The era of far right politics is over – it just doesn’t feel that way

Their supporters have always been there. What has changed are the governments willing to promote their hatred and the subsequent, rapid rise of the resistance

Katherine Denkinson
Thursday 13 August 2020 18:33
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At the turn of the last century, suffragettes were accused of trying to tear apart the fabric of society. Their brazenness in asking for the vote was blamed for creating a class of cuckolded, emasculated men and abandoned children.

In the 1920s it was jazz (specifically flappers) who were to blame for social disintegration and the fall of the white race and, in 1960s America, integrationists and people of colour stood accused of a variety of crimes including race-mixing (which was claimed to be akin to communism).

Today’s political scapegoats are, unfortunately, not much different. The wealthy white folks in power are still attempting to blame immigrants, feminists and various progressive movements for the destruction of society.

For as long as we have subscribed to specific moral systems, there have been moral panics. From the Victorian Luddites who feared that steam trains would stop cows giving milk, to QAnon insisting that random tweets are coded links to a Hollywood cabal of child-eating paedophiles, there have always been those willing to blame innocuous events for “The Fall of Modern Society”.

Panics almost always follow an ideological change; a shift from the way things have always been done. For some, this change is perceived as a personal threat. So connected are they to the old way of doing things and the safety of their beliefs, that accepting any new ideas can feel like a sacrifice of self.

When everything you believe yourself to be is based upon your (flawed) perception of the world and your place in it, any change within that world can be seen as a personal rejection.

It is no coincidence that those most troubled by a change in the status quo are those for whom status has provided the greatest advantages. Nigel Farage, a wealthy, privately educated man who has made a career from a perceived antipathy to immigrants is a prime example.

For QAnon, their vision of America is the white picket fence, hyper-Christian society of the 1950s. This is their moral reality and any move towards progressiveness is seen as Satanic. Whether it be kids with purple hair, allowing LGBT folks to marry or accepting that a black man can be president, it deviates from their tightly controlled view of the universe and must therefore be evil.

For many believers, the QAnonsense has reached the stage of conspiracy-as-religion. As society moves away from the need for Christian interpretations of correctness, everything these people believe in is becoming anathema. The power they once held as god-fearing Wasps is fading, so they cling to the dogma of their conspiracy to reassure themselves that they are still “good people”. The world may not believe them, but they know that they are right.

Right now, ideologically speaking, we are coming to the end of an era. It may not seem so, but the far-right is not gaining traction. Their supporters have always been there. What has changed are the governments willing to promote their hatred and the subsequent, rapid rise of the resistance.

From Extinction Rebellion to BLM and the public fact-checking of QAnon, society is finally beginning to resist these ideologies en masse. Regardless of the fact they are supported by prime ministers and presidents, their views are now being effectively and consistently challenged. Consequently, the previously silent supporters of the far-right have begun to make themselves known and fight back, making it appear that their numbers are growing.

These primarily white, nominally Christian conservatives who have held sway over the land and the law for centuries are scared. Their regime is becoming irrelevant and, for the first time in decades they are being forced to accept an emerging new world order.

Some claim this to be “white genocide” and play the victim. Unable to accept that the white man is no longer king, they have made tearful, self-imposed exiles to Europe or Parler. Others have retreated to doomsday prepping a la Boogaloo Boys. Those who remain have established themselves as protectors of the realm (or its statues at least) and persist in the delusion that they are defending little old England against those dreadful leftists.

A wounded animal is a dangerous one and we should be prepared for a further escalation. Whether it takes the form of beered-up football lads looking for a fight, minor politicians stoking the fires of racism or major world leaders announcing their intent to rig elections. The far right will not go down without a fight.

It may, at times seem insurmountable, but so long as we keep fighting and keep pushing forwards, we can and will succeed.

The age of extreme right-wing, pseudo Christian morality is over. We now stand on the cusp of a better world. Their last gasps will be loud, they may be violent and should definitely be taken seriously, but only as the final, desperate acts of war in a battle they have already lost.

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