In the last 10 years, the ruling parties of most major European countries have failed to protect their citizens from an economic collapse, an influx of terrorism, and now myopic but well intentioned policies towards refugees have shaken the continent in the wake of the Cologne attacks.
Let’s not forget that Germany found a way to pay for a million refugees to come into their country but could not let Greece off the hook for a much smaller amount. European unity, indeed!
And yet people still sort of wonder what these new insurgent parties are about. Why are UKIP, Five Star, Sweden Democrats, Syriza, Podemos, Front National, Pegida, the True Finns and so on all about.
These certainly aren’t the kinds of “right wing” parties that we associate with the wealthy banking elites pulling the strings of masses to enrich themselves. Indeed, it’s been the center-left and center-right parties who have governed these countries to the benefit of the neoliberal order and who have failed, not the other way around.
What they reek of is nationalism and xenophobia. But it’s unclear why in a democracy people don’t have the power to exclude outsiders. The United States is a different case, a nation founded on immigration and a culture based on ideas. European cultures are ancient and they are entitled to preservation in their homelands if that’s what the inhabitants choose.
What’s interesting is how the relatively comfortable and progressive welfare states of postwar Europe responded to the economic collapse with austerity while the United States and Canada were more pro-growth, with the United States doing massive stimulus packages and expanding the safety net to include health care for most people.
It’s easy to label these parties as “neo-nazi” or “nationalist” or “right-wing” but what I think they are is anti-establishment; they are against the prevailing order that has failed.
When libertarianism fails, libertarians dissemble into a No True Scotsman fallacy—”there’s never been a truly libertarian state.” Marxists say the same thing. As if we have the opportunity to start from scratch with any country. Political ideologies need to include ways to get from point A to point B without total anarchy or the destruction of the state.
It seems now that the message from the European elites: more austerity, more immigration resulting from a situation where that plan and its ideology have failed.
This is why a majority of the British now favor an EU exit, which may collapse the whole project. These same stupid leaders must see this but won’t act for the same stupid reasons they’ve failed in the past.