The centrist position of Western governments have fostered a relatively stable political and economic reality. Given that every ten or so years capitalist systems are prone to recessions as a matter of recalibrating and self correcting excesses, for the most part growth, living standards and social cohesion have remained steady.
In the last three decades or so however, much of that has undergone accelerated change. The face of global and national politics is in the midst of a metamorphosis where the traditional spectrum and its associated ideologies are gradually becoming redundant. It is no longer relevant to stand and argue in purely conservative or liberal fashion in the hope that the opponent will be defeated in debate. There is a new force that has carved up the political battleground.
Globalisation. Global corporatism. Welcome to the future. Either there is a return to history and traditional nationalism as seen in the Cold War era; or a global corporate governance and enforced ‘Newspeak’, to use a clichéd but very fitting 1984 reference. Which of these paths lies ahead remains to be seen, but the battle is certainly upon us. We are at the cross roads and whether for better or for worse, one cannot help but be awe struck by the gravity of French poet Victor Hugo’s quote – ‘Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come’.
The shifting fault lines of the political divide are best exemplified through Brexit and the current Hillary – Trump election campaign. The sands have been shifting for a long time and what we are witnessing today is an amassing of suppressed cultural, social and political sentiments and its clash with the beast that has risen from the murky waters to reveal itself. Regardless of the outcome of the US elections, politics beyond 2016 will be a different creature.
It already is – Trump is not a Republican. Yet he did the unthinkable and won in the US primaries to take the helm and steer the GOP. This mind you at the behest of many GOP officials calling for Trump to be thrown out. The rumblings from the Republican Party during the primaries were loud and clear, the elites within the party thought Trump anathema. They weren’t wrong – he is not a Republican. The party simply serves as a vessel but Trump stirred the sentiments that the old Republican Party along with the rest of the political class had been ignoring.
Across the pond in the UK, another man had spearheaded the campaign to free England from the shackles of the European Union. Nigel Farage, a man who had undergone every form of vile criticism managed to take on the establishment and win. What’s most significant about the story here is that Farage was the leader of the UK Independence Party, a right wing populist entity otherwise regarded as on the fringes of the political sphere in England. A party not to be taken too seriously. Yet this ‘not to be taken seriously’ party had dug into the national psyche and stirred sentiments that were simmering just below the surface.
These milestones are indicative of a broader movement that is being witnessed across the West. Indeed, the European populace is now clearly divided between nationalists and globalists. The huge turn out post Brexit condemning the outcome of the UK’s biggest vote in history saw them chanting in favour of EU citizenship over British citizenship. On the other side of the story, the leave campaigners were celebrating that they had won back their nation and sovereignty from a global cabal of technocrats and interest groups running the EU. The political milieu in the UK has quickly solidified as a battle between supporters of the remain campaign and those of the leave campaign, pre and post Brexit. It is a microcosm that is depicting the greater political paradigm shift – the battle between nationalists and globalists – and the new political divide.
This very same divide characterizes the US elections. Political pundits and analysts are failing to comprehend the gravity of the situation. The argument that the political divide has changed is dismissed as either a passing phase in the political spin, or crack pot musings of conspiracy theorists on the fringes. Their failure to understand this change is one of the reasons that their analysis is so far off the mark and so far detached from the sentiments of everyday people. On the day of Brexit, pundits laughed off any proposition that England would leave the EU. They were hit with a big shock. Trump was laughed off as a novelty candidate who no body would take seriously. People are shocked at the distance his campaign has come. A majority of Australian’s have twice on the polls made clear that they support a ban on Islamic migration. Once again pundits were shocked. How long will it be till reality sets in on these so called analysts? The game has changed. It was bound to at some point. Nothing lasts forever. Politics after all is a continuum of slow transformations.
So what happened this time?
When conservatives and liberals met in the middle, there was hope as values and ideas were taken from each side to create an amalgamation of thinking. This would not be limited to simply realism or idealism. Rather, it would entail an approach of ‘pragmatic idealism’. A system know as the Third Way.
Third Way endorses a society where social cohesion is brought about through social justice and equal opportunity. Having cleansed itself of the ‘inherent injustices’ of capitalism through social welfare policies, British sociologist and prominent supporter of Third Way Anthony Giddens, made claims that it was time for a new capitalism to usher in the future. A future in which social justice and egalitarianism would be the centre piece of political endeavor and capitalist pursuits would continue to incentivise equal citizens. Whilst decentralisation of government is advocated along with private property ownership, Third Way encourages a greater state role in bringing about social justice. This has strong echoes of John Rawls, an American political philosopher who popularised the conception of justice as fairness and the difference principle.
As it stands this so called amalgamation is not so much a reconciliation of right wing and left wing thinking but rather, an adoption of some elements of right wing economic thinking by the left. In essence, centrism is a misleading term as the scales are tipped to the left. Popular proponents of the ideology as it were, are Tony Blair and Bill Clinton. Both were early adopters.
It is worthy of note however that this relatively new path has led to a splintering of factions over the nearly three decades since the nineties. We see this in what has recently come to be known as the Alt Right. The fact that people characterise this group as far right racist and homophobic fascists is completely false. Indeed one need not look much further than the poster boy of the Alt Right, Milo Yiannopoulos – a gay Jew hated by far right white supremacist groups on account of his Judaic heritage. There is some racial rhetoric that would shock some, but this can be reduced to a normal attribute of any political group where fringe elements construct identity through hatred. Moreover, most derogatory racial chatter within the group is half baked and not of a serious nature.
