The European Far Right is Far Left (on Economics)

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Filling in over at Matt Yglesias's Center for American Progress blog, Jamelle Bouie upbraids British historian Andrew Roberts for writing that "Far from being the much-heralded 'crisis of Capitalism' that the left has so long and salivatingly augured, this recession has in fact seen Capitalism's ultimate triumph." Bouie says that a clever chappie like Roberts "can't possibly be surprised by Europe's rightward turn during the recession," pointing to a recent study, previously trumpeted by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, that "found that 'for every percentage point decline in GDP growth over two quarters, support for the far right rises by 0.136 percentage points,' which is a statistically significant effect, though not an electorally significant one (emphasis added)."

I am going to assume the study cited is methodologically sound (the conclusions seem unsurprising, though, from a quick look at the paper, the authors don't seem to identify which parties it considers "far right"), but Bouie's analysis is wrong on almost every count. By conflating the rise in "far right" parties with free market parties—Roberts is talking about a supposed rejection of "prime-the-pump Keynesianism"—Bouie concludes that Europe's recent turn to the right is unsurprising. Roberts' case is a mite overstated (I made a similar argument here), but Bouie, who says the correlation between financial disaster and an insurgent right is "obvious," doesn't seem to understand that the far-right parties of Europe are almost all anti-immigration and pro-welfare state.

There are also, he argues, obvious historical precedents to consider:

That said, you need only look to Europe in the 1930s to see how economic distress distorts the political landscape. Right-wing parties successfully capitalized on widespread insecurity to gain power or influence in Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria and France.

This is bizarre. The Italian fascists came to power in 1922, some years before the depression (and the 1930s!), by advocating a corporatist economy. In Spain, the fascists didn't ultimately seize control until 1939. As historian Stanley Payne points out in The Collapse of the Spanish Republic, by 1934 the Spanish economy was recovering and "although economic circumstances played a role, political rivalry remained the dominant motivation" for the political upheaval of that year, which precipitated the coup in 1936. Indeed, a fascist putsch seemed unlikely, Payne argues, because Spain was not burdened by "any significant demobilized army, any great mass of urban unemployment, any strong Spanish nationalism or militarist programs, or potential popular leaders."

And to what is Bouise referring in France, which saw the 1936 election of Leon Blum's socialist Popular Front, which had Édouard Daladier as a Prime Minister in 1933, and a moderate-right government in the early 1930s? In Austria, a far-right party—the National Socialists—gained power by annexation, using the ethnic pitch of Heim ins Reich and not an appeal to economic concerns.

But back to modern Europe: I invite Bourie to look at the party platforms of extreme right parties like the NPD in Germany, the Danish People's Party in Denmark, and Sverigedemokraterna in Sweden, all of whom display a deep hostility to capitalism. On the website of the NPD, an unreconstructed neo-Nazi party that periodically polls well in the former East Germany, one can buy "anti-capitalist" t-shirts and sweatshirts (and Admiral Doenitz gear!) and can print out generically anti-American handbills. Most of the extreme parties—left and right—agree on economic issues, though differ on who should receive state assistance—i.e., immigrants.

One more thing: Yesterday, I criticized blog posts by Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein for credulously reporting from a newly constructed Chinese village, where everything was free and the state provided gratis birthday cakes (and Beijing's version of eminent domain, which has forced people from their homes to make way for new developments). Yglesias emailed me, pointing out the he had previously blogged on the horrid policy of forced relocations. A fair point, and one I should have included in the post. And to be honest, it was Klein's giddyness and baffling credulity about the "sweet deal" offered by the Chinese government that really irked me.

NEXT: The Unbearable Rightness of Being Armed

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  1. Leftists always suffer from an exaggerated tendency to projection.

    1. The whole point of this, like most posts at this benighted site, is that libertarians are never wrong about anything.

  2. Jamelle Bouie apparently has no understanding of the difference between right-wing parties in the USA and Europe. Perhaps he should educate himself on that before posting about it publicly.

    The European Right has always been anti-capitalist, since it moved from being monarchist to being nationalist. Economics are a secondary issue to European conservatives. In fact, the European Right questions the individualistic principles of the Enlightenment far more than the left does on either side of the Atlantic.

    1. “Perhaps he should educate himself on that before posting about it publicly.”

      You’ve touched on the most annoying feature of political blogging. I guess that’s why its free. Yglesias and his comrades are particularly good at posting with severely stunted knowledge.

    2. What you say is largely true, but a bit broad-brush. There is definitely risk in transposing American politics onto Europe.

      Generally, the center-right parties in continental Europe (Britain is a different story) have social and economic policies that derive from Catholic Social Teaching (or similar Protestant influences), and are essentially corporatist, supporting a mixed economy, welfare state, and an economy dominated by big business working cooperatively with labor and the state. While they’re not all monarchist, they all have a strong paternalist element.

      In many cases, the free market parties are not part of the right at all, but are identified with the liberal (in the classical sense still dominant in Europe) center (e.g. FDP in Germany, UDF in France). The British Liberals used to be like this, although they became gradually more welfarist over the course of the 20th Century until now, when they’re to the left of Labour in many ways.

      1. My understanding is that the Whigs were absorbed by the conservatives at some point in the 19th century.

        I would think the Whigs would be the most libertarianish of the english parties historically. Yes/No?

    3. He’s not saying that the European right isn’t right wing. He’s pointing out the error of conflating the rise of the far right parties with capitalism. We all know the European far right is anti-capitalist, as in National Socialist.

    4. He’s not saying that the European right isn’t right wing. He’s pointing out the error of conflating the rise of the far right parties with capitalism. We all know the European far right is anti-capitalist, as in National Socialist.

  3. Well, the whole concept of “the right” taking over Europe during (or before) the Great Depression is patently false. Facsim, NAZIsm, and Communism are all outgrowths of the progressive movement of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. They were in no way “right wing” as we might think today. Mussolini, Hitler, and Lenin/Stalin were all left-wing socialists before developing (mutating?) their own version of the ideology. The fact that the American left thought SO highly of these creatures is hidden from modern society. But all one has to do is peruse the microfische of the New York Times from the era to see just how oftern they proclaimed Mussolini to be the “New Man” they had been waiting for. They printed similar flattering things about Lenin and Stalin as well. Hitler too.

