Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What is the Common Denominator of the New Right?

The news is just in that François Fillon will be the presidential candidate of the center-right Republican Party in the elections in France in 2017.
He is proposing dramatic economic reforms that include slashing 500,000 public jobs, ending the 35-hour week, raising the retirement age and scrapping the wealth tax.
But the Front National, the party of Marine Le Pen, is not having any of that. It wants to keep all the social benefits. That way she
can emulate Donald Trump’s winning strategy by posing as an economic nationalist, the stalwart defender of French workers against a culturally alien “global elite” of capitalists and financiers.
In Britain, the UKIP started out as a fairly libertarian party, but has since veered towards appealing to the white working class with support for traditional welfare state benefits like the National Health Service.

So really, we are seeing the emergence of a New Right that supports the good old working class welfare state benefits and is nationalist in tone.

You might even call it national socialist.

And of course national socialist is bad, bad bad. Fascism, in fact, as every liberal has been carefully taught.

This takes us back to the 1920s and 1930s and the basic political fact decided by World War I.

World War I demonstrated that the workers were patriots and members of nation states before they were workers. So when the social democratic parties seemed to fail in the 1920s they began to support parties that combined patriotism and worker rights. Nationalism and Socialism.

Oh no! So after World War II the educated and evolved elites were determined that national socialism would never rear its ugly head again. Hence the United States and the European Union. Wise, evolved leaders would ensure that the workers never again would empower radical fascists like Hitler and Mussolini.

What they failed to understand was that the workers voted for Hitler and Mussolini because the wise, evolved leaders had failed to lead their countries into green sunlit uplands with good jobs at good wages. Instead they had plunged the world into a Great Depression.

Just like the present era. It ain't as bad as the Great Depression, but the Crash of 2008 and the Great Recession have revealed that today's wise evolved global elite doesn't have a clue. Just like the wise, evolved elite of the interwar era.

And the average working person wants a strong leader to solve the lingering economic problems of the Obama era, but doesn't see why he or she should give up any of the social benefits, for which he and she have paid big-time payroll taxes all their working lives.

Now my view, as a libertarian conservative, is that the wise, evolved elite should never have bribed the working class with government benefits. They should have left the labor unions and the mutual-aid associations of the 19th century to continue to provide social benefits to their members. They should have encouraged the workers to move up out of working class identity into the broad, responsible middle class. They should have kept a hard money policy, and never succumbed to the temptation of crony capitalism.

But they didn't.

And worse, they took over a new form of identity politics from the neo-Marxists of the Frankfurt School. Whereas Marx had recommended an identity politics of class based on the idea that the workers were horribly exploited and oppressed, the Frankfurters proposed that blacks and women and colonized peoples were the real victims of exploitation and oppression.

It's been great for the wise, evolved elite. Their new identity politics has yielded votes and political and cultural power.

Eventually the workers were bound to get pissed off with this. Because after all, they were supposed to be the little darlings of the wise, educated elite.

And so here we are back to the 1930s, with nationalist social-welfare parties starting to move to the fore.

Who could have foreseen it?

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