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PostPopulism and the Rise of Right-Wing Parties in Austria, Czech Republic (Nigel Jones, UK, 10/22/17 7:22 am)
Our esteemed editor John Eipper (October 21) solicited my views of populism, asking whether it is a reaction to the undemocratic, dictatorial EU, and if so, how that explains Trump's triumph in the US.
My own view is that since roughly 1990, government, civil service, the media and academia in both Europe and the US have been increasingly controlled by those who in shorthand, can be characterised as a PC elite.
Socially liberal, militarily inexperienced, inclined to scorn their own countries and cut slack to their enemies, non-ideological and financially greedy, the electoral success of their centre-left parties have made them both arrogant and out of touch with the concerns of their electorates--particularly among the working class.
This has led, on both sides of the Atlantic, to the remorseless rise of populist parties and politicians, of which Donald Trump is the prime exemplar--or perhaps the reductio ad absurdum!
Until the so-called mainstream starts addressing these concerns and actually does something about them, I see no prospect of such populism losing...well, popularity!
[JE: Nigel Jones further wrote in a separate e-mail]:
A few weeks ago we were being told on WAIS that Marine Le Pen's failure to win the French Presidency meant that the populist wave in Europe had peaked.
Since then the disastrous decision of the frumpy Empress of the EU, Frau Merkel, to open the doors to a million unchecked migrants from the Middle East, has come back to bite her backside in the form of the populist anti-Islam AfD party winning seats in the Bundestag in Germany's elections and leaving her fatally weakened.
Then last weekend Austrian elections returned the reinvigorated Conservative OVP party to power. They are pledged to resist further Islamic immigration imposed by the EU. The OVP were compelled to adopt this policy by pressure from the populist right-wing Freedom Party, runner-up in the elections and their likely future coalition partners.
Now this weekend, in a similar pattern, elections in the Czech republic have returned the ANO party as the strongest force, with yet another right-wing populist party, the SDP, breathing down their necks. ANO ("Yes") is similar to Italy's Forza Italia, the creation of Silvio Berlusconi, in that it is the vehicle of a media and business tycoon, Andrej Babis, Czechia's second-richest man. He has also pledged to resist EU pressure to admit more Muslim migrants, remarking "Brussels may soon have a Muslim majority but it won't happen here."
So now we have a large bloc of Central/Eastern Europe--Poland, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic--all ruled by conservative parties adamantly opposed to the suicidal EU policy of encouraging Islamic immigration. This is scarcely surprising as these are the very countries with their own experience of Ottoman invasion who know that Islam and any semblance of Western civilisation are incompatible. Western Europe is now learning that lesson the hard way.
Yet another crack opens in the EU's edifice, and I am very surprised there has been no discussion of this on WAIS. Could it be that some WAISers are wedded to, if not employed by, the manifestly collapsing EU?
JE comments: Central Europe is turning to the right, and hard. One irony here: with the possible exception of Austria, the European nations most resistant to Muslim immigration are the ones to which Muslims by and large aren't emigrating anyway. How do we explain this? Nigel Jones cites the Ottoman example--Turks at the gates of Vienna. But that was 350-500 years ago. What other factors come into play?