The Normalization of Hate: David Neiwert on Trump and the Rise of the Alt-Right

Nov 29, 2016

November 21, 2016

Host: Lindsay Beyerstein

neiwert-234x300There’s no getting around the fact that the alt-right has come out of the shadows to fully embrace Trump as their candidate. From Steve Bannon to David Duke, controversial support did not wait long to rush to Trump’s side. It’s clear that for many “make America great again” may just mean to make America white again. To help us get to the root of this unprecedented following Trump has produced, we welcome author and award-winning journalist and blogger, David Neiwert.

Neiwert is an expert on the radical right and a correspondent for the anti-hate group the Southern Poverty Law Center. He most recently coauthored an award-winning piece in Mother Jones titled, “How Trump Took Hate Groups Mainstream.” Neiwert and coauthor Sarah Posner have thoroughly tracked Trump’s social media engagement with the white nationalist movement from the start of his campaign. Neiwert suggests that while we can’t know for certain how many of these alt-right ideals are ones Trump personally adheres to, he undoubtedly shares alt-right rhetoric that has enticed a strength in the white nationalism movement we haven’t seen in decades.

Sarah Posner also appeared on Point of Inquiry last year in Sarah Posner: Trump, Carson and the Religious Right in 2016.

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37 comments on “The Normalization of Hate: David Neiwert on Trump and the Rise of the Alt-Right

  • The Alt Right Movement comprises many different factions and, more abstractly, some
    legitimate sensibilities. David Neiwert succumbs to progressive tunnel vision by reducing the movement to a resurgence of white supremicism and nationalism with strong ideological ties to Fascism-Nazism.

    In my view the Alt Right movement emerged in reaction to the regressive left adopting vocally obnoxious agendas espoused by the Black Lives Matter Movement, radical third-wave feminism, LGBT extremism, and assorted politically correct social justice movements forcing the resignation of college administrators and “disinviting” or shouting down speakers who threatened the pcychic “safety” of alleged “victims” in the audience.

    The principal driving force behind the regressive left has been the younger millennial demographic between the age of 18 and 35. The same demographic erupted in the 60s and early 70s. The Black Panthers, The Weathermen in the U.S. and the Baader-Meinhof Group in Germany constituted the leftist equivalent of the rural white supremacist militias that Mr. Neiwert and the Southern Poverty Law Center keep such a close selective eye on today.

    The shrieking demands for immediate change to long-term, persistent, complex social problems come from a juvenile mind inflamed with hormones, hysteria, and recklessness that collectively alarms the moderate majority. When the young grow up, this too shall pass. ( None of this is to say that there are not real political issues informing youth protests or that other geopolitical problems; e.g., the Syrian migration crisis in Europe, have not contributed to an international shift to the right.)

    Mr. Neiwert appears to be a benevolent, civil and reasonable man. Nonetheless his myopic commitment to progressive agendas blinds him to the dysfunctions of leftist authoritarianism that gave rise to the Alt Right in reaction.

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  • @OP – Neiwert suggests that while we can’t know for certain how many of these alt-right ideals are ones Trump personally adheres to, he undoubtedly shares alt-right rhetoric that has enticed a strength in the white nationalism movement we haven’t seen in decades.

    Trump is such an inveterate liar, that he can be reasonably expected to tell any audience, what he thinks they want to hear, and which will gain him their support.
    Clearly he cannot deliver on all the impractical and contradictory promises he has made, but that won’t stop him wrecking many useful systems and relationships in his attempts, or by his appointments of ideological fanatics to positions of power and authority!

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  • Melvin,

    I mostly agree with these characterisations and causal sequence of Regressive Left/ SJWs then an alt right response.

    The visceral emotion first mis-steps of millenial SJW’s with too few problems of their own, adopting the underdog most immediate and most whimpering, rather than the righteous, stoical struggler, absolutely brought on the response of a reason based challenge from the alt -right, attractive to the most intellectually engaged the intellectual centre. Christina Hoff Sommers shares the platform with Milo Yiannopoulos and third wave feminism is decently criticised.

    Yet Milo and Steve Bannon rush off from the centre right to the far right realising they have discovered a political motherlode, leaving Sommers (and anti- SJW folk like me) covered in embarrassment. The alt-right proved to be a genuine example are a slippery slope.