    1. Fascism has always been a right-wing disease – consult any decent encyclopedia. Hitler banned labor unions, collective bargaining and even leaving your job – not to mention the religiosity, nationalism, and militarism involved in it.

      Marxism is the left-wing disease – the “from to each” equal outcome bullshit.

      Only pop TV/radio revisionists are conflating the two now.

      1. Sorry, but no. Take their own words for example, the mouth piece of the National Socialist Worker’s Party, Gobbels: “National and socialist! What goes first, and what comes afterwards?” How about the man himself, Adloph Hitler: “We are socialists! We are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions.” Yep, sure sound Right Wing there.. But wait, let us even assume you were not wrong. How did Stalin feel about labor unions? What about collective barganing? (Must have missed all those labor strikes in the USSR). Leave your job in Soviet Russia? Fine.. But also lose your (government alotted)apartment. Religiosity? REALLY? Have you read ANYTHING from the period on the attempt to breed the “New Man” free of the religious “opiate of the masses?”

        1. Our shrike is always on the prowl to shore up the American left. Gotta admire his tenacity, if not his accuracy.

        2. Your gibberish is unintelligible. I think I detected a quote somewhere in there from a propaganda artist but it is overall useless. Try using sentence breaks and paragraphs sometime.

          Or better yet – an encyclopedia like Wikipedia which uses footnotes.

          “Fascism is strongly opposed to core aspects of the Enlightenment and is an opponent of liberalism, Marxism, and mainstream socialism for being associated with failures that fascists claim are inherent in the Enlightenment.[22] Fascists view egalitarianism, materialism, and rationalism as failed elements of the Enlightenment.[23] In contrast, Fascists promote action, discipline, hierarchy, spirit, and will.[24] They oppose liberalism ? as a bourgeois movement ? and Marxism ? as a proletarian movement ? for being exclusive economic class-based movements.” (Wiki)

          Classical liberalism is the antidote for both Fascism and Marxism.

          Try it sometime!

          1. The Crank has a point. Hitler banned non-Nazi labor unions, and tried to fuse unions into parts of the state, yes. But the Marxists also banned independent labor unions (because while one may have the right to complain about the greedy capitalists, one cannot disagree with the Will of the proletariat)– surely you’ve heard of the Polish Communist government’s war on Lech Walesa’s Solidarity trade union?

            Your point about banning unions simply demonstrates that fascists and Marxists are *similar* in their methods, not different.

            Certainly, yes, the fascists hate classical liberalism, as do the Marxists. But it gets a bit silly to insist that one is “of the Right” and the other is “of the Left” when both the fascists and Marxists hate classical liberals/libertarians most of all, and both groups recruit from the same group of people.

            1. Which is why a society in decline is vulnerable to either “disease”.

              From the left – labor wants more equality and wealth distribution.

              From the right’s perspective – outsiders (gays, Jews, Mexicans, atheists, etc) of all types are scapegoated.

              Another great Stanley Cup game, btw.

              1. The national socialists differed from international socialists in the degree of nationalism (the Russian socialists wanted to spread their ideology worldwide by converting people to the cause, the Nazi socialists wanted to spread their ideology worldwide by conquest and exterminating all those non-Aryans.

                They also differed in the different parts of the proletariat and middle-class favored (the Russians extolled factory workers, the Nazis farmers and other outdoor workers).

                But they were both enemies of a free market and virtually every aspect of classical liberalism.

          2. “Classical liberalism is the antidote for both Fascism and Marxism.”

            I agree completely with this statement.

            Not sure that means what you think it does.

            Oh, and I’m sorry that my post didn’t fit your formatting requirements.

      2. Fascism has always been a right-wing disease – consult any decent encyclopedia.

        That merely tells us that encyclopedists are lazy. Basically, they’ve fallen for the modern habit of letting Leftists label anything they don’t like rightwing. Do you favor a decentralized, democratic government and laissez faire economics? Rightwing. Want a monarchy and centralized economic control? Rightwing. The only constant is that any government that doesn’t end up run by intellectual mandarins is labeled rightwing. I mean when you’re lumping together anachro-libertarians, Iranian Mullahs, North Korea and Nazi Germany together under the heading of rightwing, you’ve basically defined “anyone who isn’t me” as “rightwing.”

        If it’s just militarism and nationalism that define rightwing, then the Soviet Union must have jumped from the far left to the far right when Stalin christened the fight against the Nazis as “The Great Patriotic War.”

        Hitler banned labor unions…

        That is not true. He merely replaced the international socialist unions with his own National Socialist Labor Front under the venomous Ley. The Nazis massively improved both pay and working conditions for German workers. The Nazis first major policy act upon assuming office was to double the corporate income tax. Their second major act was to pass laws preventing evictions of unemployed workers.

        That is why the Nazi’s political support was strongest among lower classes and dropped off smoothly all the way up to the aristocracy who overwhelmingly hated the Nazis. Had the Nazis been so opposed to workers rights as you claim, they would never had that pattern of support.

        The Nazi believed themselves a revolutionary movement. They sought to tear down the old class barriers and they succeeded to an enormous degree. They considered themselves a youth movement and sought to drive out the old and wise for young and impulsive. They hated Jews in no small part because of the association of Jews with business and capitalism.

        By coincidence, I am currently rereading Albert Speer’s self-serving “Inside the Third Riech” This passage from pg 51 may prove illuminating for you:

        I was [1931] incidentally, the only member in Wannese, and therefore in my section, that had a car; the other members only expected to have one after the “revolution” they dreamed of took place. By way of preparation, they were finding out where in that rich suburb the right cars were available for X day.

        Nazis were just as their name suggested: Socialist for one ethnic group. Especially in economic and matters of class conflict, they belong firmly on the left.

