Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Doing It Wrong

Interesting bit on extremist parties getting stronger (in Europe but really here too) due in large part to really wrong "center" party policies, particularly austerity.  One odd thing about it is that right wing extremist parties seem to benefit more than left wing, and that seems worth exploring.  I can think of a few possible explanations but really no idea as to their veracity...

1.  People have more real experience with Communism than with Fascism and so are more likely to push right than left when the center is so horrible. 

2.  The right is more aligned with "self" and the left with "government" and the perception here is that "government" is failing so obviously trending the other way makes sense (I would argue this is ironic in that "government" is failing by being made smaller and less effective, which is exactly what most right side parties want). 

2.5  Corollary to the second point: the right is generally associated with tax cutting, and the more dysfunctional government is [perceived as being] the less people will see paying taxes as benefiting them more than keeping that money themselves.

3. Right wing parties tend to identify "others" to cast blame on for the poor fortunes of the "right types" of people.  Mostly this tends to immigrant groups and typically ones that look different than the native peoples--Arab, Persian, Indian (Muslim) in Europe, African (yes still), Mexican and other Hispanics in the US.  Note: it is very much not the same to blame a political party as it is to blame a race or ethnic group of people.  So, no, Democrats blaming Republicans or the Tea Party is not equivalent...calling yourself a Tea Partier is self-identification with a set of beliefs and values, being Mexican is not.

In this country there is the added problem that while the extremist right has pretty much taken over the Republican party, the extremist left is homeless (hell, the only slightly left of center is homeless here since the Democratic party mainstream, starting with Clinton and on through Obama has become a center-right party). 

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