Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Unleashing the barbarians - the triumph of the new right

In the euphoria after the collapse of the Soviet Union there were many who proclaimed "the end of history" as a neoliberal surge engulfed the world.  In the light of recent events the hubris that this demonstrated was not merely misplaced but sowed the seeds of the destruction of the Enlightenment and the values that underpin the Western model of representative democracy we are now living through.  The idea that one paradigm, driven by manic microeconomists with no grasp of psychology or morality, would triumph has now been exposed as the sham that it was, and as the biggest existential threat to the world in a century.

In Europe, at least, the post-war prosperity was based around at least some acknowledgement of the mutual dependency of citizens.  Democratic socialists co-existed with the centre-right, nuanced, but fundamentally in agreement that a functioning society requires obligations as well as entitlements.  The construction of a social stability based around this assumption marginalised the most extreme while creating conditions which, in retrospect, look idyllic.

The real enemies of the people are not the political poltroons, such as Trump and Farage, who exploit their self-styled iconoclasm, but those who seek to impose a political and economic hegemony based around exploitation of others - be they in the same room, or halfway across the world.  In reducing the human to the status of a parasitic organism that eats into the pursuit of profit, they have paved the way both for inchoate resentment and for the destruction of the social capital that could have acted as a brake on fascism.  In electing the fascist, and doing their bidding, the howls of self-destructive rage are misdirected and the reckoning will not be pretty.

Any belief in progress is now on hold - the inability to organise and mobilise caused by the tendency to prevaricate and make much of small differences rather than focusing on the enemy is the blocker.  Turning on each other is less frightening than taking the battle to the enemies of the human race and the vermin who cheer them on.  This is a descent, not just to the 19th century, but to the Dark Ages.  Pessimism is the watchword, alongside a recognition that there is nothing else to do but ensure that those who share values and aspirations are recognised, protected and supported.  In the meantime, the lunatics have taken over the citadel and have merged with the idiot barbarians.  Depressing times.

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