        1. Which is why Fascism derived its word root from the Latin for “bundle”.

          Fascism also entailed right-wing values such as militarism, nationalism, racism, sexism (they were anti-abortion), corporatism, and most importantly, fealty to religion.

          The “Third Reich” means the third Catholic Empire (after the Roman Catholic and Bismark Empires).

          In their Straussian view of the world religion was necessary to keep the masses aligned.

          All the antithesis of liberalism.

          1. Which is why Fascism derived its word root from the Latin for “bundle”.

            This was a reference to the symbol of authority in ancient Rome. But the Italian Fascists were highly admired by Progressives in the US who felt that traditional classical Liberalism was unable to deal with modern society, but didn’t want to be Socialists either. Fascism was seen as a Third Way.

            The “Third Reich” means the third Catholic Empire (after the Roman Catholic and Bismark Empires).

            What? Bismarck fought against the Catholics at every turn until 1878. Ever heard of the Kulturkampf? He only stopped fighting the Catholics because he hated Socialists more– despite being the first politician to pioneer the modern welfare state (thinking it would shut up the socialists, mostly.)

            1. You know he first unified the southern Catholic German states. Nevertheless, as a ruler he used religion for political purposes as did Hitler in the Third Reich — which was my point you glossed over.

          2. Fascism also entailed right-wing values such as militarism, nationalism, racism, sexism (they were anti-abortion), corporatism, and most importantly, fealty to religion.

            It also entailed eugenics, which was most vehemently opposed by the Catholics. The effects of that can be seen by comparing the eugenics laws and efforts in the US, Australia, UK, Japan, Alberta and British Columbia, and elsewhere to their absence in Catholic countries.

            You are incredibly poorly informed, shrike.

            1. Eugenics? What a straw man.

              The Pope didn’t even object to Hitler’s concentration camps.

              Again – religion is used by right-wing rulers and not adhered to. That is the important context.

              1. Similar to when Bush said that God told him to invade Iraq.

                Every Evangelical in the US was singing ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ and armed for crusade.

              2. OK Shrike, Obviously you need to do some ACTUAL research. Eugenics was a MASSIVE part of the progressive movement. Progressives in the U.S complained that Hitler was “beating us at our own game.” Remember, this was BEFORE the Holocaust.. and “merely” when they were advocating euthanasia for the “useless mouths.”

                1. I don’t give a damn about 1920’s era (or any) progressives or eugenics.

                  The only American proponent of eugenics in recent history I know of was William Shockley – a conservative.

                  Not that it matters at all. He is dead now and eugenics is too.

                  1. Which shows your ignorance, Shrike.

                    Do some reading. Take a long look at what Margaret Sanger and her ilk were talking about. Her greatest concern was Eugenics. Primarily keeping non-white people from “over breeding.”

                    This is not hyperbole.

                    This is history. All you have to do is read what they said. Do that, if you can stomach it, THEN tell us who are the fascists.

                    1. Sangerites are fascists? Ok. I still don’t care.

                      If you’re implying that modern progressives – as misguided as they are, advocate eugenics you are truly Beck-level crazy.

                      Again, Shockley (a Nobel winner) was the only person in 50 years to advocate eugenics.

                  2. “I don’t give a damn about 1920’s era (or any) progressives or eugenics.”

                    Of COURSE not. Do everything you can to distance yourself from such a horrid Ideology. No matter how strongly you embrace it.

                    Hey, maybe NEXT time the “Right” people will be in charge..

                    1. I don’t think shrike was embracing it:

                      “If you’re implying that modern progressives – as misguided as they are..”

                      He’s just not being hyperbolic about it. Whether or not he is wrong is another thing, but it doesn’t seem he is embracing progressivism.

                    2. Perhaps not, just rejecting the historic fact that the progressive movement of the late 19th and early 20th Century was wedded to eugenics. He/She “doesn’t care” regardless of how deeply the leftists are part of that horror. We are supposed to ignore the monstrous nature of fascism, and take those like “Shrike” on their intentions that it won’t be like that this time.

                      Well, there is a saying..

                      “Never Again.”

                      I’ll stand with them, if they’ll have me.

          3. Yep. The antithesis of classical liberalism. Wholly embraced by the 20th Century Socialists, and their offshoots. Shrike, I will put this as simply as I can: Do you think YOU own yourself, or does the State? If you think you can make decisions for yourself, the, Oh My Old Son, You ARE a conservative.. Don’t struggle. The shock will wear off.

          4. The “Third Reich” means the third Catholic Empire

            Hah, hah, hah. That is hallucinatory. I have read several dozens books on the Fascism in Germany and not a single one of them refers to any specific relationship to the Catholic Church or an ardent wish by a bunch of Aryan obsessed Germans to be morally ruled by Italian priest. Most Nazis were bitter atheist. Rosenberg’s “The Myth of the 20th Century” which stood along with “Mien Kampf” as the two founding books of National Socialism, is a rabid anti-Catholic screed.

            Fascism also entailed right-wing values such as militarism, nationalism, racism, sexism (they were anti-abortion), corporatism, and most importantly, fealty to religion.

            All of which have also shown up in Communist states especially militarism. Abortions were illegal in Communist Romania. The great industrial organizations of both the USSR and China evolved into corporation in all but name. (That’s because you have to have corporations to actually get anything done and they have to directed and managed by specialist talent.)

            I think your whole “fealty to religion” error comes from conflating military governments of hereditary elites with Fascism. Franco is the obvious example. He even called himself a Fascist to get support against Stalin but beyond opposition to Stalin, he had virtually nothing ideologically in common with either the Nazis or Mussolini. The Fascist were social revolutionaries seeking to break the old class structures. Fascist despised hereditary leaders. Franco on the other hand wanted to return Spain to medieval template with a rigid, hereditary class structure and a culture dominated by Catholicism.

            1. The great industrial organizations of both the USSR and China evolved into corporation in all but name. (That’s because you have to have corporations to actually get anything done and they have to directed and managed by specialist talent.)

