I was never particularly interested in politics growing up. My father was an active social democrat, and I remember him jumping up and down with excitement when the SDP was formed, as David Owen, Roy Jenkins, and Shirley Williams broke away from the Labour Party.
Even as a student, I never got interested beyond having a feeling that something wasn’t right. I felt I should be left-wing - that that was the right thing to be, but I never felt particularly engaged, only alienated. My vague understanding of political ideology was that Stalin and the Bolsheviks were far left and Hitler and the Nazis were far right - I didn’t realise Nazi meant national socialist back then - but that far left and far right were actually quite close in philosophy. Horseshoe theory, basically.
It seemed actual far right was something that didn’t really exist in the UK. There was Oswald Mosley, but he was a bit of a laughing stock, and the National Front was tiny and ineffectual.
In my mid-to-late 30s, as a result of studying gold, sound money and limited government, I discovered libertarianism. For the first time, here was a political philosophy that resonated with me. Government is inherently incompetent, inefficient and inequitable. The more it does, the worse things seem to get. The less it does, the better. “A multiplicity of individual decisions,” to quote John Cowperthwaite, former Governor of Hong Kong, “will produce a better and wiser result than a single decision by a Government or by a board with its inevitably limited knowledge of the myriad factors involved, and its inflexibility.”
It always amazes me that somebody who advocates peace, free trade, less government, and, in the case of anarchism and anarcho-capitalism, no government at all, can be sectioned off with Nazis and labelled far right. Far right involves more government not less.
To say far-right libertarian, as the Guardian did the other day to describe Argentina’s new president Javier Milei, is surely oxymoronic. Or maybe just plain moronic.
At best it’s lazy and ignorant. At worst it’s the stuff of smearing and straw men, and wilfully dishonest. I used to think it’s the former. Now most of the time I realise it’s the latter.
I am proud to have written the Libertarian National Anthem, which distils libertarian philosophy. The lyrics read:
Arise libertarians above totalitarians
Our guide is the mighty invisible hand.
Reject state controllers, collectors, patrollers.
Our choices are better than government plans.
Taxation is a form of theft.
Free markets and free trade are best.
Free speech, free movement, free minds and free choice.
Our actions are all voluntary,
Not coerced or compulsory.
War we abhor, socialism does not work.
No debt or inflation, no stealth confiscation,
No pigs in the trough at the gravy to drink,
No state education to brainwash our nation,
No experts dictate what to do, what to think.
We scorn your fiat currency.
Gold and bitcoin is our money.
We own ourselves and we live and let live.
We take responsibility.
Life, love and liberty.
Leave us alone, let a thousand flowers bloom.
How is any of that far right?
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What actually is “far right’?
Time for a Wikipedia definition:
Historically, "far-right politics" has been used to describe the experiences of fascism, Nazism, and Falangism.
That’s what I thought.
But here’s the problem. They’ve done that change-the-definition thing:
Contemporary definitions now include neo-fascism, neo-Nazism, the Third Position, the alt-right, racial supremacism and other ideologies or organizations that feature aspects of authoritarian, ultra-nationalist, chauvinist, xenophobic, theocratic, racist, homophobic, transphobic, or reactionary views.
So, basically, now far right can be anything you don’t agree with.
The name derives from the left–right political spectrum, with the "far right" considered further from center than the standard political right.
Of course, the whole prism of left and right is false, in any case. Authoritarian v libertarian is much more telling, and the political compass is the best scale of all. But so overused is the term far right that the political compass is starting to look something like this.
I have argued many times, starting with Life After the State, that healthcare, education and welfare would all be cheaper and of a higher standard, if the government stayed out of it. The internet is the most powerful learning tool ever created and it’s (almost) free. In the context of the times, the Friendly Societies of the 19th century were much better providers of care than the state equivalent we have today. But, somehow, if you argue that state care is no good, and that we should do away with it, people think you are advocating a society with no care at all, and therefore you are a fascist and far right. It’s not about wanting the best care for people though, with them, is it? It’s about control.
This week we have seen the election of Javier Milei in Argentina, who is a self pronounced libertarian and anarcho capitalist. His rants denouncing the state are the stuff libertarian wet dreams are made of. I know the purists say he is a WEF stooge. Please. Real life will never as clean as idealists and theorists would like. It is muddy and impure. Take the win. Milei’s victory is a good for the libertarian cause, even if only for the PR it has given the word(s) anarcho capitalist. If his policies start to work, the potential for other countries to copy and for libertarianism to spread multiplies. Nevertheless, he is, as we learn from the Guardian, far right.
