Saturday, November 9, 2013

Right Wing Groups Growing In Europe

This article describes many of the populist political parties that are growing in Europe.  They are Europe's version of the Tea Party in the US.  Like the Tea Party, they oppose immigration for a variety of reasons.  Some oppose the Muslim immigrants who do not share some of the cultural traditions,  and others oppose globalization which dilutes their national identity and threatens the loss of jobs.  They also believe that mainstream politicians are out of touch with the people, but they do not oppose big government.  Unlike the Tea Party, they defend government provided social welfare programs.  They worry that these programs may be cut, and that too much of the money is being spent on immigrants.  They also do not share the Tea Party fervor for free market ideology which has been woven into a crude form of libertarianism which flavors its anti-government philosophy.

These movements in Europe may be the tip of the iceberg.  Social welfare programs depend upon economic growth.  It will not be easy for many governments to maintain them under conditions of economic stagnation.  Moreover, national and ethnic identities are powerful forces.  Efforts to integrate Europe's economy were more effective in overcoming nationalism when the prosperity was growing and widely shared.  Populism in the US will also be a powerful force under conditions of rising income inequality and lower social mobility. 

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