              That’s not corporatism. Corporatism (or guild socialism) was designed to reduce the influence of business on government.

              Corporatism as a philosophical concept views the nation as a body (Latin, corpus, thus corporatism), a more profound version of collectivism. This is why fascism is represented by a fasces.

              Corporatism as a economic system is syndicalist — boards of directors and other businesses ownership are replaced with committees made of 1/3 representatives of capital, 1/3 representatives of labor, and 1/3 representatives of consumers (often government representatives since the nation was a main consumer of many goods). Essentially, businesses in a corporatist society are structured how the Obama Administration restructured GM and Chrysler.

              Corporatism as a political system replaces regional representation with representation based on your occupation — instead of electing state representatives, you’d elect someone from your Corporation, which was based on what industry you worked in (we’d call this “occupational franchise”). So all farmers in your region would elect farmers to the regional Farming Corporation which represents farmers in regional legislatures and all farmers in the nation would elect farmers to the national Farming Corporation, which represents farmers in the national legislature which was called the Chamber of Fasces and Corporations in Fascist Italy and the National Corporation (replacing the House of Lords) in England had the BUF taken over.

              These national and regional corporations were essentially bodies of experts (or “intellectual mandarins” as Shannon Love put it) who made decisions for their industry — rates of production, wages, etc.

              The idea of occupational franchise and industry representation was to prevent overdue influence of any one industry, or as Oswald Mosley put it, “to prevent the electorate, supposedly all-wise, from electing a Parliament composed entirely of sugar brokers”.

            2. I think the original poster of this subthread didn’t mean “Catholic” in the sense of Christian, but in the sense of universal. The first reach by this accounting (“reich” being German for reach) was the Roman empire; its successor was that of the Franks, which was continued via the Holy Roman empire.

          5. Which is why Fascism derived its word root from the Latin for “bundle”.

            Just don’t forget Nazis didn’t call themselves “fascists”, this is an outside label.

            And here’s what your beloved Wikipedia has to say about relation of Nazis to fascism:

            Although Hitler s[t]rongly admired Mussolini and fascism, other Nazis ? especially more radical Nazis such as Gregor Strasser, Joseph Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler ? rejected Italian Fascism, accusing it of being too conservative or capitalist.[67]

          6. Have you considered that left and right are not adequate to classify political systems? It is pointless to argue about this because it means nothing.

        2. This is an excellent point. It’s also ironic, given the amount of time some commenters on this site spend conflating everything they don’t like as “leftist.”

          1. Those who identify with the left today have nothing in common with the liberal tradition, very few of them even bother to defend civil liberties. The ACLU and Amnesty International are considered a little too old school for those raised on Multicultural sip boxes. The word ‘progressive’ is pure vain self flattery. So, ‘left’ is about all that is left, except for socialist which always produces side arguments about what is and is not socialism that distract from any point being made.

            You play with the hand you are dealt. Don’t like it, too bad cad.

      3. Fascism is a fascist-wing disease.

        Right and left wing can be useful as a very simplistic way of grouping concepts by shared popularity (‘people who bought “Militarism” also bought “Racism”‘), but I’ve never seen any particularly useful explanation that would let me guess whether a political group is right or left wing based purely on its actions and policies.

        To people that consider themselves left-wing, “right-wing” just means things that they don’t like, so theists, businesses, fascists, free marketers, state capitalists, racists, militarists, pacifists, etc. can all be “right wing” (I’ve even heard lefties call Stalinism right wing). Reverse that formula for right wingers. Since everyone hates fascists, they are labeled right wing by lefties and left wing by righties (although the former view is also prevalent among righties).

        I wish we could retire the concepts altogether and do a thorough ideological survey that would identify and name the largest clusters of shared political memes. To be fair, the label should acceptable both to insiders and outsiders (as such, “fascist” is out even for a group whose beliefs are indistinguishable from those of Mussolini).

      4. Hitler banned labor unions, collective bargaining and even leaving your job

        Stalin did the same thing. Are you arguing he is right wing as well?

        1. I seem to recall that the attacks on labor groups were actually attacks on other political groups–the Social Democrats or Communists, for instance. Lots of infighting.

    2. Fat Rushitler!

      Fat Rushitler!

      Fat Rushitler!

      Fat Rushitler!

      Fat Rushitler!

      1. I’m a moron!

        I’m a moron!

        I’m a moron!

        I’m a moron!

        I’m a moron!

  4. I’ve never understood the concept of a rightwing national socialist. Aren’t those socialist chaps kind of, you know, socialists?

  5. There is very, very little difference between the far left and the far right; they just use different phrasing and code words.

    1. But just try telling the fucks that. TEAM R IZ NAZIS! TEAM D IS COMMIES!

      1. TEAM RED and TEAM BLUE should fight in arenas for our amusement. Two partisans enter, no one leaves. Because the winner then has to fight a lion. A hungry lion.

    2. Think Pat Buchanan meets Ralph Nadar…

      1. Or think of it this way: if these guys are the far right, I guess I must be a centrist.

  6. If I were alive, I would apologize for everything I created… and destroyed.

    1. If you were alive, I’d SO suck your cock.

    2. Really? Even Paul Krugman?

      1. Who wouldn’t?

        1. I’ll toss my hat into that ring!

          1. hell you would not even have to warm his corpse i would suck it dead.

            1. It’s much better warm, believe me.

    3. In the short run, you are still dead.

  7. The far right in Europe hates capitalism, because they associate it with “the Jewry.”

    1. Sure. Because the great renaissance banking houses were OBVIOUSLY Jewish.. You can tell by their names: Frescobaldi, Peruzzi, Acciaiuoli, Bardi, etc.

      1. Then again, there was no far right back then. Nationalism appeared with the German Reichsgr?ndung and Italian Risorgimento.

        1. Sure. Thae whole movement that the British and American Left LOVED about the Prussian/Bismark socialist network? Once again, check your history.. Wilson was a HUGE fan of Bismark and his social programs. The Prussian Model,and later the Russian Model were widely regarded among the leftist progressive set as the way to follow. Again, all one has to do to check this is read what was printed in the press at the time.