    The Weathermen were notably rich kids with no actual problems of their own, like our own millennials today.

    The following is someone teased through a centrist reason to a rightist position and rather than doing a simple course correction rushes back to to the arms of left dogma.

    Dammit, the thinking centre is hard for people to sustain.

    To prove this centre is indeed thinking, I take issue with the simple account of BLM suffering from too many SJWs in its number, and insist that its concern is still wholly deserving of our concern…

    The truths of actual black youth experience as detailed in Alice Goffman’s 8 year research peace detailed in “On the Run”, and demands we take the problem with utmost seriousness despite BLM’s poor presentation of their own case.

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  • Should we really take David Neiwert and the Southern Poverty Law Center seriously – an organisation that calls Ayaan Hirsi Ali an “anti-Muslim extremist”?

    If that weren’t bonkers enough, Neiwert’s SPLC even lumps Maajid Nawaz in with people it says journalists should be wary of. As the SPLC website puts it (kind of badly), Nawaz is an extremist because of the “damaging impact” he and others have “with a platform to spread hate and bigotry”.

    If you can’t quite remember who Nawaz is, he’s the ex-fundamentalist Briton who now aims to reform Islam from the inside, so to speak. In other words, he is a Muslim himself.

    So according to the SPLC, for whom Neiwert writes, you can be an anti-Muslim extremist even if you’re a peaceful practising Muslim who is trying to prevent other Muslims from using their religion to justify terrorism. That’s insane. That kind of thinking makes a liberal like me wonder what the likes of Neiwert are really afraid of. Themselves perhaps?

    The article from the Guardian that Phil Rimmer points to above is a good example of SPLC-type thinking. Its author writes of being ashamed to admit that, on one occasion, after watching some videos online, he “very diplomatically expressed negative sentiments on Islam” to his wife. Once … diplomatically … to his wife!

    If you feel that bad about the one single occasion when you politely criticised something, privately, in front of your nearest and dearest, there’s something deeply wrong with your thinking.

    That writer in the Guardian is just like Neiwert and the SPLC, it seems to me. Putting my amateur psychologist’s hat on for a moment, I wonder what their real worries are. Is Neiwert afraid that he himself thinks, somewhere deep inside, that the criticisms of Islam that he doesn’t like are actually sometimes correct?

    Neiwert’s podcast does make useful criticisms about Trump and his followers. An anti-hate group is a good thing, in my mind. The problem is that when Neiwert writes for an organisation that makes mad accusations among other reasonable ones, he becomes easy to dismiss. In a world apparently drifting towards bigotry, that really is a shame.

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  • scaredAndWellConnected #4
    Nov 30, 2016 at 8:35 am

    Should we really take David Neiwert and the Southern Poverty Law Center seriously –
    an organisation that calls Ayaan Hirsi Ali an “anti-Muslim extremist”?

    There were two earlier discussions on these topics:-

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  • When a person attacks a religion such as Islam, it easily is interpreted as another crusade. Then term “islamophobia” brings out the oh so magnanimous crying of the liberals to protect the minority. The basic problem is not Islam and its religion, it is religion per se. A religion is a belief in a supernatural power and the fantasized superstructure built on that belief. That belief is built on the erroneous idea that all of the ideas embodied in those beliefs are the absolute truth. The people who have those ideas would rather die than to question those beliefs. That apples to ALL religions, not just the Muslim religion.

    So….al this energy to condemn Islam and the Muslim religion is not only misdirected, but it is a tragedy for the human species. Religion is an artifact of human thinking as well as the strong tendency to conform. We should direct all that energy to the elimination of ALL religions on earth, and that includes Christianity, Hinduism, and Judaism as well as all others. I think that is the very reason that islamophobia is so destructive. It is so interesting to see so many people jump at attacking those who point out the witch hunting and crusades by Christians centuries ago.

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  • Phil, Melvin, others—

    “In my view the Alt Right movement emerged in reaction to the regressive left.”

    Good alt right argument. Nice false equivalent. Congratulations.

    (The weathermen were violent radicals, but I don’t put the Left down.)

