline. We will win if God so wishes. As Psalm 3 proclaims, “the Victory belongs to the Lord.”
Francisco José Contreras is professor of legal philosophy at the University of Sevilla and has been a Member of the Congress of Deputies of Spain since 2019.