Democracy

Fascism Has Always Been An Enemy of Private Property

The Left and mainstream political science identify Italian fascism and German national socialism as a right-wing ideology. Their motivation is clear — they do not want to be associated with regimes that brought civilization the horror and suffering of an unprecedented scale. The Left traditionally substantiates their point of view with two theoretical propositions. First of all, fascism and Nazism do not belong to the Left because those regimes did not institute total collective ownership on means of production as Marx prescribed. Secondly, nationalism and racism have traditionally been features of the Right, whereas the Left is perceived to be internationalist in nature.

Private Ownership in Name Only

Let us consider the first postulate about the failure of these regimes to carry out total socialization of private property. Thus, Stalin pointed out in his interview to American journalist Roy Howard, “The foundation of the [socialism] society is public property: state, i.e., national, and co-operative, collective farm property. Neither Italian fascism nor German National-‘socialism’ has anything in common with such a society. Primarily, this is because the private ownership of the factories and works, of the land, the banks, transport, etc. has remained intact, and, therefore, capitalism remains in full force in Germany and Italy.” That has been the notorious argument of Marxian socialists.

The great Ludwig von Mises attacked logical inferences of the Left by pointing out that in non-Marxian socialist regimes the private property was de jure allowed, but de facto the state was the principal owner of the means of production. “If the State takes the power of disposal from the owner piecemeal, by extending its influence over production; if its power to determine what direction production shall be, is increased, then the owner is left at last with nothing except the empty name of ownership, and property has passed into the hands of the State”, wrote Mises in Socialism.

Indisputably, his arguments authentically describe real economic affairs under these regimes. Indeed, entrepreneurs were deprived of the free commodity market, labor market, and international money market; the state established wage and price controls, and overall influenced all stages of production, distribution, and consumption. However, it should be recognized that Mises’s arguments do not find the proper understanding and effect in modern realities.

The thing is, the twentieth century was cracked by two bloody World Wars and the prolonged Cold War. Only a state can wage World Wars as it can gather and manage the necessary financial, economic, and people resources. Thus, for the last century, the state had been very firmly fixed in the economic sphere of society, and it reluctantly gave up its position. After all, many generations of people live in conditions where the state dictates the conditions of the economy. They do not even suspect that the state and the economy may have different relations. Contemporary industrial countries are guilty of conducting policies that resemble ones from the cookbooks of Italian and German governments. Indeed, the state has put in place various regulations that adversely affect the business and economy as a whole, including, among other things, control over the minimum wage, the establishment of social programs that are fueled by the substantial redistribution of wealth, and many other measures.

Mises pointed out that the state controlled the economic life, conducting various measures of coercion. He is undoubtedly right; however, the socialist regimes have utilized both methods: coercion and persuasion, and the latter occupied even more prominent importance. In contemporary settings, the outright collectivist indoctrinations in educational institutions became a primary form of persuasion.

Humans are the most adaptive species and easily affected by a skillful conviction. The majority of the corresponding population almost effortlessly accepted national ideas of fascists and Nazis. Gotz Aly mentioned in Hitler’s Beneficiaries that The Third Reich was not a dictatorship maintained by force. He gave a vivid example that in 1937, Gestapo had just over 7,000 employees, which sufficed to keep tabs on more than 60 million people. The vast majority of the population voluntarily subdues their thoughts toward ideas of the ruling party. Consequently, the population that underwent collectivization of mind eagerly supported any policies, including economic measures proposed by the government. German entrepreneurs were an integral part of the nationalist movement and did not mind accepting new game rules and enthusiastically took part in the social experiment.

As far as the “de jure-de facto possession” argument put forward by Mises, it is necessary to supplement it with the following propositions. If one owns the property, one should be able to control it. The reverse is also true: if one controls private property, one de facto owns it. It is easier and more effective to manage the property if one also possesses this property. Therefore, it was quite natural, that the fascist and Nazis states developed a tendency to become real owners, not only de facto but also de jure. The property ownership dichotomy “one owns, but deprived of full control – another one controls, but not owns” could not be considered as a stable paradigm. This construct had to collapse and be rested in the stable position – “one owns, one controls.” An ambiguity inherent in the “de facto and de jure possessions” would be inevitably resolved in favor of a stronger counterpart – a state. The history shows that the Fascist state was developing along this path. By 1939, Fascist Italy attained the highest rate of state ownership in the world other than the Soviet Union.