    These “white nationalists” are sick people; it was strong in the 1800s. Domination and genocide based on feelings of racial superiority was there before that, at the dawn of the nation. it was there way before the “regressive left” ever emerged. They used different names, but it’s all the same shit. You can’t just blame the “authoritarian left”: regressive or otherwise. Something to what you say, but too accusatory and simple. This hate we’re seeing has a long lineage. Atavistic. The regressive left was a reaction to something too. It’s a pendulum swinging back and forth. But no one on the left that I know wants to kill people!

    Tell me what The Left is. There are all kinds of people in this world and we are not all the same. And nothing is new. Same racists, and yes, the same watery and at times strident and unfair liberals that gives the left a bad name. Trump and his advisers are right-wing populists and knew that these violent and hate-filled degenerates were out there hiding and waiting under rocks.

    Now it’s all coming out, and the “alt right” are basically scum and racists are scum. (That’s my analysis.) They don’t like blacks or gays or Jews, hated Obama because they don’t think blacks are smarter than them and Obama proved that they are. Backlash. They are unsuccessful and uneducated and want to blame and scapegoat minorities. Political correctness didn’t cause this. That’s a small piece of it. This is what Trump did: he knew they were out there and spoke to the racists, spoke to them, awakened them – and now we have a nation on the verge of civil war again. Never have we been this divided. Not since 1861.

    Here’s another angle: I wonder if Bannon and others (on the alt-right) aren’t part of the Illuminati. Right-wing fascists in search of a New World Order. A secret society? Possible, right? What is that pyramid on the five dollar bill? And why is Trump hiring all of these billionaires? I feel sick.

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  • Dan #7
    Nov 30, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Now it’s all coming out, and the “alt right” are basically scum and racists are scum. (That’s my analysis.) They don’t like blacks or gays or Jews, hated Obama because they don’t think blacks are smarter than them and Obama proved that they are.

    Perhaps they will make a surprising discovery now they have voted!!

    Donald Trump Accepts Award at “Jewish 100” Gala.

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  • P.S. One dollar bill, that is. What is that bizarre pyramid with the illuminated eye at the top? And what does this mean: “Novus ordo seclorum”?

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  • Alan,

    Trump himself may or may not not be a racist and may or not be an anti-semite. But what is certainly true is that he has unleashed the bigots, either wittingly or unwittingly. I suspect it was by design.

    He may also be a puppet. No way to know. And his son is who he is. So what? What’s he supposed to do, kill him? send him off to a concentration camp? His supporters will still adore him and forgive him for having a Jewish son-in-law.

    I am sure a lot of Jews love him; he’s probably a nationalist; he is certainly being advised by one. The ultra Zionists are nationalists.

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  • Dan, we’ve done SJWs already my views haven’t changed. Even from my dislike of the term of regressive left (I use it to be clear to others, who use the term.)

    SJWs are well intentioned folk who damage their own arguments by being visceral rather than evidence and reason based where ALL folk should be able to meet and resolve issues. They, too often, misidentify the underdog and silence those deserving to be heard. These Hyper Pro Social folk (my much prefered term) make my job promoting the two values of greater fairness and less harm, much more difficult by creating un-intelligent accounts that denigrate of their (MY!) case.

    My son a while back came to me puzzled. These people, denigrated for being right wingers, are telling the truth about these third wave feminists, aren’t they, Dad? Why yes they are.

    The alt-right are clever if rather aspie people. Related to libertarians. Clever enough to see the hyper pro socials emotive only arguments for what they are, a disorganised plea for niceness, fatally undercut by poor judgement. The alt right are also mostly devoid of any moral value.

    I totally disagree this is a repeat of same old, same old. Social media have got millenials most particularly focused on a newly intense need for signalling personal niceness in the trite way that religion does. We’d had many decades of respite from this. Incidentally…

    You need to not join the Toxic Werdz brigade and judge folk on the strength of vocabulary alone. There are indeed lots of folk on the left. I wish some of them would think more before opening their mouths. They are targets for the likes of The Amazing Atheist. Clever but aspie and part of a half reasonable alt-right. However, TJ Kirk (TAA) is ignorant of much stuff and his pontifications are often simply racist being his guesses about the truth of situations. He prefers to think ill rather than fifty fifty ill and well. His bias is naked.

    Reason deserves the win. Not blind loyalty. Loyalty is what those on the right do best.