Then on Thursday, an Algerian migrant in Ireland went on a stabbing spree at a school in Dublin, counting three small children and a woman among his victims. Many Irish people, like the rest of Europe, have had had their concerns about large-scale migration ignored by their leaders, who have set pro-immigration policies in place, for years. They’ve seen increased racial tension, increased crime, especially violent crime and rape, criminals released from prison early due to overcrowding, unaffordable housing get even more unaffordable, while schools, healthcare, transport infrastructure all struggle to cope with the increased numbers. But the stabbing made something snap and Dublin saw the biggest riots it has seen in living memory.
Then came the reporting. This was the Telegraph, who should know better.
Who committed the knife attack? Was that not violent? Or did it just happen? You’re far right if you are angry kids are being stabbed?
The Irish leadership took no responsibility. This had nothing to do with their policies. Instead it too blamed the far right. It was hooligans “driven by far right ideology”, said the head of police. My breath was taken away by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar who as good ignored the crime but condemned the reaction as racist, having no place in multi-cultural Ireland, and pledged more censorship and clamping down of hate speech.
“The problem isn’t that Ireland is being flooded with unassimilable, predatory aliens,” as John Carter so eloquently writes. “The problem isn’t that a little girl was stabbed by one of them. No, the problem is that the Irish have a problem with it.”
The death of the media
The Far Right it seems is now everywhere. Brexit was a far right thing. The Dutch feeling threatened by mass Muslim immigration is far right thing. Argentina, deciding that enough is enough after umpteen hyperinflations, large scale corruption and Lord knows what else, is far right. Even being opposed to the inequitable tax that is ULEZ is far right, apparently - by that measure, Robin Hood, Gandhi, Boudicca, the Peasants Revolt, the American and French Revolutionaries - yes, they were all far right.
Both Just Stop Oil and Black Lives Matter are self-proclaimed far left organisations. Why does the media almost never refer to them as far left?
There hasn’t been a sudden rise or re-emergence of the Far Right. There has just been a rise in name-calling by a media that operates with dual standards. The name-calling can be justified because the definition of what is far right has been changed. And now people who are unhappy about a child being stabbed can be bracketed with Hitler.
Do you remember the Nice terror attack in 2016? A Muslim terrorist drove a truck into a crowd of people celebrating Bastille day and killed 84 people. How did the media report that? This is the BBC headline:
Killed by lorry! No mention of the driver, his background or political affiliation. Just the passive voice.
But anyone who reacts to murderous conduct by an illegal immigrant is far right.
When people are angry because George Floyd is killed and we get several months of looting, that’s fine. But when three Irish kids are stabbed and the Irish get hacked off about it, that’s far right. Such blatant double standards.
Here we see “Oxford men”.
We all know the media lies and has probably always lied. But it also has to be truthful at the level it operates. This switching between active and passive voice is, effectively, lying and sophistry. When the truth is so obviously ignored by a media too scared to call a shovel a shovel, people will inevitably lose trust in it.
Thank God for alternative media, that’s all I can say, or should I say, alt right media. At least there’s a truth to it. Give me a citizen journalist at the heart of the action over a hack any day of the week.
I don’t think anyone minds people applying to come to a country, working hard, contributing, being respectful and so on. But they do mind lots of fighting-age young men coming illegally, stabbing people, raping women, exhausting local resources (such as accommodation, education and healthcare) and then being called racist and far right for raising objections.
If you keep calling people far right Nazis, they will eventually start behaving like far right Nazis, as my friend Low Status Opinions keeps saying to me. The longer moderate political parties ignore the concerns of those who elected them, then the more they will be driven to extremism.
It’s all very well saying the mainstream media is dead. There’s no doubt that it is in decline, but it still has enormous influence. The quicker it dies, the better in my opinion - then some kind of genuine free market can return and replace the monopolistic media we have endured for the last few decades. I say “free market” can return to the media - maybe I should say “far right markets”.
When all is said and done, we are seeing a battle for control of the narrative and one side is losing. That’s when they start using smears like far right.