Therefore, the first argument put forward by the Left should be rebuffed along with the following reasoning. First of all, Italian Fascism and National Socialism belong to the Left as they are incarnations of the non-Marxian socialism that utilized collectivization of consciousness rather than the socialization of private property as the primary path toward socialism. Secondly, state control over the economy will ultimately lead to the socialization of private property, which will make the state de jure owner.

Nationalism Is Not Unique to the Right

The supposed exclusive nationalism and racism of the Right is a political myth propelled by the vicious leftist propaganda. It is known that the founders of Marxism were xenophobes that adhered to the Hegelian division of nations to historical and non-historical. The founder of revolutionary syndicalism Sorel was an ardent anti-Semite. Some currents of socialism preached outright chauvinism; others used internationalist rhetoric in order to gain political benefits. Moreover, nationalism was not a factor that divided the political spectrum into the Left-Right wings at the beginning of the 20th century. Instead, it was the attitude to property rights (or antagonism between capital and labor, in Marxian terms) that divided the political spectrum. Therefore, nationalism might be inherent in various political philosophies, in both the defenders of capital and the proponents of labor. No firm historical facts suggest that nationalism is a particular characteristic of the Right. On the contrary, as proponents of the free market, the Right promote an international division of labor and trade. At the same time, institutionalized regimes of the Left, including Italian Fascism and German National-Socialism, implemented an economy of national autarky.

Italian Fascism and German Nazism constitute anti-materialist, anti-positivist current of the socialist movement, which was extremely hostile toward ideas of Marxism and democratic socialism. Nevertheless, they shared a continuum bench of the socialist team. Communists occupy the extreme left, followed by the Social Democrats; the right flank belongs to fascists and Nazis — they are the right wing of the Left.


About the Author

Allen Gindler is an author with the Mises Institute.

Government Laws Are Not Contracts

Despite what you were taught in school, governance is ugly; in all forms, and at all times. Don't believe me? Attend a meeting of a local governing entity. You will find the council — omnipotent by vote, omniscient by delusion — seated before you at the table. All night long, they'll bicker and battle all the while proposing and dissecting plans and schemes with shouts and pounding shoes; Khrushchev moments indeed.

This is the reality of man lording over man, and it's been that way for eons. Ugly, just plain ugly. And it doesn't matter the span or purpose of the governing entity. This ugly reality holds equally true for the fist-fighting Taiwanese legislator as for the insult-hurling band booster. Power corrupts at all levels.

One other aspect of governance appears to be consistent at every level: the broader the scope of the proposed plan or idea, the further they reach beyond the stated bounds of the entity, the more receptive a hearing that the entity's council will give to the idea. Everyone dreams grandiose dreams, whether during solitary reflective moments or while monopolizing the public microphone. But it's the bully at the public mic, entertaining the media and sparse audience, whose dreams we must fear.

Given that these aspects are inherent in the essence of power, the issue is not how to improve systems of governance, but how to control their scope.

Because enforced contract law and full property rights are the foundations of freedom, governance systems should be based on enforceable contracts that defend property rights. The concepts of general welfare and public good have no place in such systems, as the intent of those ideals is to break contracts and trespass on property.

Governance — government — must be limited in a manner that is akin to a legal, binding contract, where rights are understood and unchanging. While a contract-based system will not change the ugly aspects of the lording class, it will limit the effects that the omnipotent and omniscient have on your pursuit of happiness.

The best way to compare the current systems of unbounded authority with that of contract-based systems is to attend meetings of a homeowners association and meetings at a local township hall. Both entities have documents that define the span and purpose of their respective assemblies, yet only the contract-based system shows any real restraint. Certainly, both dream of utopia, but only the homeowners association must accept the inherent realities of signed agreements.

In Ohio, townships can pass comprehensive plans and zoning codes in order to create orderly communities. Zoning codes are supposed to provide hard, fast rules akin to a written contract between community members with township officials acting as enforcers. Yet, zoning codes are perceived by the marginal vote getters and their appointed minions as something else entirely. In the hands of the township officials, zoning codes are, in the words of Barbossa from Pirates of the Caribbean when referring to the concept of parley, "…more what you'd call 'guidelines' than actual rules."

Consider this situation: You moved into an area that is zoned as a conservation district where developments are limited to 1 home per acre, with natural exteriors, and abundant green space. You desired to live in your neighborhood since it is within the conservation district, an area that meets the development standards you prefer. You had assumed that the zoning codes in place would protect you from development based on subjectively lower standards.

