Tag Archives: right-wing

Garry Wills explains The Triumph of the Hard Right

Summary: As America drifts into control by the Right through the “bottoms up” movement the Left has so longed dreamed of, many of our brightest minds describe with clarity and urgency what is happened. Such as in this review by Garry Wills of a powerful new book by E. J. Dionne. Whatever happens, we cannot say we were not warned.

“Every nation has the government it deserves.”
— Joseph de Maistre (lawyer, diplomat, philosopher), Letter #76 dated 13 August 1811, published in Lettres et Opuscules.

“Sooner or later, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.”
— attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson.

The Triumph of the Hard Right

By Garry Wills

New York Review of Books, 11 February 2016
Posted with their generous permission.

Review of Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism from Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond by E.J. Dionne Jr.

 

Everybody told everybody early in this year’s presidential campaign (during what was called Trump Summer) that we had never seen anything so sinisterly or hilariously (take your choice) new. But Trump Summer was supposed to mellow into Sane Autumn, and it failed to — and early winter was no saner. People paid to worry in public tumbled over one another in asking what had gone wrong with our politics. Even the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, joined the worriers. After Mitt Romney lost in 2012, he set up what he called the Growth and Opportunity Project, to reach those who had not voted Republican — young people, women, Latinos, and African-Americans.

But its report, once filed, had no effect on the crowded Republican field of candidates in the 2016 race, who followed Donald Trump’s early lead as he treated women and immigrants as equal-opportunity objects of scorn. Now the public worriers were yearning for the “good old days” when there were such things as moderate Republicans. What happened to them?

The current Republican extremism has been attributed to the rise of Tea Party members or sympathizers. Deadlock in Congress is blamed on Republicans’ fear of being “primaryed” unless they move ever more rightward. Endless and feckless votes to repeal Obamacare were motivated less by any hope of ending the program than by a desire to be on record as opposing it, again and again, to avoid the dreaded label RINO (Republican in Name Only).

E.J. Dionne knows that Republican intransigence was not born yesterday, and he has the credentials for saying it because this dependably intelligent liberal tells us, in his new book, that he began as a young Goldwaterite — like Hillary Clinton (or like me). He knows that his abandoned faith sounded themes that have perdured right down to our day. In the 1950s there were many outlets for right-wing discontent — including H.L. Hunt’s Lifeline, Human Events, The Dan Smoot Report, the Fulton Lewis radio show, Willis Carto’s Liberty Lobby, the Manion Forum. In 1955, William F. Buckley founded National Review to give some order and literary polish to this cacophonous jumble. But his magazine had a small audience at the outset. Its basic message would reach a far wider audience through a widely popular book, The Conscience of a Conservative, ghostwritten for Barry Goldwater by Buckley’s brother-in-law (and his coauthor for McCarthy and His Enemies), L. Brent Bozell.

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Stratfor: France’s State of Fear and Its Swing to the Right

Summary: The shift to the right is happening across the West. Here Stratfor looks at France, whose leaders have learned from America’s elites to exploit their people’s fears after a crisis to push through security laws and shift the political spectrum to the right. They compare its current political turmoil with France’s troubled relations with its Right.

Stratfor

France’s State of Fear and Swing to the Right

Stratfor, 15 January 2016

Forecast

  • France in 2016 will be characterized by President Francois Hollande’s attempts to cope with a country that is shifting politically to the right while leading a leftist administration.
  • In pursuit of the right-wing vote, Hollande will take a hard line on the Middle East and restrict civil liberties at home. However, he will also increase government spending in an attempt to reduce unemployment levels before the 2017 election.
  • This will ultimately be an uphill struggle, and the 2017 election will most likely come down to the center-right Republicans and the far-right National Front.

Analysis

Two months after the Paris terrorist attacks, French President Francois Hollande is seeking to expand the emergency powers he invoked in November 2015. France’s state of emergency gave the government the authority to search houses without a warrant and restrict the right to peaceful assembly, all without judicial oversight. Hollande is now looking to change the French Constitution to extend the scope of these emergency powers.

However, his proposed changes also contain a more controversial alteration: They would permit France to strip French nationality from citizens who are found guilty of terrorist offenses. In its earlier forms, this law would have applied only to offenders with dual nationality status, but more recent statements from French ministers imply that it could also apply to French citizens who have just one passport, leaving them stateless. Such a shift would represent a sharp change in direction for France, bringing up painful memories of the denaturalization of Jews in Vichy France during World War II. The proposed change also reflects a major political shift to the right as the country’s 2017 election looms ever closer.