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  • Dan #7: Something to what you say, but too accusatory and simple.
    And then…..
    the “alt right” are basically scum and racists are scum. (That’s my analysis.) They don’t like blacks or gays or Jews, hated Obama because they don’t think blacks are smarter than them and Obama proved that they are. Backlash. They are unsuccessful and uneducated and want to blame and scapegoat minorities.
    Look who’s talking!

    The Alt Right includes despicable groups but also attracts moderates, more by sensibility than labels, who react against excesses on the left embodied in small groups of vocal zealots and self-proclaimed leaders who want to control speech, silence dissent, and shun, ban and punish anyone who violates the purity of their radical ideology even through a slip of the tongue elevated to a capital thought crime. White Supremacists-Nationalists and Radical Leftists alike comprise a laughably small segment of the population. Perhaps we should dial back the lopsided passion and conspiracy theories.

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  • Melvin,

    Hi. How are you?

    I really meant American racists and those who scapegoat. I am no authority on the alt-right. Beware of false equivalents, or excessive fear of an oppressive and authoritarian Left. The loss of human liberty is far more likely to come from the Right.

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  • Dan

    The regressive left and the alt-right are not in the least sense equivalent to each other. They are chalk and cheese.

    I fear the regressive left far more than you do. I believe they want to silence debate because it is risky. I believe they love dogma and groupism and loyalty. They will make safe spaces and call for the need to never give offence. They care nothing for my recipe for peace with progress, learning and teaching ever not to take offence…

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  • Phil (11), Laurie, Melvin,

    I used to criticize radical feminists (in the 70s and 80s) and other leftist groups that I thought were totalitarian and unfair. I don’t have time for that now. We need all the feminists and legitimate SJWs we can get now. (Tired of labels and denigration and generalizations! Obviously we don’t want idiots giving a good cause a bad name; that’s a no-brainer.) Radicals are welcome. Bring everyone on. The diminution of human liberty –and terrible, regressive policies vis-a-vis women – will come from the Right, as I just told Melvin.

    We need a sense of proportion!

    I hope women come out in large numbers to protest what promises to be a challenging time. I think they will. And I will be marching with them. I might even become an “SJW” myself. What’s wrong with that? When there are no specific examples to back up the argument that something (like third-wave feminists or SJWs) is objectionable, one is labeling and generalizing, is not being constructive, is actually abetting the alt-right (whatever that is). And assuming that your abhorrence of these elements of the left is justified to some extent, is this the time to blame and excoriate these bad apples? We are facing something unprecedented: the darkest, most reactionary and sinister administration in this nation’s history. A precarious time.

    (Sorry if I failed to grasp any of your points, Phil. I wrote this quickly and I am feeling a lot of anxiety.)

    Laurie, give me that ‘Darling’ award. I’d be happy to receive it.

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  • I fear Trump far more than the regressive left at the moment. You seem totally unaware of the solidity of my feelings expressed over the last year. They are all still surprisingly consistent. I nuance a point and you panic. Nothing will ever make me not viscerally left of centre. This is the result of my cultural upbringing of which I am very happy and have tried to so indoctrinate my kids, to share fortune and expect to share others’ misfortune.

    Remember this!

    Now, no action of mine with social consequence will escape my due moral process. Evidence and reason must be my final guide, not my pre-wired visceral feelgoods. As it happens I rarely find a conflict. Encultured during a period of astonishing wealth (none need starve) I think I am viscerally wired optimally. (I wouldn’t fair so well post apocalypse.)

    SJWs, the regressive left, the hyper pro socials are the very enemy of the true good guys, Maryam Namazie, Ayan Hirsi Ali, Majid Nawaz, even Malala Yousafzai, (the sort of person Dawkins intended by Dear Muslima), Richard Dawkins….

    “Regressive” is way more telling than “left”.

    Want a feelgood term? I claim to be a Social Justice Advocate.

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  • Dan #15: We are facing something unprecedented: the darkest, most reactionary and sinister administration in this nation’s history. A precarious time.

    Though both my head and heart tell me this is not so, I respect where you are coming from and why so many people are plunged into fear, loathing and despair. Trump’s ambitions will be checked by the opposition. Trump’s
    mistakes will get him voted out of office. The damage will be minimal and the silver lining may well teach the American electorate: Never Again. Want another feelgood term? Keep the faith.