          1. And the Fascists were inspired by Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt…

  8. Even the Guardian realises that the fundamental appeal of far-right parties like the BNP is to the poor and disenfranchised who are otherwise likely to be on the left:

    “Estates that have been ignored for decades; voters taken for granted; local services that have failed; white working-class voters who feel politicians live on a different planet. In such a political vacuum, the BNP steps in with offers of grass-cutting, a listening ear and easy answers to complex problems.”

    There have been warnings that BNP activists have targeted neighbourhoods where few people vote in local or general elections, and introduced themselves on doorsteps as representatives of “a party that’s like Labour in your parents’ days”.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/poli…..zel-blears

    1. So.. Even The Guardian:

      “There have been warnings that BNP activists have targeted neighbourhoods where few people vote in local or general elections, and introduced themselves on doorsteps as representatives of “a party that’s like Labour in your parents’ days”.”

      Which sounds NOTHING like the exhortations of the “youth” during the last election rounds here across the pond to vote for the Democrat Party of the Old Days (FDR imagery provided free by the regular media).

  9. It’s not that difficult really. The right wing of any country is the one generally espousing status quo or reactionary ideas. The reason the two movements in Europe and the US are not very similiar is that each right wing has a different history and so gets it’s ideas from a different area.

    European right wing originally was about keeping the monarchy, the aristocracy, and the institutions that kept them in power as is, or when neccesary going back to those principles. While the US right wing has generally advocated going back to the institutions and ideas of the founding fathers’ days and the like.

    It’s really just historical happenstance that has determined what policies that they each advocate. The right wing is just an expression of people holding on to insitutions, or preventing them from changing, as they feel these ideas have worked in the past and will continue to do so.

    I think this is why libertarians are often hated in many right wing circles in the US despite having similiar limited government views. They usually harbor a much greater tolerance and appreciation for change than most right wingers often care for and are perfectly willing to throw out anything that doesn’t promote freedom regardless of whether it’s a cherished idea or institution.

    1. I think this is why libertarians are often hated in many right wing circles in the US despite having similiar limited government views. They usually harbor a much greater tolerance and appreciation for change than most right wingers often care for and are perfectly willing to throw out anything that doesn’t promote freedom regardless of whether it’s a cherished idea or institution.

      No, it’s because libertarians are always throwing their lot in with the far left. You dupes were right there alongside self-proclaimed commies and terrorist supporters (like ANSWER and Code Pink) screaming your hatred of Bush and Republicans and basically anything related to the war. Now you’re manning the barricades against Arizona’s popular and sensible new immigration law with the likes of Al Sharpton and other race baiters.

      Even your better ideas aren’t well-presented; one can make a case for legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes and reducing the penalties for illegal possession of it on the grounds that they’re too harsh, but no one’s going to buy your pitch if you go around pretending the pot is perfectly harmless and swell stuff to give to babies. Tobacco is legal now and should remain so, and nicotine may very well have some medicinal uses (this is currently being researched), but that doesn’t mean it’s harmless and that smoking or chewing it is great for your health and everyone ought to do it.

      Then there’s simplifying the process of legal immigration, which is a very good idea, but in which absolutely none of your communist allies against Arizona are the least bit interested; also, it’s a false dichotomy to go presenting this simplification of the naturalization process as an “alternative” to enforcing the laws against illegal immigration as that mental midget Chapman is doing.

      You’ve been bedding down with sons of bitches and getting up with fleas… and getting bubonic plague… and now you’re wondering why no one wants to be too closely associated with your toxic movement.

      1. I thought about addressing your points but I got a lost in the fields of straw.

        You are a wonderful example of someone reading only what they want too and a great example of why the Republicans can’t get their heads out of their ass and actually gain some ground against the Dems. No where in any of what I said had anything to with what you wrote. I did not even make judgements on any position. I was merely stating why there was animosity and were certain ideas evolved from.

        You make assumptions about my positions that I gave no indication of and simply aren’t true. Try arguing with someone living outside your own head for once.

      2. Now you’re manning the barricades against Arizona’s popular and sensible new immigration law

        “Sensible” doesn’t mean what you think it does.

      3. pot is perfectly harmless and swell stuff to give to babies.

        Tobacco is legal now and…it’s harmless and that smoking or chewing it is great for your health

        legal immigration, which is a very good idea

        Republican, you have some interesting ideas. Do you have a newsletter I could sign up for?

      4. In terms of body count the Republicans do have a far better record (as in less bodies) then the Democrats.

        1. How do you reckon this?

      5. So, you seem to be saying that if you share some views with people you disagree with in other ways, you need to abandon those views? I’m confused. I shouldn’t be against war because commies are also against the war. So should I also be opposed to free market economics because some people who favor that are also in favor of drug prohibition?

  10. There is very, very little difference between the far left and the far right; they just use different phrasing and code words.

    It was more than fourty years ago, but I remember my 8th grade history teacher explaining the idea of left vs right-wing politics by drawing a circle, with the far-left and far-right met in everything but name.

    1. This is simply wrong. The “conservative” impulse in America is not racist, or “reactionary,” except that it opposes destruction of the classically liberal foundations of the Enlightenment, and the Constitution. Do you want to think for yourself? Do you want to decide what to do with the money you earn? Do you think it is YOUR job to raise your kids, or not? I think the conservative movement if it exists, thinks that the ideals of the Constitution are valuable and worth preserving in the face of “feel good,” but ultimately destructive policies.

      1. The word “conservative” encompasses a large and diverse group of people, from big-government social conservatives who embrace corporatism to free-market libertarian-leaning conservatives who have almost exactly opposite beliefs.

      2. I don’t think conservative or republicans are far right.

        In US terms, conservatives & republlicans are center-right.

        1. @GoNay:

          I think you are correct.