After living in your new home for a year or so, you catch a notice in the local paper that your township is considering a proposed development on the fallow farm fields and woods that abut your backyard. So, you attend the zoning hearings to see what will become of your backyard vista. At those meetings you quickly remember the prescient words of Barbossa.

The zoning commissioners are willing to trade homes per acre, natural exteriors, and green space for a donation of an offsite piece of land for a future community park or fire station. Sure, you hold the zoning codes — still in force — in your hands as if it is a contract to be enforced by the township, yet the zoning commissioners and township trustees see that document as the starting point for exactions and extractions; what the developer considers extortion by other means.

You can complain and shout, but the governance system that you have encountered has no consideration for your assumed contract. The commissioners and trustees only care about their grandiose plans for a utopian community. Your long-term vision of your local neighborhood, based on current regulations, just met their long-term vision of posterity; the one where future residents sing praises to the plans and vision of the current ruling elite.

Now, consider the homeowners association (HOA). Certainly, the same taste of power has corrupted the key players. They have dreams too, but their dreams are limited by the restrictive covenant that governs use of the property covered by the association. Sure, they send out a monthly newsletter with words of wisdom regarding how residents should live their lives, but they can't do anything about it. The concepts of general welfare and public good are not defined on the deed filed at the county offices as purposes of the association.

Now, I'm not saying that some residents will not suffer the occasional annoyance as HOA trustees hold the color pallet against your mailbox to verify the hue of the stain which you applied, but they can't change the usage of your neighbor's property from residential to commercial. Nor can they subdivide properties or dig up sidewalks. The HOA members have utopian dreams, but contracts limit their reality to mending fences and mulching entrance ways.

Other than showing excessive exuberance at times, the HOAs are typically indicted in the press when the singular property owner wants to turn his front yard into a memorial for the flag, replete with search lights and a continually repeating sample of Taps. What's worse, the property owner knowingly agreed to such restrictions prior to purchasing the property. The homeowner, attempting to trample on the agreement, is hailed as the last defender of Lady Liberty herself, while the HOA, defending its contract with all homeowners, is perceived as evil incarnate.

Such inconveniences and annoyances are nothing compared to the damaged resulting from unbounded governance. As you move up the governmental food chain, you will find that each subsequent level reaps more damage, more ills. At the federal level, it is as if no bounds exist anymore. Sure, the separate branches mention the Constitution, but only as a means to pervert its moral authority.

Some will claim that the Constitution is our written contract, binding rule of law, and restrictive covenant, yet its perversion would seem to imply that contract governments, whether constitutional public or anarcho-libertarian private, are bound to fail.

But, not so fast. For the private supplier of governance, the entrepreneur across the street offering a similar service is enough of a threat to keep private governing bodies in line.

On the other hand, the political class simply requires rumblings from the masses. Rumble, and they shall fear. Shout, and they shall bend. Scream, and they shall wither.

The ilk that sit at the head of the table, whether local, state, or national, are most concerned about keeping their power and status. These are not men and women of principles. They are simply power seekers. They will wither and do as told once this great nation says, "Stop! Respect the Constitution." They would rather flip and flop than risk the next election.

The ruling elite know this, that's why they utilize a coerced education system to perpetuate their nonsense. Yet, a simple booklet such as the comic version of Hayek's Road to Serfdom can turn enough minds to shake the tables of power. But, just because many have lost sight of "Don't Tread on Me," doesn't mean all is lost. A little more education, a stronger tug on the collar of the elected, and the direction toward socialism could reverse overnight.

So, whether your concept of government is constitutional public or anarcho-libertarian private, contract governments will work. They'll be messy, the public version will take conviction of the governed, but their scope will not creep onto your property and liberty.


About the Author

Jim Fedako is an author at the Mises Institute, business analyst, and homeschooling father of seven in Columbus.

Europe's Strength Lies In the True Diversity of Its Nations

When Britain decided to leave the European Union on June 23, 2016, shockwaves undoubtedly went through Brussels and Europe in general. The EU has, of course, been going through many crises over the last decades, and especially in the years of the euro crisis, dissatisfaction was high in many member states. But the fact that one of the largest and most important member states decided to leave the project outright was a precedent.