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Stratfor: France’s National Front Defeated, For Now

Summary: Support for the far-Right National Front grows in France, part of a tide sweeping through the developed nations. Here Stratfor looks at the results of the recent election, where the two major parties cooperated to suppress the NF, despite its 40% vote in the first round. While successful in the short-term, it is a tactic likely to increase alienation from the Fifth Republic. Will they use the time bought by their win to address its problems? Let’s watch. We might get ideas to help deal with our resurgent Right-wing.

Stratfor

France’s National Front Defeated, For Now

Stratfor, 14 December 2015

The right-wing National Front party will not control any regions in France. Despite its strong showing in the first round of elections, in which it earned more than 40% of the vote in the densely populated regions of Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardy in the north and Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur in the south, the nationalist party failed to win any districts in the second round of voting Dec. 13. However, the party led by Marine Le Pen will continue to be a key political player in the months ahead of the 2017 French presidential election.

In many ways, the results of the Dec. 13 elections are not surprising. France’s electoral system is explicitly designed to prevent extremist parties from accessing power, and it was this that prevented the National Front from winning regions in the runoff vote. In this case, France’s ruling Socialist party decided not to participate in the runoff vote in those regions where it did not have a serious chance of winning, hoping that voters would choose the center-right The Republicans party over the National Front. This is exactly what happened, and the National Front saw only a small increase in popular support between the first and the second round.

As Stratfor wrote after the first round, many voters who supported moderate forces in the first round will probably support other parties to keep the National Front from winning again.

In other words, most people who wanted to vote for the National Front did so in the first round, but only a small number of additional voters supported the party in the second round. In addition, there was a higher voter turnout in the second round, which suggests that many voters who did not participate in the first round made the conscious decision to vote in the second to prevent the National Front from winning.

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Stratfor: will France hand power to a far right government (again)?

Summary: With the polls looking good for the National Front, Stratfor examines the rise of the far Right in France — part of the right-flowing tide sweeping through the developed nations. Memories have faded in Europe; hopes rise that this far right movement differs from the last. The implications are massive for economic policy, for France’s immigration policy, its treatment of its ethnic minorities, and perhaps most important — for its role in the European Union. Did anyone guess that having survived the centrifugal forces of the 2008-09 and 2010-2015 economic crises, Europe would immediately face another and perhaps more difficult one?

Stratfor

In France, Discontent Favors the National Front

Stratfor, 5 December 2015

Summary

France is preparing to hold regional elections, and the country’s ruling party is bracing itself for the fallout. At a time of high unemployment levels and sluggish economic growth, French voters will likely look to punish the Socialist Party by backing its center-right and far-right rivals instead. The National Front, which opposes immigration and wants France to leave the eurozone, is already expected to win in at least two of the country’s biggest regions. The Dec. 6 elections will be the last vote held before France’s presidential election in 2017, and every indicator suggests they will mark yet another victory for the Euroskeptic forces gaining strength across Europe.

Analysis

On Dec. 6, French voters will head to the polls to select the councils of France’s 13 metropolitan regions, as well as some of its overseas territories. In regions where no party manages to garner 50% of the vote, a second electoral round will be held Dec. 13.

The elections will be an important test of popularity for France’s main parties, and they will set the stage for the country’s upcoming presidential vote. The Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris gave a slight boost to French President Francois Hollande’s approval ratings, but his Socialist Party will probably put on a weak performance in the polls nonetheless. Because the Socialists currently control most of France’s regions, they have the most to lose. By comparison, their two main rivals, the center-right Republican Party and the right-wing National Front, will likely see significant gains.

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A New America arises, perhaps with Trump as its first leader

Summary: Updates on two predictions I’ve made, each a window into the New America now arising on the ruins of the old. What horrific attacks has China made on America with the information hacked from the government’s files? When will the Donald flame out, leaving the Presidential campaign safely in the hands of stuffed shirts — loyal servants of the 1%?  {1st of 2 posts today.}

Project New America

A strength of the FM website is its predictions. Sometimes wrong (see the smackdowns page), our overall record is very good (see these hits). Tracking forecasts is important, as we’re locked into news cycles run by amnesic journalists who report with little recollection of the past. Gurus with records of almost always wrong reappear with new predictions and no mention of their frequent failures. Past events reported as certain apocalypses are forgotten.