      3. You need to dig a little deeper into the history of “conservative” thought in America. William Buckley was an aberration – and managed for a while to keep conservatives on a path of logic and reason, but it looks like American conservatives are hell bent on becoming as stupid as their 1920s ancestors.

        1. @Vanya

          Felt that way for a while. Best thing I can think to do, is cast out the self-anointed political class as often as possible.

        2. WTF? In the 1920s we elected Calvin Coolidge- a true limited government President , even by those pre-New Deal standards.The American Right of the 1920s wasn’t “stupid”, it was free market and non-interventionist

          1. Coolidge was elected, ironically, by people who today would be raving leftists – like my grandparents. I.e. New England Republicans. Those people left the GOP years ago. “Conservatives”, i.e. Southern crackers with a penchant for lynching, were usually Democrats, but their grandkids are now the GOP stalwarts.

            1. FAIL
              You were trolling so well for a while there.

              1. You’re a moron. I grew up in New England, I know these people well.

            2. The South was a bastion of Progressivism. Woodrow Wilson was from Georgia. Every town of any size in the South had Progressive clubs where they’d get together, drink the whiskey they’d denied the non-elites, and talk about ways they could make the country better by aborting black babies.

              The Southern Democrats became called Conservative in the 1950s and 60s, but they were all pro-New Deal and pro-Great Society. The only thing they wanted to “conserve” was Jim Crow.

              1. Very very few Southern Democrats were pro-Great Society – that’s why they all left the Democratic Party. Today’s “conservative” and “liberal” don’t map well onto the Democratic and Republican parties of the pre WWII era.

    2. Aren’t those actually the “clockwise” and “counter-clockwise” wings?

    3. The Nazis made a lot on this — they often boasted that it was easy to convert Sozis and Communists to their cause because Fascism corrected the defects of Socialism and Communism.

  11. The New Deal Democrats definitely saw themselves as having much in common with Mussolini and Hitler and the 1920’s and 1930’s. Even after the Spanish civil war created some cracks, large swathes of the American left wanted the U.S. to stay out of the war and supported either the German Reich or a neutral position – at least until Germany invaded Russia.

    The Fascist/Marxist split always ways and continues to be a leftist civil war, and really has nothing to do with European conservatism, let alone American classical liberal based “conservatism”. For all the ‘Obama’s a socialist’ talk, his policies have much more in common with early Fascism than they do with Communism.

    1. No one on the American left ever supported Hitler. However, large swaths of the American right – including such luminaries as Ford, Lindbergh, and Prescott Bush – thought he was a decent guy. Study some goddamn history. It’s not that hard. Find some Time Magazines or Readers Digests from 1935 in the library – it’s all there. The American Left should never be excused for its naive faith in Stalin, but facts are facts. American conservatives in the 1930s (and, btw, Ayn Rand was in no way a conservative by 1930s standards) tended to think that Mussolini chap might not be bad at all – he kept the unions and leftist rabble under heel a lot better than Roosevelt did, and the Jews were whiners who shouldn’t have tried to provoke your decent average Christian German with their greed, their suspect loyalties and their refusal to assimilate. This is not even controversial – read any literature from the period.

      1. Vanya, I’m sorry but you are wrong. Mussolini, Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler were ALL lionized by the leftists in the US prior to WW2. Mussolini and Hitler both sent messages of support for FDR and the “New Deal,” and Hitler said Roosevelt was on the same path as German National Socialism. Joseph Stalin said that with the New Deal Roosevelt engages in America’s own Five Year Plan.

  12. the far-left and far-right met in everything but name.

    Anarchists and anarcho-capitalists.

    Kind of flawed as American political ideology is on more of a collectivist/ individualist linear continuum with libertarians way over on the far right.

    1. Well, then you can consider me (an ex-Libertarian)an Individualist. NO good has ever come from exhortations to put aside your individualism, and embrace the State. If so, Cambodia would be a wold power today.

      1. An “ex-libertarian individualist”? Sounds like an oxymoron.

        1. Not really. I like MUCH of the Libertarian philosophy. I used to consider myself a capital “L” libertarian. But like any group, I found myself at odds with some of the more radical notions. As a student of History, I will not limit myself to any one viewpoint. Still, it might mean something that I post HERE, and not Democrat Underground..

  13. In Austria, a far-right party?the National Socialists

    I don’t think that “far-right” and “Socialist” mean what you think they do.

    Corporatist command-and-control racist socialism isn’t far-right.

  14. but Bouie, who says the correlation between financial disaster and an insurgent right is “obvious,” doesn’t seem to understand that the far-right parties of Europe are almost all anti-immigration and pro-welfare state.

    What was the point of the “of Europe” in there? The GOP is our party of the “right” and they are very much in favor of most of our welfare.

  15. The “Right wing” even in America, really has no fixed position on economic policy. The American right sometimes likes to pretend its motivated by free markets and traditional economic liberalism, and libertarians often believe it, but the American Right, like the European Right, is at heart nativist and nationalist. European conservatives don’t really mind government control, traditionally, since that means white people working for white people. American conservatives do mind since in the US government control is perceived as wealth transfer from whites to blacks and latinos. If traditional American conservatives knew for a fact that all their tax dollars were going to the military, immigration control and church subsidies, they’d probably happily increase the tax rate. Traditional American conservatives have never opposed, and mostly still don’t oppose, high tariffs to protect domestic industry, subsidies for corporations, government mandated barriers to entry to reduce competition and keep minorities penned up in ghettos, and many other policies the ChiComs would happily go along with.

    1. You’re full of shit

    2. “American conservatives have never opposed, and mostly still don’t oppose, high tariffs to protect domestic industry,”

      Bullshit. Name one conservative who opposes free trade? The Republican party has been pro free trade since the 1960s. All of the major conservative publications are pro free trade, NRO WSJ. Only a small minority of paleo conservatives are not free trade.

      1. So you can be free trade while supporting immigration restrictions, agricultural subsidies, tax breaks for corporations, import tariffs, etc.? Nixon supported wage and price controls – very free trade.