The Alt Right represents not one solid ideology but rather a collection of classical liberals, traditional libertarians and traditional conservatives. The Alt Right is comprised of conservatives and liberals. Essentially the term Alt Right itself is a misnomer. However if we were to characterize in a few words just what this group is, it could be agreed that they are simply a collection of otherwise disparate peoples exhibiting their resistance to the fast growth of Third Way. In other words they are fighting against the domination of the globalist cabal that is intent on tearing down traditional Western thought.
Social justice in the West has seen an accelerated rate in the manner in which traditional institutions have been torn down. Whilst cultural revolutions have been part and parcel of Western culture, from Saul Alinsky to the 1960’s counter culture – what the West is experiencing now is unprecedented. Social cohesion is a noble cause but it appears that the experiment has had the opposite effect. Multiculturalism has created an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality in every facet of society. The White population is held accountable for the actions of people generations ago regardless of the progress in race relations accomplished since. Genders are being further divided beyond male and female. Each group is fed the narrative of being a victim of cultural discourse that oppresses them. Immigrant minority groups are given rights and privileges at the expense of a nations traditional custodians. This is especially true of Europe where unfettered migration has seen many injustices forced down on Europeans through state actions so that other cultures can be accommodated. These approaches to social justice have taken the matter too far for some.
Social cohesion is at an all time low and institutions such as marriage are being critiqued by gay rights groups as archaic whilst simultaneously wanting to highjack and redefine its traditional context. The concept of hard work and rewarding efforts has given way to social equality in the form of equality of outcome, and a culture of victimhood. Free speech which is the backbone of liberal Western societies is being outlawed. Social cohesion in Western societies has hit such a low that the concept of the nation state itself is under attack as many leaders are now advocating porous borders.
What is currently being witnessed in the US is a walk out by many Republicans on Trump. This is a reshuffling of chess pieces in the political game. New sides are forming just as they have formed in the UK. Whilst there is some baggage carried over from the traditional polarisation, it has evolved into something different and one major causal factor is corporatism and special interest groups.
Governments have opened borders and relaxed interference in trade which has invited corporations to take control of the reigns. And control they do. From secret back room deals in government offices and lobby groups, to powerful banks influencing regulations. Using the notion of bringing members of society to an equal level, free trade advocates have forced downward pressure on wages in Western nations, and transferred much of that wealth to developing nations. This of course being used as disguise for corporations to look after their triple bottom-line by reducing costs. Open borders thus plays into their agenda. Migration into Western nations keeps a market alive in a population that has started to plateau whilst also bringing down wages over the long term. Developing nations can be exploited for their cheap labour. To keep this machine alive, corporations and banks have partnered with governments around the world along with royal families. Together they have created a nexus known as the political class who believe in institutionalising global regulations. One need not look much further than their efforts to push the Trans Pacific Partnership which would see the sovereignty of 12 governments succumb to the reach of transnational corporations and international institutions propped up by them.
It is this movement that the traditionalists are fighting against. This global cabal control media and therefore the culture that transmutes through members of Western societies. They influence laws advocating a reduction of autonomy and increase in surveillance. Such measures are institutionalised by selling it as efforts to make society more socially cohesive.
Any push back against this agenda is vehemently opposed as racist, xenophobic, institutionalised prejudice, patriarchal oppression and all manner of unjust and for the most part meaningless ‘isms’. Based on this dismissal of genuine concerns of people, the push back has had to take a grass roots movement. Nationalists are fighting and this is what we see in the US elections and the Brexit movement.
So where to from here?
If the nationalists lose the battle, we risk living in a 1984-esque world where the only government is a global one. Just as most nations of the EU no longer hold autonomy over its laws, all land on Earth will be governed by one global political class. This power will have come on the back of much resistance and as such, surveillance and a general clamp down on free speech (much of what we are already witnessing) will erode the freedoms that we hold dear. Historical revisionism, suppression of traditional values and consumerist slavery sold as liberation would be heavily endorsed.
On the other hand, if the push back is strong enough to overcome the grasp of the political establishment, we risk living in a world where nations return to a realist approach when dealing with other governments for fear of being infected with the globalist insiders. This can be seen already in the tensions that are rising between Russia and the West. Russia represents a return to national sovereignty whereas America represents global imperialism. As technology increases a greater emphasis on cyber warfare will see the world become very cautious and nations distrusting of each other.
Furthermore, the immediate effects of a return to nationalism may see ill elements of the far right bring divisiveness in their societies by turning on immigrant communities and supporters of the globalist movement.
These are bleak visions of the future, and the hope of me as the writer of the article is that I am way off the mark. However, the possibility of these being likely outcomes one way or the other is not outside the realm of logic. One thing I can reiterate with absolute certainty however is that the political game has changed. We are witnessing a paradigm shift – the left right divide has evolved into the nationalist globalist divide. The faster political analysts, pundits and journalists catch on to this change, the faster we can get on to coping and responding to the changing political milieu. So has the time finally come for the idea of globalism?