Monday, September 29, 2008

Far Right Shock Horror

I see Austrians are rushing into the arms of the far right. This is probably a bad thing but it's curious how 'the far right' remains the ultimate scary political headline. 'The far left' should be more frightening as the left's corpse count in the twentieth century was much higher than the right's. But 'the far left' is still a rather cosy concept, as in 'poor dears, they meant well.'


  1. That's because intentions, or ideals, always trump outcomes for people who lean left.

    I don't really understand why this is, but I suspect it's something to do with never growing out of intellectual adolescence.

  2. True, Brit, but I think it also has something to do with universalist beliefs, although I haven't worked this all out. It seems that if you have convinced yourself you know exactly what is the right way for every man, woman and child on the planet to live and think, you will forgive yourself a lot of bloodshed. That might help explain the actions of a lot of Christian and Muslim armies in the past and also the modern left's hatred for Israel and notions of American exceptionalism--it simply can't bear differences and views them as objects deserving of righteous eradication.

    And sorry to beat a dead horse, but have you noticed how the rhetoric of Dawkins & co. and their blog supporters is much more virulent and scathing when aimed at "the religious", rather than the followers and tenets of any particular religion? It seems that it is more or less offensive to publically mock individual faiths, but the march of universal secularism is noble and liberating--no time to lose.

  3. Dawkins has gone off the deepend, its a shame as his books on actual "science" are fantastic, esp, the blind watchmaker.

    Its our old friend again, "fundamentalism", saying "our truth is not just another truth, its a special truth, and as such we get special rights", just as the international and national socialists did and not the islamists say now.

    If he is confident in his argument he should let that be enough.

  4. Well, the particular ideals of communism are forgiven their 20th century atrocities because of an anti-human/pro-idealism notion that they were imperfectly applied by people, while being intellectually sound in the abstract.

    But the broader problem of why practical outcomes don't count when weighed against ideals is to do with (a) not learning from experience; and (b) considering the actual humans alive now to be relatively unimportant in the greater scheme of things.

    This describes most teenage intellectuals but if your brain works properly you grow out of it.

    It's either that or something to do with Che Guevara posters.

  5. Well, the road to Hell is proverbially paved with good intentions. Class is a more amorphous concept than race, which may explain why the fate of 'the nobility' (1789-92)but rarely Vendean Catholic royalists, 'the bourgeoisie' (1917), the kulaks (1928-32) don't excite similar outrage. Of course, in the late 1930s Stalin murdered hundreds of thousands of people simply because they were 'Germans' or 'Poles' and then went on to kill huge numbers of Chechens, Crimean Tatars etc. Funny how the industrial avalanche of books/films about Fascism and Nazism doesn't actually inhibit voters in Austria (or Italy) from voting for neo or post Fascists, rather than giving an inter-generational blood transfusion for the cause of 'anti-Fascism' as represented in the BBC and Left university.

  6. The far right is openly malevolent and cunningly panders to the reptilian brain.
    People just see the far left as a movement that wouldn't be smart enough to organise a mass murder. They're people filled with hatred who deceive themselves( and others) into thinking their malice is well intentioned; deep down though they just want to shoot people with more money than they do.

  7. Today, the vast majority on the left are not like that, Brit. Most of us are social democrats who merely wish to create a fairer, more humane society by seeking to temper the more harmful consequences of untramemlled, free market capitialism. I don't believe it is unreasonable, or idealistic, or immature, to want a more balanced, equitable system and to try to achive that by democratic means.

    I find it hard to believe that there are many on the right, at this particular moment in time, who would have the chutzpah to accuse the left of immaturity. So, drop the superior, self-righteous tone.

  8. Hey anonymous - judging by today's events those British social democrats have done a great job of tempering the more harmful consequences of untrammelled, free market capitalism.

  9. Thankee, Anonymous, for that spirited bit of New Labourishness. No problem with that, of course, I voted for 'em. Twice. I'm all for 'vast majorities' too, and concur that the extreme free marketeers are nuts.

    But we're talking about Commie-apologists here. Lots of good people have become communists for good reasons at various times and places, but being a middle-aged Marxist in 21st Century Britain is just weird. We're only trying to rationalise how such a thing could be.

    For my part, I couldn't describe myself as being on the right (everything's always too much of a Gestalt image to me), but I do defend my right to maintain a good superior, self-righteous tone, especially towards someone who is gallantly (and anonymously) trying to "create a fairer, more humane society by seeking to temper the more harmful consequences of untramemlled, free market capitialism".

  10. i spent a very pleasant Saturday in the company of about 30 people, most of whom were extreme right-wingers, some belonging to fascist organisations, etc. Despite my being evidently half-Indian a good time was had by all. Perhaps it's that i am culturally English if not genetically. i went astrolling with one of these fascists who was very courteous and helpful to a pair of vaguely-Arab looking people who stopped us for directions.