        I’m talking about real free trade, not the politicians’ definition. American Republicans are not principled free traders, they are free traders when it’s convenient and whenever free trade is perceived to give American businessmen an advantage.

        1. What does Nixon have to do with the “right” or conservatism? His only bona fides were anti-communism.

          1. Don’t forget his social values!

          2. Nixon is an odd one to place in the political spectrum. I haven’t quite been able to figure out where he belongs.

            1. Nixon belongs in the corrupt, self-serving politician with no ideology category. Right next to Clinton, but in a different era.

      2. I call Double Bullshit on John. None of the mainstream Republicans are pro-free market. They all support tariffs, subsidies, etc.

      3. Name one conservative who opposes free trade?

        George W Bush. Or did I just imagine the Canadian timber thing? And the steel thing?

      4. Name one conservative who opposes free trade

        Patrick Buchanan. I’m sure you can find some among the Commentary crowd too, so it’s not just the paleos but also some neos.

    3. @Vanya

      Your comments don’t remind me of any self-identifying “conservatives” I know. The overriding concern I see in my hard-core conservative friends is fiscal responsibility. I think the racist stuff is largely projection.

      1. Move to New Hampshire and meet some real conservatives. The nationalist (not racist – racism is a straw man) ideology is their core motivator. And it’s not racism, it’s nationalism – a black man can be accepted by traditional conservatives as a “Real American” if he shares the right values. Where were all your “fiscal responsibility” friends during the Bush years?

        1. They (and I) were cranky as hell, and ignored.

          1. If I were to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you actually are for fiscal responsibility, then I will further ask how many self-labeled “conservatives” do you think are, as well?

            I think 25% would be a massive overreaching stretch.

            And that’s before we throw free trade in there. How many “conservatives” are against immigration restrictions and for ending all subsidies, tariffs, and price controls? I’m sure they may be for ending a few subsidies (as long as they aren’t getting them personally) but at best I would say 10% qualify there.

        2. Oh, and Vanya, I think this description of conservatism is telling more about YOU than them. So a black man who thinks that America might just offer the chance to do well makes him a racist/nationalist?

          1. So a black man who thinks that America might just offer the chance to do well makes him a racist/nationalist?

            Depends. Does this black man want to put up barriers to trade (i.e. heavily restricted immigration) such that it would keep out people of other races from other countries from competing with him? If so, then yes he is.

            1. It makes him kind of liberal — government protection of the working class is considered liberal in the US and restricting trade or immigration is protection of the working class.

          2. A black man who thinks America might offer him “the chance to do well” could be a Communist for all I know. That sentence is meaningless Chamber of Commerce boilerplate. “Racism” is a loaded word. I like “Nationalist” – it’s a little more neutral. A “Nationalist” believes that his country is better than all the others because he and his people live in it. He believes that God agrees with him on that point. He believes that foreigners are inherently untrustworthy. He believes that the military is the highest and best expression of patriotism. He believes that loyalty to one’s clan and kin are the highest values and that people who want to dilute that loyalty by introducing foreign or new ideas, or telling him he can’t do the traditional activities he and his buddies have always enjoyed, are the enemy. Even if nominally those “enemies” are from his same country. People in America who hold these beliefs are “conservative”, and none of these beliefs have anything to do with free markets, in fact they are inherently anti-free market at their core.

            1. I doubt very much that the Czech nationalists of the 19th century thought their country was ‘better’ than the German Austrian Kernlands. But they did think they were different, and that they and their culture was worthy of preserving, and their own national state was necessary, under modern conditions, to do that preserving.

              And this:

              telling him he can’t do the traditional activities he and his buddies have always enjoyed, are the enemy.

              is just puzzling. I suspect it means traditional activities like, you know, hiring who you want even if you only want to hire whites (or blacks). In that case, many writers at ‘Reason’ have been more than willing to embrace state involvement in private enterprise if that involvement to impose the ‘moral’ position of desegregation.

  16. So basically everyone hates capitalism. Except you guys.

    No, it’s totally because you’re smarter than everyone else.

    1. Smarter than you, and right now that is all that counts.

      Ain’t that right Mr. “I totally grew up with famous people and stuff, dude”?

      1. Ain’t that right Mr. “I totally grew up with famous people and stuff, dude”?

        Tony sometimes gets confused and thinks that when he saw Bert and Ernie, or Kirk Cameron, on the screen as a kid, that he “grew up with” famous people. Don’t point it out to him, it’ll just confuse him.

        1. I could care less whether Tony is confused, or not. I am just waiting for my fucking check from that cheap fuck.

          I mean, I am poor, and he has money, sooo… Where is my fucking check, Tony?

          Tony, you have more money than me, which by your own admission, growing up with famous people and all, is by mostly luck. I have less money than you, and come from meager surroundings,…oh! my bad luck.

          Ergo, where is my check, bitch?

          1. Don’t worry, your ship will come in. All it takes is the American dream, government getting out of your way, and a square jaw. Why are so many of you poor anyway?

            1. Tony, libertarians are supposed to be white rich guys, remember?

              1. Tony thinks that libertarians are either trust fund kids, or white trash with juvenile ambitions lacking the intellectual wherewithal to “vote in our own interest”.

                1. I’m gonna soak that trust-fund kid Al, as soon as the divorce is final.

          2. Wow, this whole thread got really funny, and ridiculous really quick. Good job all.

            1. Hey man, step back…Do Not blame this shit on me!

              I am owed a goddamn check, I deserve it. Dangnab politicians ruint everything when the rootin’ tootin’ screendoor factory I worked at was closed fer good on account of us not gettin’ them there stimulus moneys for green jobs. Them fuckers at the insulation company in Stangsville got that money, and we got stinkum.

              So, Is’a figures Tony owes me, bein that he got to go to college…and I worked in the damn zinc mine right out of 8th grade…’til it closed.
              Where was the opportunity for ol’ cap? Nowhere!

              Tony had all handed to im’, on a golden fucking platter.Knowing famous people an all.
              Where is the equality for ol’ cap? Nowhere!

