guarding the potatoes
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- Aug 9, 2004
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- Mt. Pleasant, SC
Very detailed and interesting read. The thesis is that research shows that the rise of right-wing populism is more about genuine racism than it is about economic issues (global trade, job competition, etc.). In other words, White Christians are fearful of losing their privilege of dominating Western life.
Here is the intro:
Here is the intro:
White riot - VoxIt’s tempting to see Trump’s rise as something sui generis: something so bizarre, so linked to his own celebrity, that it could never be repeated. Yet it is being repeated: Throughout the Western world, far-right populists are rising in the polls.
In Hungary, the increasingly authoritarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, has started building a wall to keep out immigrants and holding migrants in detention camps where guards have been filmed flinging food at them as if they were zoo animals. In Italy, the anti-immigrant Northern League, led by a politician who has attacked the pope for calling for dialogue with Muslims, is polling at more than three times its 2013 level, making it the country’s third most popular party. And in Finland, the Finns Party — which wants to dramatically slash immigration numbers and keep out many non-Europeans — is part of the government. Its leader, Timo Soini, is the country’s foreign minister.
These politicians share Trump’s populist contempt for the traditional political elite. They share his authoritarian views on crime and justice. But most importantly, they share his xenophobia: They despise immigrants, vowing to close the borders to refugees and economic migrants alike, and are open in their belief that Muslims are inherently dangerous.
These parties’ values are too similar, and their victories coming too quickly, for their success to be coincidental. Their platforms, a right-wing radicalism somewhere between traditional conservatism and the naked racism of the Nazis and Ku Klux Klan, have attracted widespread support in countries with wildly different cultures and histories.
The conventional wisdom is that the economic losses suffered by working-class people throughout the developed world explain the rise of this new right. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are estimated to have been lost due to free trade pacts in recent decades, with industries like manufacturing absorbing much of the pain.
That’s created an ocean of angry and frustrated people — primarily blue-collar and primarily white — who are susceptible to the appeal of a nationalist leader promising to bring back what they feel has been taken away.
This anger plays some small part, but it doesn't tell most of the story. A vast universe of academic research suggests the real drivers are something very different: anger over immigration and a toxic mix of racial and religious intolerance. That conclusion is supported by an extraordinary amount of social science, from statistical analyses that examine data on how hundreds of thousands of Europeans look at immigrants to ground-level looks at how Muslim immigration affects municipal voting, and on to books on how, when, and why ethnic conflicts erupt.
This research finds that, contrary to what you’d expect, the "losers of globalization" aren’t the ones voting for these parties. What unites far-right politicians and their supporters, on both sides of the Atlantic, is a set of regressive attitudes toward difference. Racism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia — and not economic anxiety — are their calling cards.
The ongoing surge of immigrants — especially those who venerate a different prophet or have a darker skin tone — is triggering a fierce right-wing backlash around the West. In the US, the anger about Latino immigration has linked up to another racial anxiety: Many white Americans believe their privileged status is being eroded by the past half-century of moves toward treating African American as truly equal citizens.
Donald Trump is a manifestation of this backlash, as are Brexit and the surge of support for far-right European parties. They show the extent of white Christian anger — the privileged who are furious that their privileges are being stripped away by those they view as outside interlopers.