“Splittism” is a word that seems to have been invented, and subsequently only used, by Communists. In the second half of the twentieth century, “splittism” was an essential part of every Marxist group across the planet. Much like Marxists themselves, the word has all but disappeared, but it was once used to banish all who disagreed with you within a party, on the charge that they were disagreeing because they wanted to cause a split. Somehow the irony was lost on everyone, that the punishment for this was to make an immediate split. It was the perpetual instances of splittism, and the subsequent splits, that makes tracking the history of Communist groups so taxing. How can anyone be expected to remember why the Left Socialist Revolutionaries split from the Socialist Revolutionary Party? Was it over whether or not the proletariat or the vanguard would lead the revolution? Perhaps it was about whether reform was acceptable as opposed to violent revolution. Maybe it was the “Christian question.”
Although I am glad that both of those parties are defunct, I must say I am disappointed that the word “splittism” has gone the same way. What better word can be applied to the eternal divisions within political minorities regarding matters only they care about? Already this month the “hard right” has seen a dizzying number of back and forths about each other’s relative purity, and, well, the Christian question.
Ready? The Matts of TradYouth were asked to take a break from racialist topics by their church, so they did. Greg Johnson of Counter Currents was livid and said many a harsh thing. Rod Dreher of The American Conservative said he was happy about the sabbatical, but lamented that the end result would be a turn to Neo-Paganism on the part of the Matts. Gregory Hood on Radix wrote a lengthy piece on the matter. Another church posted on TradYouth to express their disgust with the church that had brought about the sabbatical. More recently Matt Parrott has stated his sabbatical is already over, but that he was unsure when the other Matt would come back. Greg Johnson has so far stayed mute on this, and Dreher seems to be wrong about the Pagan prediction. Is all of that clear, comrade?
Writing something similar to the above about the positions regarding Ukraine within Paleo and Libertarian circles over the last few weeks would be just as easy, and just as complicated. There is always plenty of splittism to go around on just about every issue, though curiously, everyone is staunchly against splittism. Like with the Communists, splits must be had because others are causing unnecessary splits. Furthermore, for every piece of writing demanding the necessity of a split, there is one reminding everyone to focus on the bigger issues, maintain a big tent, and focus on the real issues. For a perfect template of this, see Robert Higgs’ old blogpost, Against Libertarian Infighting.
Thankfully, I have never felt the need to write anything declaring banishment or encouraging unity. I cannot imagine a more thankless and unproductive task. Splittism is an inherent part of politics, ideology, etc., Communists were merely the ones who made a word for it briefly common. With the naturalness of splittism, is the naturalness of reconciliation — and then more splits of course. Looking over this perpetual cycle is for me the best antidote to becoming a true political animal, and should strike a particularly strong among the faithful. These are human things, human quibbles in a very material world. If there is any solution to all of this, it lies in teaching (and reminding) people, that there is a life after the splits.
Originally published by Chronicles on May 10th, 2014