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  • Phil (others)

    You just reminded me of that “Dear Muslima” thing and “Elevatorgate”. And remember how Richard D. was uninvited to speak at that event? That was horrible. Yeah, the regressive left is insidious. But let’s focus on the destructive right, shall we? Trump just hired Mnuchin, a corrupt Wall Street libertarian, to head the Treasury – a former Goldman Sachs partner. Trump chided bankers like Goldman Sachs (and Hillary’s talks there), during his campaign. This person in charge of the Treasury was behind the mortgage crisis, is against regulations. It’s bizarre and frightening. He’s a total fraud and is forming a Wall-Street/Fox News government. It might be worse than that even. There may be something in store for us that is worse than we can imagine. (Most of his appointees are Fox News contributors.)

    The secretary of Health and Human Services is against medicare, medicaid, SS, abortion, affordable health care. He hires someone who wants to destroy public education. He hires a climate skeptic to run the EPA transition.

    So it’s hard for me to feel worried about the regressive left right now. My capacity for worrying is prodigious but not infinite.

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  • Lauwie…er, Laurie,

    Yes, I did hear about that this past evening. (And I immediately thought of Alf.)

    Are you as concerned as Phil is about the “regressive left”? I couldn’t care less about that right now.

    Elizabeth Warren was interviewed by A. Cooper tonight. She was great!

    “Trump chided bankers like Goldman Sachs…” —Moi (#19)

    Superfluous correction: Goldman Sachs is neither a banker nor a bank. (But you know what I mean.)

    P.S. If you do run in 2020 Phil will be a top adviser, okay? He knows a lot of things.

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  • Hi Laurie and Dan and good friends of RDS,
    I’m pretty sure none of this past year is real. You can’t convince me.
    I thought living in a world where people still believe in “gawds” was strange.

    I’m waiting to wake up. I am speechless lately.

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  • Dan,

    Don’t have faith (sorry Melvin). This is the American recipe for fatalism and repeating history.

    Understand what went wrong. The new cohort of the dispossessed, the ones who tipped the balance of power, some of them Democrat voters repulsed by, say, Black Lives Matter antics (read me right, here! Remember what I’ve said in the past.) were reacting in part to the mindless faith of SJWs.

    This new cohort is the switchable cohort. What can we tell them to bring them back? How will we re-possess them and treat them more fairly?

    We had the beginnings of a plan quite as astonishing in its possible outcome as our current one. Bernie Sander’s book is a very telling read and it shows me why HRC had too much of a journey back to decency to survive given the senseless and manipulative muck raking of social media. Though I thought Melvin was too unforgiving given her various changes of heart, he was dead right about the way she would be perceived.

    By making the same mistake you do, Dan, i.e. thinking the left a big cuddly sisterhood, socialist values are diminished and dismissed by others. SJWs are a drain on the acceptability of Bernie. Democratic socialism needs to be seen simply as a rational and evidence based enhancement of capitalism, not some soppy do-gooding idealist catch-all. We have to put our house in order. My admiration for Sanders increases as he shows himself a man of focused and practical problem solving not some fatuous idealogue.

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  • Phil: Don’t have faith (sorry Melvin). This is the American recipe for fatalism and repeating history.

    The expression is purely secular in meaning = Remain confident in convictions consistent with your examined reason and moral values – keep working vigorously to bring about progressive change – stay the course. “Faith” is a perfectly customary and useful word in the English language, meaning in a secular sense confidence in values or persons that are cherished

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  • Hi, Phil, (24)

    I won’t be labeled, and I am not what you described; we agree politically, for the most part, I think. (My political philosophy is not static; it is in the process of being formed. This process does not end.) Capitalism has led to many of the crises that we face now; it is the nature of capitalism to do that. It must be watched closely, kept in control. I have socialist leanings, but I am not (yet) anti-capitalist per se. I am against abuses, a rigged economy, deregulation, etc. – all the things that Sanders and Warren talk about. Socialism is not incompatible with Democracy or capitalism. I believe in universal health care, in redistributing wealth, in making sure that those at the top pay their fair share in taxes, in financial and environmental regulations, in public education, and so much more.

    Capitalism versus socialism: An erroneous and destructive distinction, as I am sure you know. I am for everything you are for, for real solutions to real problems, and an effective approach to counter the appeal of the demagoguery and lies that all too many people are susceptible to. I am for trying to deal realistically and effectively with the issues that we need to deal with. Trump is horrible, couldn’t be worse. He has now the richest and most dangerous administration in US history. They want to weaken Dodd-Frank! His EPA transition appointee is a climate change denier, etc.!!

