A few days ago we had a commenter here who claimed to speak for all Europeans. We’ll leave aside for a moment his/her vaunting hubris, since you know, speaking for everyone from Russia to Portugal is a bit of a stretch. I mean their cultures are almost as different as between our states. (Yes, I’m joking. Mostly. Though they’re not much more different, they just have more history. Imagine the civil war… er war of northern aggression… er… late unpleasantness multiplied by 100 or so. Those people are still arguing about what our Mary said to their Brenda 2000 years ago at the potluck celebrating the fall of the Roman empire.)
But his/her/its/gerbil claims weren’t totally insane. What I mean is, I don’t know if most Europeans believe these things (I haven’t even talked to a minority of Europeans. Other than my family) but I know it’s the “reality” their press pushes.
That “reality” (No real realities were harmed in the making of this reality. Void or restricted according to local laws.) goes something like this: Obama is a moderate right winger, as is Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump is an extreme right winger.
For us Americans this feels somewhat like having the world suddenly shifted sideways 95 degrees. We go something like “Excuse me, but what part of bringing 1/3 of the economy under government control sounds like ‘right wing’ to you? And since when is someone who says ‘at some point you’ve made enough money?’ right wing? Are you out of your ever-loving mind, tovarish?” And as for Hilary and Trump “What in hell do you mean someone who wants single payer and thinks they can rule by executive order is right wing?”
First you must adjust your receptor. Go to it and turn it sideways, to the left. Look, I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: AMERICAN RIGHT AND EUROPEAN RIGHT ARE NOT THE SAME. In many ways they’re not in the same planet.
Start by assuming you grew up with the idea that the country owns everything, and lets citizens (in most languages they never adjusted from its meaning subjects. Most places in Europe would function better with a properly brought up king. Never mind.) hold some of it. Country/state just slotted in place of king. No conceptual difference. (England has some conceptual differences, but seems to have gone a little nuts last 100 years.) This made a really neat framework for socialism as a base line. Or at least authoritarianism, with the State run by “those who know better and taking care of the needy.”
This leaves us a choice of authoritarian internationalism (left) and authoritarian nationalism (right.) Note the closest to “right wing” most countries in Europe have is social democracy. This is not, as most of them think (because their press is worse than ours) equivalent to our democrats (who over the last 50 years have gone sliding further and further left) but it is equivalent to George H W Bush. His son, George W Bush was another flavor of European Right “Christian Democrat.” Both are light flavors of socialism. Both assume the state knows better, dear, and the elites that run it know better than you what you need, don’t worry your pretty head about it.
At this point you’re stuck in that paragraph above, going “Obama, even under that definition is not right wing! Obama went around the world apologizing for America! Obama is a fourth generation red diaper baby and internationalist as they come.”
Yeah. But wait.
To that European spectrum you must now add one thing: Soviet Agitprop.
Most people were not really aware of it, kind of like most people here aren’t aware of how far Marx’s crazy cakes ideas have penetrated academia, the press and entertainment. This is because if you take Marx’s ideas out and look at them objectively, after you take a bottle or so of ibuprofen, and wash it down with vodka, you’re still going “OMG, that’s insane.” But because those ideas were ported into teaching and reporting and the arts, with no explanation, no grounded, and applied to highly situational occasions, you never notice. It’s the assumption behind the assumptions. Kind of like water to a fish. Remember that.
In the same way, the Soviet Union spent millions (or trillions. eh. Who knows? It was stolen money, wielded by authoritarians) corrupting the mind of Europeans for decades. It had an entry point in the fact that Europe was so horrified by WWI it really didn’t want to fight any more (which is why WWII was allowed to boil till it got really bad.)
And then the Soviet Union, who had ambitions to owning all of Europe, took time to spread certain ideas. One of them was that you should not allow independent economies (i.e. “greedy bankers.”) and that all business and individual achievement were wrong. The other was that you should never, ever, ever make war. Survival, the future, all good things, came from pacifism.
Not only are these ideas insane because neither of those — historically — leads to survival of a family, a nation or a people — but they are exactly counter what the Soviet Union DID. (Just like Soviet internationalism was actually Soviet Nationalism. The world should be one nation and that nation should be the Soviet Union.)
Never mind. Their agit prop and psychological warfare were the only front in which the Soviet Union was better than us. Partly because early 20th century “intelligentsia” thought that Communism was “idealism” and it became a positional good.
Anyway, using these they’ve managed to slip in “pacifism is the only non-right wing position to have.”
If you’re stunned that Europe failed to notice things like the Soviet Union’s expansion-and-robbing path to prosperity (the most kleptocratic empire since the Arabs, and the most militaristic since Rome. Maybe more than Rome.) don’t be. You see, I said their press is worse than ours. And most were afraid of criticizing propaganda with reality, because that would get them branded as “right wing.”
Because this was never explicit but, like here “leftism as a positional good causing a cohesion of opinions in media and mass communications, and teaching” it was also never debunked, when the soviet union fell. So they still think “pacifism” is the only not-rightwing philosophy.
Obama didn’t actually stop all the wars (yes, these infants actually believe you can stop wars by throwing a switch and that the enemy doesn’t get a vote) so he’s “right wing.”
Oh, yeah, and he also didn’t put all our businessmen in jail. Because, you know, they fail to notice any communist regime mutates to crony capitalist as a way to survive and “great leaders” on the left around the world end up obscenely rich.
Anyway — that’s their pathetic excuse for calling all of our politicians “right wing.”
What is both amusing (if you have dark sense of humor) and funny here is that they don’t realize that by corrupting our intelligentsia (government — remember how much they LOVED Obama — and education and culture) with their soviet-propaganda-infected fantasies, they have removed the last barrier keeping the wolf from eating them.
Look, it’s like Derpfish, my betta. (He’s better, thank you. An aggressive new filter and part water changes are getting rid of his face fungus, slowly.) He’s not aware of everything I have to do to keep his aquarium at right temperature, filtration, salt content, etc. to keep him alive. He’s not aware I buy water so his acidity level doesn’t change. To him, that’s how life is, is all. And it’s natural, of course.
Now suppose Derpy were a little derpier and thought to start a war on “people who change water in aquariums at least part way every day” because he doesn’t like the agitation and changes in temperature (though I try to keep it pretty close.)
If he succeeded in that campaign, he’d be doing the back stroke in no time at all.
Europe is sort of like derpfish. It never got that “pacifism” and “internationalism” were ideas propagated by the soviet union, to make it easier for them to invade with no resistance. They also never noticed that the ONLY thing keeping the Soviet Union from marching across Europe was …. the US. The US whose “militarism” they reviled.
The good (?) thing is that they’re on a collision course with reality. Their corruption of OUR system is such, they won’t have guardians much longer. And though the Soviet Union THEORETICALLY no longer exists, Putin is doing his best to bring it back from the coffin.
Which brings us to the next point: Are they smarter than derpfish? Do they realize that as the water vanishes they WILL die? Or is this the last great gasp of their civilization.
As for right wing/left wing, RES said it best: Our system was not designed for them, and they’ll never get it. And that’s fine by us. The question is if we can remove the infection of European-thought out of our culture fast enough. Or if it will take us down with them.
I’m betting on the former, of course. I think our “intelligentsia” are a small and derpy minority. And the people, by and large, are still all right.
And now, in the post mass-media age, we have the means to fight back.
Get to it.