Saturday, March 11, 2017

When the hard right and the hard left are the same thing ...

The theory that the far left and the far right bend back in a circle and become very similar, or at the very least have far more in common with each other than either has with the centre, is a very old and familiar idea.

But I cannot remember a time when it has seemed more true than it does today.

The likes of Nigel Farange and Donald Trump on the "right" seem to have a great deal in common with the likes of Vladmir Putin in Russia, Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, or left-wing ideologues and populists like Noam Chomsky or George Galloway.

Nick Cohen makes this point particularly well on the Guardian/Observer site this weekend with an article called

"Farage meets Assange in a shameless illiberal alliance."

Here are a few extracts:

"Illiberals now control the White House and the Kremlin. You can track their influence in the Brexit right’s contempt for education and expertise and the Labour left’s alliances with the counter-Enlightenment."
"The old division between left and right makes as little sense now as it did in 1939. To realise its futility consider that in conventional terms Farage is a politician who manoeuvres in the grey zone before the right and the far right. He exploits chauvinism and plays on racial fears but is always careful not to incite violence directly."

"Assange is a man of what I once called the Chomskyan left and what modern critics call the regressive left. He is against the west, often for good reasons. Like so many of his kind, however, he will then ally with any force, however reactionary, which opposes the west as well."

"Farage is an inspiration to and friend of Donald Trump. He admires Putin’s contempt for human rights and his hatred of the EU. "

"If Wikileaks were dedicated to exposing injustice wherever it occurred, I would have no difficulties with it. But in characteristic regressive style Assange provides support services to the gangster capitalists of the new Russian empire."
"Extremes merge. Red bleeds into black. Everywhere, the institutions of liberal society are denounced as a lying conspiracy, the better for illiberal movements to propagandise their own vast lies."

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