    Trump won by lying. It would have been hard for anyone to contend with that. Plus, the senseless muckraking you referred to could have happened to anyone. Clinton was right to run and she did quite well, all things considered. I don’t fault Hillary too much. We are all too hard on her. She had to face a veritable tsumani of unreason and passion! Bernie might have won or he might not have. But going forward the Democrats need to be more forceful; they need to expose the deception while it’s happening, not after. The Democrats, in my opinion, were victims of mob psychology. Like hornets the shame-ridden, duped Trump supporters started swarming.

    The voters were manipulated.

    (By the way, some of those Wikileaks were out and out fakes. There was one, for example, that looked like it was written by Podesta – a scathing attack of Hillary from her own campaign chairman. Guess what? It was written to Podesta, by some right wing operative. No one questioned that bogus leak until it was too late. One of many examples. How does one deal with treachery on that scale?)

    Let me ask you a related question:

    Populism. I’ve been hearing that word a lot lately. What is it? It’s just a euphemism. Trump’s a populist? He’s just someone who ran for President and told people that they would have more to gain by voting for him. His administration is like previous administrations – only worse. They are wealthy elitists, not interested in the working class per se, and certainly not interested in the working poor.

    Now I hear that a “wave of populism” is spreading across Europe, and that France and Italy will leave the EU as people are dissatisfied with the establishment. But all that means is that a right wing candidate is telling them that the “establishment” is not helping them; but they are actually worse and will be offering more of the same, if not more inequality and corruption.

    So what is populism other than a right-wing bait and switch, an appeal to nationalism in particular and the emotions in general?

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  • Dan #26
    Dec 1, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    So what is populism other than a right-wing bait and switch, an appeal to nationalism in particular and the emotions in general?

    The present “popularism” is the fantasy which the right-wing media and gutter press is selling to the gullible – presenting tiny minorities of reactionary muppets – who spend most of their time fighting among themselves (such as UKIP), as inspirational major political parties.
    Can you imagine a “major” US political party with ONE elected member in the House of Representatives and THREE in the Senate!

    At Westminster, UKIP has one Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons and three representatives in the House of Lords. It has 20 Members of the European Parliament (MEP), making it the jointly the largest UK party in the Parliament.

    They gained 20 seats in the European parliament on a media Euro-phobic campaign – mainly of lies, but they make no useful contribution there!
    In fact, Ukip MEPs are the laziest in Europe, missing a third of debates.

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  • @cbrown #6
    “The basic problem is not Islam and its religion, it is religion per se. ”


    There’s religion and woo-woo in general, which can harm lives with institutionalised pedophilia or misogyny, treating diseases with prayer or water-that-used-to-contain-something and so forth.

    Then there’s one religion in particular which proclaims fatwas on writers and cartoonists, and has ardent followers who will crash planes into buildings, drive trucks through crowds of people across mile long promenades, randomly attack civilians with guns or knives, radicalises first-world youth to go and fight and die in third-world wars, and so forth.

    You cannot compare Islam and (say) Christian Science.

    Yes, they’re both woo-woo.

    The difference is that AFAIK Christian Science (and its reliance on prayer over medical treatment) has never killed anyone who wasn’t a believer (or a believer’s dependent). Also, they’re not actually trying to kill anyone, their beliefs are misguided (stupid) but not intrinsically evil; they really are trying to heal people with prayer, as ludicrous as that sounds to a non-believer.

    Whereas Islam tends to make a virtue out of intentionally killing non-believers. [“Religion of Peace” is a piece of beautiful propaganda that Goebbels would have been proud to call his own.] The misguided (stupid) part of their belief system that is relevant is that the losers who will die in the act believe they’ll be rewarded in an afterlife.

    They are both problems, but they deserve different prioritisation.

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  • Being optimistic, I like to hope that as the Trump Era develops, the “populist” wave will see itself discredited, and will fail long before it gets far across Europe. Look, see how fucked up is the USA (and the UK), let’s not go there….

    “By their fruits ye shall know them.” <— I don’t like quoting old books, but that one’s a good one.

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  • Dan,

    So what is populism other than a right-wing bait and switch

    It would be equally populist to bait and deliver.