At first, Brussels was in a state of utter shock — for many, it seemed as if the end of the EU was nigh. The crucial question then was how to recover from Brexit. Which direction should continental Europe take without Great Britain, its old love-hate relationship which decided to exit?

For many, it seemed obvious that the time had come to make a U-turn, to do less in the future. After all, the British did not vote to leave because too little integration had taken place at the European level. The euro crisis seemed to be another prime example that the EU had gone too far. In addition, the migration crisis demonstrated the inability of the member states to find a common denominator even in the most urgent crises. Meanwhile, Eurosceptic forces were gaining steam all over the continent.

But in a shocking turn of events, the decision was taken in Brussels, initiated by Commission President Jean Claude Juncker and the newly inaugurated French President Emmanuel Macron, to stand up for the "ever closer union" even more enthusiastically. In times of populism and burgeoning nationalism, the moment would be now, they felt, to defend the European project stronger than ever.

To this day, an endless stream of ideas has been voiced on how this could be done, all of these ideas having been presented in pompous speeches in parliaments, at universities and on debate stages. They all had one aspect in common: there has to be more integration, more centralization in Belgium's capital. Because if Europe does not continue along this path, Europe would return to an era that no one wants to live through again.

How the Brussels elite and some heads of government drew this lesson from Brexit is not quite clear at first glance. Of course, politicians can defend the EU as much as they want by calling it a peace project and success of free trade and liberalism — hardly anyone will disagree.

But the EU was already all of that several decades ago. What Brussels has done since is far from it — and far from the ideals of liberal democracy. To talk about democracy would be hypocritical at this point anyway, ever since multiple referenda in which countries voted against more integration have been ignored since the 1990s. And whether a powerful bureaucracy in a city hundreds of miles away from most citizens is particularly democratic is also questionable.

The argument of economic dynamism has similarly been left behind. Further deepening and strengthening the common market and continuing to dismantle barriers has long been ignored. In the same way, free trade with the outside world has been increasingly forgotten. Instead, protectionist and regulatory aspects have increasingly developed. Successful companies are being penalized nowadays, while the Commission is trying to finance the Brussels apparatus - and of course the billions in agricultural subsidies and redistribution programs to southern and eastern Europe — at the expense of private companies and citizens.

The euro, described by prominent economists like Hans-Werner Sinn as a "historical error," has suffered an enormous loss in value thanks to the monetary policy of the European Central Bank. This has led to economic impoverishment of several countries and the erosion of personal wealth of ordinary citizens, and has created an artificial bubble, which at some point threatens to burst, through the ECB’s zero interest rate policy.

At the same time, the popularity of the EU among Europeans has hardly improved. It may be true that the EU itself as an institution is more popular than ever before. But the same cannot be said about the work of the Brussels elite.

In summary, it can, therefore, be stated that the integration attempts of recent decades have failed, to put it mildly. So why then do federalists, the advocates of a federal, united, Europe, think that all we have to do is to go even further in order to finally reach the turning point?

Listening to the federalists, it quickly turns out that for them, the EU is more than just a supranational organization for the coordination of individual states. For them, the EU is Europe and Europe is the EU. If one disappears, the other does so, too. If you criticize one, you criticize the other. They live for this project; the success of the EU is more important to them than anything else. One could almost say that they feel the "Pulse of Europe" — or at least they believe so.

In this sense, the federalists follow a strongly progressive view on the EU. For them, a united Europe, imitating the United States of America, is the final goal for achieving ultimate peace and prosperity in Europe. The nation-states are mere relics of the past, perhaps even the main reason for the great wars of the twentieth century, which made the EU necessary. Instead of counting on national sovereignty and identity, those concepts would need to make way — similarly to anything else that could prevent bringing about the end state — for something much bigger: a European sovereignty and European identity.

For this reason, obvious problems such as, for example, the euro are simply ignored. For EU fanatics, the euro is not simply a currency that has gone wrong. For them, it is a symbol of the European project and criticizing it would be tantamount to criticizing Europe in general.

Instead, increasing integration is the only way to stay on the "right side of history." The United States of Europe is the final destination — and the fastest way to get there is pursued, regardless of the obstacles.

But federalists have to finally realize — and one would think Brexit would have been a good enough reason — that their progressivist philosophy of the EU will end in chaos. Economic disasters are ignored because of an irrational (self-)infatuation. Opposition of member states and citizens has no meaning whatsoever.

