Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Right Wing Political Parties In Europe Have A Lot In Common With Each Other And With The Tea Party

This article describes the emergence of right wing political parties in Europe.  Opposition to the European Union is a common thread in many of the parties.  They oppose immigration and they are strongly nationalistic.  They view themselves as defenders of traditional values and opponents of moral decadence. They associate homosexuality and consumerism with the totalitarian forces that have been overwhelming Europe.  To some extent those forces are connected with the influence of America in Europe. Many see Russia as an opposing force to the hegemony of America in Europe.  They also admire Putin for standing up to Europe and America, and for his defense of traditional values.  Putin has aligned himself with the Russian Orthodox church and has used religion as a way of uniting the nation.

One of the curious things about the right wing movement in Europe is that words take on very different meanings for them.  We usually associate nationalism with the Fascism that overwhelmed Europe in the 1930's.  Putin calls the Ukraine leaders in Kiev fascists, and the nationalist parties in Europe believe that they are defenders of liberty and opponents of totalitarianism.

The Tea Party movement in the US has many things in common with the nationalist movements in Europe.  They are strongly nationalist when it comes to foreign policy but they are suspicious of the federal government and the elites in Washington who are promoting policies which they oppose.  They also view the United Nations with the contempt that nationalists in Europe have for the European Union. They commonly refer to President Obama with references to Hitler and Stalin.  They view themselves and libertarians who oppose totalitarian forces in Washington.  They also oppose immigration and what they refer to as the decline in traditional morals and family values.  If they were in Europe they would belong to one of the nationalist parties that oppose US hegemony in Europe and they might admire Putin.  Since they are in America their situation is quite different.  They still associate Russia with Communism.  Putin is certainly not one of their favorite political leaders.  Moreover, since the US does not have a parliamentary system they have aligned themselves with the Republican Party.  This has not been an easy marriage. 

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