Two Trends

Political writers are eager to detect trends. Their early discovery boosts careers. With that in mind, your correspondent finds himself doubly endowed. There seem to be two trends unfolding, the trouble being that they seemingly contradict each other. Or could it be that, sneakily, they are mutually reinforcing?

Discernibly, the traditional political class of the developed countries is moving from left-liberalism toward the feel-good bubble of openly admitted socialism. This shift is accompanied by qualifying definitions of the new platform. Accordingly, since Soviet-style socialism had killed about a hundred million persons, the new recruits of the saving creed are not just socialists; they claim to be “democratic socialists” or “social democrats”. Is the wording a promise that the new socialism will be, unlike in the past, be committed to its consensual implementation? Never mind that since 1917 this has been attempted in assorted countries and traditions. Thus, the assumption that “this time” all will be different, displays a groundless optimism that only the blissfully ignorant, the gullible, and the self-deceived, can share.

What is behind the attraction of an idea that has repeatedly failed -and is failing- in practice. The puppeteers of the bait know that socialism needs to rely on a state with extensive power, and so the tyranny of the virtuous is no contradiction. Those intellectually qualified to comprehend a creed that is to save mankind, are the natural choice to enact it -even against the resistance of the unpolished. This confers total power on redeemers with guns. Any challenge of the suppressive doctrine is either an expression of the redneck’s brainlessness or of “enemy” subversion.

In most cases, socialist left-liberalism’s roots sprout in several pots. A superficial, albeit significant one, is that the attitude is fashionable, it lends moral stature, and it is devoid of any risk. “Celebs” whose talent and training are not exactly the cause of their prominence, advertise leftist collectivism. Careers depend on the approval of the insiders, and posing on a self-made moral pedestal is something that the “arrived” can well afford. Since success, recognition, and promotion depends on following the herd, even standing aside is an expensive luxury.

Modern leftism, as found in the elites of wealthy countries, has additional pillars. One of these is that the successful seek legitimacy for their achievements. Especially so in the case of those that are not entirely convinced of the justification of their attainment. Living in a mansion of sin can be vindicated by admonishing the public to build housing for “street people”.

Reflecting Marx, trendy thinking suggests that success happens at the expense of others. The more crooked, the wealthier. The poorer the nobler. Thereby, the redistribution of the wealth of successful societies is a form of penance that compensates the “exploited”. In this context, the wealth-generating techniques -such as good government, innovation, letting talents rise- are not to be invoked to defeat poverty. However, alms at home, and aid money to indulge the elites of backward countries, is encouraged.

Denying the validity of an approach that functions means that the road to closing the developmental gap is shut. Ideology makes left-liberal elites in the developed countries deny the virtues of the order they head but often doubt. Accordingly, as “experts”, to third world elites they praise approaches that do not function. In doing so, suppressive, venal, and misguidedly weird native elites are bolstered. In the resulting experience of these, poverty pays, and so their rule chokes the indigenous energy that could free those local forces that could overcome underdevelopment.

The atavistically left-leaning rule of some traditional elites does more than to deny the interrelationship between “culture” and development. Their cultural relativism, according to which all cultures are equal, makes them embrace two assumptions. One is that migration can solve the problems of the third world. The other alleges that culturally incompatible and unskilled masses can be assimilated to an extent where the fusion creates new moral and material highs of collective achievement.

This is the juncture at which our time’s trends meet. The described leftist trend discovers in the “West” the genes of global evil. Therefore, it welcomes pre-industrial migrants as a means to overcome “capitalism” at which earlier collectivist ideologies failed. Increasingly, this strategy provokes a response, since normal lives are impaired by the resulting crime, welfare costs, and terrorism. The reaction to transnational elites is the rebellion of the overlooked common man. The retort to the leftist, anti-national and culture-denying position, produced a corrective rightist trend. It has created new parties and movements, brought about new majorities, and it challenged dated shibboleths that traditional elites regard as self-evident truths.

The influx of alien masses that demonstratively reject local values through their symbols, behavior, and voiced opinions, has provoked an instinctive reaction. The more so since the traditional elites advocate a continued, and apparently endless, inflow depicted as a moral duty owed as a “reparation”. As a result, hitherto politically passive masses are becoming politicized. No wonder, as they are the ones to experience firsthand the practical consequences of facts, such as that, 60% of Holland’s Muslims reject the idea of living with the Dutch.

The once largely apolitical common man -he used to feel secure and satisfied with his lot- is developing a sense of being threatened. He fears a new aggressive majority coming about, and resents not feeling at home in his own country. Along with the rest of the “barefooted”, he sees migrants as occupiers and not as unfortunates that seek shelter. The incompatibility of the conflicting cultures, registered as growing crime, rising welfare costs, creates umbrage. Add here the glaring discrepancy between the alleged moral worth of refugees as victims of violence, and the guests’ contemptuous lawlessness. What the citizen is told to believe, and what he experiences, suggests that he is being duped. Tricks cannot hide facts, such as when the origins of criminals are kept under cover, or when hate crimes are attributed to psychosis to protect certain groups of blame. Thus, parties thrive that point out the falsehood of preached slogans and that articulate the facts of the lived reality that people encounter. There is a class-related element to this. Conditions in gated communities differ from what normal sorts experience.

Increasingly, the emerging new majority is unabashedly politically incorrect. While PC used to have the force of an informal law, its tenets are now ridiculed as naive. Bombarding the violators of PC norms with the “racist” and “Nazi” labels is losing its impact. This is a regrettable condition. Calling everybody a “racist Nazi” dilutes the charge; thereby the real McCoy is legitimized among the untrained, the unread, and the previously politically inactive.

The average person does not share the goals of his governors who wish to save the world. Increasingly, globalist liberals that advocate “solidarity” and “tolerance” face a nationally oriented crowd. It sees solidarity as a hoax to make one-sided concessions to elements that aim to become a majority and who deny the legitimacy of local values. In that context, tolerance is understood to be an idea that forbids the timely defense against those that demand toleration for their conviction that they need not tolerate what their faith does not explicitly endorse.

Oddly, in the case of some ideas, their spread and praxis generate rejection. Communism’s most committed critics were those that were ruled by it. Persuaded Marxists were types that my kind encountered in the West. In the case of overexposure to migration, the left-liberal “culture of welcome” triggers the defensive response of those whose life is supposedly “enriched” by “multiculturalism”.

Once migration becomes quantitatively “too much” and qualitatively “wrong”, it will be felt to imperil the local way of life. This is what our day’s rather unprecedented migration -actually a globalist success- has achieved. Opposing it in the affected regions is localism, the militant protection of local culture and of indigenous values. These concentrate on the issue of the rights of the majority, and so they wish to shield their lifestyle and to do that, they intend to keep their country for themselves.

As the two trends clash, mixing unrelated groups on an equal footing, even if their political culture, way of life and expectations represent incompatible opposites, has failed. Already, with the hardening of the emerging reactions, the game of politics is being altered. At the dawn of the decade, while the outcome is uncertain, it would seem that only the opening chapters of this process have been recorded.

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