In the case of the latter, fanatics will often bring up the argument that all this would no longer be a problem once a European identity has been created. The citizens of Europe should see themselves as exactly that: citizens of Europe, not of Germany or France.

And the federalists are right about this to a certain extent: for if people were to see themselves primarily as Europeans, centralization in Europe's capital would indeed be much less absurd and more readily accepted. But who in Europe really sees themselves first and foremost as Europeans? It is an incredibly tiny minority and consists largely of the Erasmus generation, i.e. those who, at the expense of their fellow citizens, went on a “study” abroad semester and celebrated for three months on a beach in Spain or Portugal with their new European friends and now believe that this would justify disasters such as the euro or tax harmonization.

Meanwhile, the Brussels elite is considering on a daily basis how to spread European identity among ordinary citizens. But this cannot be done from above - except through coercion. If a European identity ever comes into being, it must come from the citizens themselves. As long as this is not the case, federalists will have to accept the reality that Europeans do not share their enthusiasm for the abolition of their nation-states for a large European apparatus.

And there is nothing wrong with that. After all, one of Europe's strengths has always been its diversity. The former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher summed this up in her famous 1988 Bruges speech: "Europe will be stronger precisely because it has France as France, Spain as Spain, Britain as Britain, each with its own customs, traditions and identity. It would be folly to try to fit them into some sort of identikit European personality.”

This decentralization is, after all, a characteristic that has also always made Europe unique. For centuries, the greatest thinkers have wondered why liberalism and capitalism, with its subsequent prosperity, was to first ascend in Europe. There are enough answers and in reality, the right one is probably a mixture of many different ones. However, it is widely agreed that the Kleinstaaterei, i.e. the hundreds upon hundreds of small states in Europe, was an important reason and at the very least a precondition .

One story goes that this pluralism made it possible for people to move quickly from one state to another with borders so close, enabling European citizens to choose where to settle - something that today must sound familiar. This freedom of choice and the simplicity of quickly moving on created competition between states to offer the most attractive place to live. And because a policy that was as free as possible turned out to be particularly successful for people, there was an incentive for states to offer such a policy.

Of course, it is not only the ideas of individual liberty, decentralization, and diversity that existed for the first time in Europe over a longer period of time. Other ideas have also emerged in their present form on this continent and they represent the exact opposite, that of centralism, collectivism, and dehumanization. These ideas would be those which showed their ugly face — and the ugliest face of Europe — in the twentieth century.

Today, the EU has the choice of which side to choose, which element of European history it wants to propagate. It is certainly far from the totalitarian regimes of the previous century. One can assume - and hope - that it will always be this way. And, of course, none of the Brussels elite has any intention of going in this direction.

And yet, the ideas that federalists have today share the same basis, even if accidentally. They want to centralize decisions in Brussels. They increasingly want to prevent free enterprise from being free. They want to seal themselves off from the outside world. They want to create an identity which has never existed before. And anyone who opposes these plans needs to be vilified as a populist, nationalist, or any other empty, nonsensical insult.

The federalists may think that their vision of the "ever closer union" is ground-breaking and innovative. But the idea of creating a mega-state is not new — the fact that this idea is still being considered in the 21st century is a sad example of how quickly one forgets.

Were the European project come — or degenerated — to this, the EU would be doomed to failure. Either it would sooner or later collapse because of its own blindness or, because of ignoring dissenting votes, would cause an even stronger uprising of actual nationalist forces - and would, thus, potentially produce exactly what is most feared and the prevention of which European integration even began in the first place.

However, there is an alternative — and a European alternative anyway. It is a Europe that once again sees the benefits of decentralization and pluralism. It is a European Union in which free and sovereign nation-states come together to cooperate. A European Union in which economic freedom is promoted and trade barriers reduced. A European Union, with which the European countries can come together in order to interact more freely with the rest of the world. And a European Union that can provide security in times of crises, in times of war on its own doorstep and in times of terrorism, instead of failing in nihilism and by being distracted because of another great reform idea.

First and foremost, it should be a European Union in which all citizens have a voice - a Europe in which - as far as possible - decisions are taken locally, not far away in Brussels. Such an EU would produce the best Europe has to offer. It would be an EU that really secures peace and promotes prosperity instead of getting caught up in utopian dreams.


About the Author

Kai Weiss is the Research and Outreach Coordinator at the Austrian Economics Center and a board member of the Hayek Institute.