              I wanna check!

              1. /golfclap

  17. I am thinking of some good bumper stickers

    Vote Democrat
    We supported slavery

    Vote Democrat
    We dropped 2 nukes on Japan

    Vote Democrat
    Bankrupting America since FDR

    Vote Democrat
    We put Asians in concentration camps

    Vote Democrat
    We kicked all the blacks out of the White house.

    Vote Democrat
    We sterilized women who were unfit.

    Anyone got anymore?

    1. Vote Republican
      Because deficits don’t matter!

      1. Vote Republican
        Because deficits don’t matter!

        Vote Democrat
        Because deficits don’t matter!

        Both are true and I think both parties actually say they don’t matter.

        Like I told tony keep working on it.

        1. I am working on it, and when the elderly and disadvantaged have ceased dying in the streets, begging for a last meal, I’ll stop working on it.

          1. Wait, ceased dying because they’re all dead, or because you implemented a welfare program? The difference could be crucial in determining exactly how little I give a shit.

            1. In enlightened countries we do give a shit whether our future ancestors are starving and dying in the streets.

              You could always move to a nation where there is no government, and no safety net…Like Somalia!

    2. Vote Democrat!
      We outlawed Marihuana: The Drug of Choice of Negro Jazz Musicians and Mexican Laborers.

    3. Vote Democrat
      Keeping your kids and those whiny drug-seeking cancer patients narcotic-free since 1914

    4. Vote Republican
      We’re xenophobic anti-intellectual theocrats.

      Vote Republican
      Because the economy isn’t quite fucked enough.

      Vote Republican
      Plenty more oil-rich countries to invade!

      Oh, but we’re not talking about the present.

      1. You sure showed all us Republicans. Idiot.

        1. Vote Warty
          He let your grandma die in the streets…covered in the rotten, stank feces born of a million generic cat food dinners

      2. Vote Republican
        We’re xenophobic anti-intellectual theocrats.

        Vote Republican
        Because the economy isn’t quite fucked enough.

        Same thing can be said about Democrats.

        Vote Republican
        Plenty more oil-rich countries to invade!

        This one is an actual ad i think. You got to come up with bumper stickers that the party is actually trying to hide.

        Like this:

        Vote Republican
        legal Mexicans will charge more to more your lawn.

        Vote Republican
        We do not want to marry our gay lovers.

        keep working on it.

      3. Tony, you haven’t given us good reasons to vote Democrat. Perhaps because there aren’t any. I’m sure it’s just an oversight on your part, though.

        1. “to vote Democrat, either”

          Must be forced to remember to preview. Perhaps the FCC could get involved.

    5. Vote Republican
      -Because Patriotic Citizens don’t want Privacy-

      Vote Democrat
      -Anti-choice on health insurance-

      Vote Republican
      Billions funneled to the Middle East because YOU don’t need the money.

      Vote Democrat
      We’re working on banning this bumper sticker for being hate speech.

      Vote Red or Blue
      Together we can prevent new parties for decades to come!

      Vote Red or Blue
      Show the establishment you care.

      Vote Libertarian
      We’ve never had power, so we’ve never screwed up.

      1. Vote Democrat
        -Anti-choice on health insurance everything*

        *Except abortion – that is the only thing people can chose

      2. I particularly like this one:

        “Vote Democrat
        We’re working on banning this bumper sticker for being hate speech.”

    6. Vote Democrat or Republican
      And then kill yourself.

    7. “Democrats” and “Republicans” are teams representing factions, not ideologies. These teams have both flip-flopped 180 degrees many times historically on race issues, foreign policy issues and economic issues to hold onto their factions, and hold power. They will again – which makes your list meaningless. Is your loyalty to a political ideal or just to a team?

  18. Vote Democrat
    Remember the Maddox !

    Remember the Turner Joy !

  19. Austria under Dollfuss and Schuschnigg was fascist (decidedly anti-Nazi fascist, but still fascist) even before it went Heim ins Reich.

  20. So what I take from all of this is no one has a good definition of right wing, left wing, conservative or liberal. They mean completely different things depending on location and time and usually mean either something I support or anything I don’t like, depending on how you identify. Got it.

    1. I think this is the most intelligent post on the thread.

      1. Maybe the only intelligent post.

        1. vanya|6.3.10 @ 10:02AM|#

          I think this is the most intelligent post on the thread.
          reply to this
          highnumber|6.3.10 @ 10:19AM|#

          Maybe the only intelligent post.

          ^ The above by no means an exception.

          The two of you would make a great couple. If a suicide pact were involved.

  21. For what it’s worth, I have noticed a decided shift in Ohio. Dems will have to fight tooth and nail in November to get votes.

  22. I think we’re done here. Thanks, mr simple.

  23. I know for a fact that the ‘far right’ Vlaams Belang is far more free market oriented than any of the other parties in Belgium. Austria’s Volkspartei is also more free market than anything else going in Ostreich. And here is an extended segment of the Danish People’s party’s manifesto, with my emphasis.


    ne precondition for the country’s future development is an education system of the highest standard.

    The Danish People’s Party has as extremely high prioritises teaching, education and research. *There must be a free choice between state and private schools.* Pupils should be instilled with useful knowledge ? including an understanding of the historical and cultural bases for development in Denmark and their own lives as Danish citizens. **We lay equal significance on manual and intellectual labour for maintaining the continued dynamism of the country.** The education system should be capable of taking into consideration individual abilities, talents and interests.

    Danish prosperity depends upon the combined efforts of the whole Danish population.

    The prosperity of Denmark is a result of enterprise, businesses and hard-working individuals working together. This prosperity stems from the fact that an extremely large proportion of both men and women are in work and, in particular, is a consequence of the high quality that is characteristic of the Danish workforce.

    *The country needs entrepreneurs and society must be organised so as to let people know that hard work and ability pay.*

    Reason is so blindly anti-national, anti-anti-immigration that it cannot comprehend parties who see that both the national community and individual action are important in creating a successful society.

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