    Sanders would deliver. Read his book for energising therapy.

    You must stop blaming the dispossessed for not “doing the right thing”. Nor have (faith) confidence that they will come to their moral senses. Those stolen from become less moral for a while. Appealing to their better nature is a lot less effective than restitution.

    (We seem entirely congruent on capitalism and socialism. But I think we always have been.)

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  • OHooligan #29
    Dec 1, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Being optimistic, I like to hope that as the Trump Era develops, the “populist” wave will see itself discredited, and will fail long before it gets far across Europe. Look, see how fucked up is the USA (and the UK), let’s not go there….

    I see that the dissenting Tory MP who resigned and stood as an independent causing a by-election, has lost his seat to the Liberal Democrats!

    The Liberal Democrats have caused a major upset in the Richmond Park by-election, overturning a 23,015 majority to oust ex-Tory MP Zac Goldsmith.

    Mr Goldsmith stood as an independent after leaving the Conservative Party in protest at the government’s decision to back a third Heathrow runway.

    But Lib Dem Sarah Olney, who is also opposed to Heathrow expansion, fought the campaign on the issue of Brexit.

    Labour’s Christian Wolmar lost his £500 deposit as he trailed a distant third.

    The other five candidates also lost their deposits as they did not receive a big enough share of the vote.

    Ms Olney polled 20,510 votes to Mr Goldsmith’s 18,638.

    The Conservative Party, UK Independence Party and Green Party did not field candidates.

    As the new Lib Dem MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston, Ms Olney will be the party’s only female MP – joining eight male colleagues.

    She said the by-election result was a rejection of the “politics of anger and division”.

    She added: “The people of Richmond Park and North Kingston have sent a shockwave through this Conservative Brexit government, and our message is clear – we do not want a hard Brexit.

    “We do not want to be pulled out of the single market, and we will not let intolerance, division and fear win.”

    She said if Article 50 – the legal process that sparks Britain’s exit from the EU – is put to a parliamentary vote, she will vote against it.

    “That’s been a central part of my campaign and now I’ve been given a very clear mandate that that’s what they [constituents] want me to do,” she told the BBC.

    Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said the result “was a remarkable, come-from-nowhere upset that will terrify the Conservatives”, but he claimed it was also a rejection of “a hard Brexit”.

    “This was not just about a Remain versus Leave rerun – this was about people trying to say to Theresa May, ‘We do not like the extreme version of Brexit outside the single market you’re taking us down,'” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

    “The other thing that was clearly a concern to voters was they desperately wanted a moderate, decent alternative to the Tories now Labour has shuffled off the main stage – and they were delighted to give the Liberal Democrats the opportunity to be just that.”

    The up-surge by the Lib Dems is likely to continue in the face of barmy Tory brexiteers and Corbynite stupidity pandering to UKIP voters, failing to provide any effective opposition!

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  • Phil

    I think there were some relatively good populists in the past, genuine populists in the sense of “Fighting” Bob La Follette.

    These original populists where radical small-d democrats who had a sweeping critique of the inequality of Gilded Age America, which saw the rise of giant corporations ruled by robber barons.


    . . . What’s true of McCarthyism is also true of subsequent movements and figures like the John Birch Society, David Duke, Sarah Palin, the Tea Party movement and Donald Trump. As Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons noted in their 2000 book Right Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort, the Birch Society uses “populist rhetoric” but “Birchites distrust the idea of the sovereignty of the people and stress that the United States is a republic, not a democracy… Birchites want to replace the ‘bad’ elites with ‘good’ elites–presumably their allies.” Among the big backers of the Birch Society were the Koch family, who later underwrote the Tea Party movement. Members of the Tea Party, often described as populist, tend to be wealthier and better educated than most Americans, as well as being predominately white.

    The word populist causes too much confusion when used to describe movements like McCarthyism, the Tea Party, or Trumpism. These are not mass movements of the people hoping to make a more democratic society. Rather they are political factions of authoritarian bigotry, backed by the rich, and designed to protect aggrieved privilege. Trump is best described not as a populist but as an authoritarian bigot, a quality best seen in his callous response to the news that two men evoked his name when they beat up a homeless Mexican man. “I will say that people who are following me are very passionate,” he said. “They love this country and they want this country to be great again.”