On China, America must resume its moral leadership

There is no official estimate of how many Chinese were murdered by the Communist Party in Tiananmen Square as part of its infamous crackdown. With more than one million Chinese now locked away in dystopian concentration camps, it’s possible that the number killed in Xinjiang by Chairman Xi has already surpassed those slaughtered in 1989. Tiananmen happened, and no level of Orwellian censorship can change that. What few seem to recognize is that it’s very likely to happen again. The real question is about how the free world will respond when it does.

The US response to the massacre in 1989 is a mirror image of today’s calls for “restraint.” There was some bluster, but just days after the bloodbath, President George H. W. Bush said, “Now is the time to look beyond the moment to important and enduring aspects of this vital relationship for the United States.” This “restraint” set the tone for the next thirty years of post-Cold War dictatorship apologetics and the current US-China quagmire.

I’m not saying that the US should start trashing strategic alliances — far from it. Badmouthing and levying tariffs on allies is far from strategic. However, pretending that the human rights abuses of friends and foes shouldn’t have consequences is just as bad. Policymakers must recognize that too much restraint in the 21st century is a strategic miscalculation. Dictatorships do not operate in the same way as democracies. Treating them as if they do cedes the high ground and weakens our own position in any number of policy areas.

It is nothing short of a miracle that hundreds of millions of Chinese have been lifted out of abject poverty in a relatively short period of time. But the Communist Party allowed the Chinese people to do that. The Party does not allow ordinary Chinese to protest, to believe the “wrong” things, or even to walk around without monitoring. If we won’t support the aspiration for freedom of well over 1 billion people, we should stop pretending it’s a priority. China has 5,000 years of history and we often forget that the Communist Party has been around for a tiny fraction of that. If China is to reclaim its historical place in world politics, it will be without the Party.

America can’t make that decision for the Chinese people. The almost reflexive response to human rights abuses has become to impose sanctions. But how well will we be able to rally other nations to respect sanctions against an economy close to the size of our own? Or against a Party that has turned North Korean sanctions evasion into an art form?

Our approach should be that of leadership and the generosity characteristic of free societies. The Statue of Liberty in New York was dedicated in 1886, a gift from France in the wake of the American Civil War meant to serve as a constant reminder of the shared value of freedom. In 1989, the Chinese people in Tiananmen Square erected an aesthetically similar statue — the Goddess of Democracy. America should build a monument dedicated to the memory of Tiananmen. It should have a characteristically Chinese style because the new statue should ultimately be a gift to the Chinese people when their government is ready to transparently address what happened thirty years ago. America must return to shining the light of opportunity and liberty for all the world to see, lest the darkness of dictatorship — and its associated poverty and war — creeps back over the world.


About the Author

Clay R. Fuller is a Jeane Kirkpatrick fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he focuses on authoritarian survival, corruption, and the means through which dictators, terrorists, and criminals use free markets to restrict freedom, sow discord, and legitimize their actions. He also collects data on the use of special economic zones and sovereign wealth funds in nondemocratic countries.

Nationalist trend dominates EU Parliament elections

Nationalism and the decline of traditional party politics has rapidly spread across Europe and culminated in marked influence for those who question the European Union’s overreach in all aspects of government, the economy, and personal freedoms.

In European Parliament elections held May 23 to 26, nationalist and Eurosceptic parties made enormous gains for the 751 seats. Establishment Christian Democratic parties, known as The Group of the European People's Party (EPP), were elected to 179 seats and 24 percent of the vote. Collectively, Eurosceptic and nationalist parties gained 175 seats and 23 percent of the vote overall, represented by the following parties and breakdown: 

ECR - European Conservatives and Reformists Group (includes Brothers of Italy and Netherland’s Forum for Democracy): 63 seats and 8 percent of the vote.

ENF - Europe of Nations and Freedom Group (includes Freedom Party of Austria, France’s National Rally, and Italy’s Lega): 58 seats and 8 percent of the vote.

EFDD - Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group (includes Alternative for Germany, Italy’s Five Star, and the United Kingdom’s Brexit Party): 54 seats and 7 percent of the vote. 

After the election results were revealed this week, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini of the Lega Party proposed the ENF and EFDD should merge to strengthen their influence in the Parliament.

Nationalist Highlights

Austria

Elected to 18 seats; 7 for Sebastian Kurz’s People’s Party (OVP) with 35 percent of the vote, and 3 for the Freedom Party (FPO) with 17 percent of the vote.