Remembering has become a radicalizing action.  Here are two blasts from the past worth revisiting.

(1)  The hack into Federal employee records by “China”

“I believe this infobomb has done catastrophic damage to US security.  How?  Big data + bots (made smarter via AI) will be able to turn this data into a decisive instrument of warfare.”
John Robb at Global Guerrillas, 24 June 2015. Broadcast to the Left via Naked Capitalism.

One of great bursts of American pants wetting, between We’ll ALL Die from Ebola and Protect Me from the ISIS Terrorist Under My Bed., as the hack of the Federal employee records — allegedly by China (“we don’t know” are words that burn the tongues of officials). In August I said “My guess is that on this day next year (8-5-2016) we’ll add the OPM hack to the list of hysteria outbreaks in America which had little or no serious results.”

Status so far after 89 weeks (1 year, 8 months) from the first hack in March 2014: no reports of significant results. Even more significant, after months of investigations the US government has provided no reliable data showing that China was responsible for the hacks. For more about this now forgotten but once “game-changing big story”…

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Donald Trump leads us back to the future, to the dark days of US history

Summary: Every election gives us the opportunity to shape America. We do not choose the specific national policies of the next four years, since Presidents often don’t do what they promised. Rather we give a nudge to the evolution of America; we influencing what we become. Those who vote make that decision. The choices, however unappealing, are unusually clear in 2016.

On September 22 Donald Trump attended at 45-minute long rally at Rochester, New Hampshire, speaking to about 3,000 people. Anyone who believes America is not in serious trouble should read these remarks as reported by The Hill.

“We have a problem in this country, it’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one — you know he’s not even an American. But anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That’s my question, when can we get rid of them?”

Trump responded: “We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things, a lot of people are saying bad things are happening, we’re going to be looking at that and plenty of other things.”

A second man stood and made the same claim. “I applaud the gentleman who stood and said Obama is a Muslim born abroad and about the military camps, everyone knows that,” he said.

“Right,” Trump responded, before quickly moving to the next questioner.

… {A woman in the audience} told him that there is a “new holocaust” in New Hampshire and that people are being loaded into boxcars and beheaded by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. “I just wanted you to know that,” the woman said. Trump moved on without addressing the woman’s claim.

The remarks from the people are unexceptional; every society has people on the fringes with such views. Hatred of people different from ourselves is a sad but widespread phenomenon around the world and across history. It is an endemic “disease” that has errupted again in America, as reported by the NYT: “New Poll Finds Anti-Muslim Sentiment Frighteningly High“.

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American politics is a fun parade of lies, for which we pay dearly

Summary; Another day, another “2 minute hate” — this time by the Left on my post The 97% consensus of climate scientists is only 47%. They’re the usual assortment of misrepresentations and lies prepared for their tribe, who accept them without question. I’ll do the usual fact-rich boring debunking of them tomorrow. But it’s more important to understand the game being played on us. Here is a brief description of the group dynamics that run America and makes reform almost impossible. Of course, these are generalities, and cannot apply to every situation, every time, or every individual.

Truth vs Lies

Valuing Tribe over truth

Truth is impossible to know. But functionality requires the some ability to tell fact from fiction, albeit imperfectly. During WWII and the Cold War era, when the American middle class grew in size and wealth, our elites made a great discovery: they could lie to us with impunity (details here). Like so many innovations, this was first discovered by the NAZI government — and further developed by other western governments.

Each side of the political spectrum put this powerful knowledge into use to develop their faction into groups with tribal truths — resistant to rebuttal by logic or fact by the evil others, and producing followers of guaranteed loyalty and easy to manipulate. Hence our 21st C America.

This led to fear-mongering and debunking as the primary form of political communication. Unrestrained by criticism, each faction arouses its members with visions of doom. This game became commonplace in the late 1960s, and rose to dominate our national dialog during the past 20 years.

Since the 1960s the Right has relied on tales of moral degeneracy sparking civilization’s collapse, Red Dawn, fifth columns, Shari law, national bankruptcy, sleeper cells, Hispanic hordes, hyperinflation, rampant crime, collapse of the US dollar, etc. The Left warns of resource exhaustion, megadeaths from famines and pollution, ecosystem collapse, and imminent fascism (Bush is like Hitler).

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