    Excellent insight about the dispossessed: naive to think we can appeal to them or rely upon their better angels now after years of abuse.

    Yes, we are congruent on socialism and capitalism, always have been. (Now why can’t a reasonable man like you you come to your senses and admit that the thing-in-itself is a non-object, cannot be perceived or even conceived of – except in a negative sense?

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  • Good quotes, Dan.

    We need a credible plan to restore what was taken. A return to the past and all the old jobs back is the most astonishing con job on an electorate ever. This is to be expected of a billionaire reality TV personality whose fortune was essentially made by zero sum trickery rather than investing in a value adding business like steel making. I’m not even sure he understands why things needed to change since he was a teenager.

    A whole host of new businesses are possible, quite a few that can repatriate jobs from China, but dammit they’ll cool the planet too, so those aren’t going to happen.

    Bernie’s a realist and actually gets his kicks from thinking up real game changing solutions.

    (Because it can be modelled.)

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  • Phil

    Italian prime minister done. France is next. Right wing populism. Not just about refugees and terrorism. Why are all these people pushing their populist Trump-style agenda on the far-right, and why are they all anti abortion, anti spending, and Christian? It’s more than just fear of refugees, etc.; it’s nationalism too (thinly disguised bigotry) – which is usually oppressive and exclusive, leads, ultimately, to persecution and genocide.

    Could it be that the end-time (Armageddon) is approaching? Maybe I should repent. (Now you know how shaken up I am, Phil… To even say such a thing.)

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  • Dan,

    Nope. France is probably not next. Austria chose decently just the other day.

    In the US, though, this is a carefully managed rebellion of the disgruntled aiming low at other poor folk and out of harms way. We need the big socialist/equality arguments…but utterly free of dogma…putting the blame squarely where it belongs, with the thieves. Even amongst you outraged Americans I am failing to hear that howl against the kleptocracy.

    Smack, smack. Notice the source of the problem. Worry far less about the exploited pawns. They will be headless chickens for a while.

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  • I see that at least some places are taking action against discriminatory bigots!

    Malta has become the first European country to ban gay conversion therapy.

    The bill against the practice, which aims to “cure” a non-heterosexual person of their sexuality, was voted through unanimously.

    Under the new law, anyone who tries to “change, repress or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression” will be fined or even jailed.

    Professionals will face heftier fines of up to 10,000 euros (£8,450/$10,700).

    They could also be jailed for up to a year, according to Malta Today.

    The bill also enshrines in law that “no sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression constitutes a disorder, disease or shortcoming of any sort”.

    Malta was named the best European country for LGBT rights by advocacy group ILGA-Europe in 2015.

    Gay conversion therapy has increasingly come under the spotlight in recent years, but remains more popular in the US than in Europe.

    Its supporters claim it uses standard psycho-therapeutic and counselling techniques so people can change or reduce their “homosexual tendencies” of their own free will.

    But the World Psychiatric Association has denounced the practice as unethical, unscientific and harmful to those who undergo it.

    Two years ago, NHS England and the Royal College of Psychiatrists – along with 12 other organisations in the UK – signed an agreement which called it “potentially harmful and unethical”.

    It has also been banned on minors in several places in the US, including California and Illinois.

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  • Phil

    I posted a good “kleptocracy” article on another thread. (Scientists are Worried.)

    Phil, I fear that this is worse than we can imagine, and not just about income and the economy. They want to repeal the ACA, for example, and have no clue how to lower costs. (The ACA was modeled after a Republican plan.) An opponent of Medicare is in charge of Health and Human Services, a man (Carson) who thinks the poor are lazy, is in charge of Urban Development and Housing. Flynn was appointed to be in charge of National Security and he has tweeted fake conspiracy theories over sixty times. He is nuts. And so much more. Okay. Trump met with Gore, but why did he hire a climate change skeptic? Trump probably wanted to make his daughter happy. And why are his kids so closely involved with all of this? That’s weird and unprecedented. The voters made a big mistake. I fear the worst and hope for the best.

    You are not hearing the howl because the media (TV) is too busy making money and talking about minutiae. They are tranquilizing us and making everything appear normal. You have to travel in the thickets to hear anything like a howl. The voice of opposition isn’t good ratings. Whatever voice there is, who happens to appear on cable news, gets 40 seconds, tops. Then they break for a commercial.

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