France

Elected to 74 seats; 22 for Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) with 23 percent of the vote, compared to 8 for President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche! (LN) and 8 percent of the vote.

Germany

Elected to 96 seats; 29 for Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) with 29 percent of the vote, with significant gains to 11 seats for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) with 11 percent.

Hungary

Elected to 21 seats; 13 for Victor Orban’s governing Fidez party and coalition partners with 52 percent of the vote.

Italy

Elected to 73 seats; 28 for Matteo Salvini’s Lega party with 34 percent of the vote, alongside 14 for governing coalition partners Five Star with 17 percent of the vote.

 Poland

Elected to 51 seats; 26 for the governing Law and Justice party with 45 percent of the vote.

United Kingdom

Elected to 73 seats; 29 for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party with 31 percent of the vote.

Turkey’s Erdogan – Friend or Foe to the West? Part 3

The Ottoman Myth

Is it the intention of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to restore, once again, the lost Islamic greatness and Caliphate through Turkish demographic domination of the European lands that the Ottoman Empire once held?

The Ottoman Empire was a Muslim state that existed in various forms between 1299-1923. It survived for more than 600 years, coming to an end in 1922 when it was replaced by the Turkish Republic and various successor states in southeastern Europe and the Middle East. When Mehmed II the Conqueror led the Ottoman Turks to seize the ancient Eastern Roman city of Constantinople in 1453, he ended the 1,000 year reign of the Byzantine Empire and its 800-year resistance against Muslim armies. The city is now known as Istanbul and marks the geographical crossing point between Europe and the Middle East. Because of its location at the point where the continents of Asia and Europe meet, Anatolia – Turkey – has been a major junction for people migrating or conquering since the beginning of civilization.

Once encompassing most of southeastern Europe to the gates of Vienna, the Ottoman Empire comprised of present-day Hungary, the Balkan region, Greece, and parts of Ukraine; portions of the Middle East now occupied by Iraq, Syria, Israel, and Egypt; North Africa as far west as Algeria; and large parts of the Arabian Peninsula. Ottoman domination revived the sentiment of lost Muslim greatness under the Islamic Caliphate, reaching its pinnacle under Selim I and his son Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century, when the Turk armies advanced through the Balkans and Hungary into Austria. Defeat at the Battle of Vienna, where victory would have allowed the Turks to conquer Europe unhindered, led the Ottoman Empire further into decline and they used the concept of the Caliphate as an instrument of statecraft as Europe gained economic and military dominance.

The Ottoman Empire lost key regions of land during its downfall when Greece won independence in 1830 after a revolt, the Congress of Berlin declared the independence of Romania, Serbia, and Bulgaria in 1878, and losing nearly all their conquered territories in Europe during the Balkan Wars in 1912 and 1913. The Ottoman Turks entered the First World War in 1914 on the side of the Central Powers that included Germany and Austria-Hungary and were defeated in 1918. Under a treaty agreement, most Ottoman territories were divided between Britain, France, Greece, and Russia. The Ottoman Empire officially ended in 1922 when the title of Ottoman Sultan was eliminated. Turkey was declared a republic in 1923 and the Caliphate was abolished in 1924.

The Ottoman Empire was replaced by a significantly smaller country simply known as Turkey and several smaller nations were born out of land in the Middle East, including the states of Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and the idea of Palestine. At this time, the al-Saud family, which seized Ottoman territory in Arabia and the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, began the region’s transformation.

Albania became an independent nation for the first time in over 400 years. The Armenian Genocide laid the ground for the more-homogeneous nation-state that eventually became the Republic of Turkey. The Turkish government denies recognition of the Genocide and contends that, although atrocities took place, there was no official policy of extermination implemented against the Armenian people as a group.

Turkey’s Erdogan – Friend or Foe to the West? Part 2

Revival of the Ottoman Empire

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was elected in 2014, is a proponent of Neo-Ottomanism, a Turkish political ideology that broadly promotes greater political engagement of the Republic of Turkey within regions formerly under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, its predecessor state, which fell after World War One in 1922. The ideology emphasises support from President Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) for increased influence of Ottoman culture in both foreign and social policy, which conflicts with the secular and republican nature of modern-day Turkey. The AKP use slogans such as ‘Osmanlı torunu’, meaning ‘descendant of the Ottomans’ to refer to their supporters. This underscores their efforts to transform Turkey's existing parliamentary system into a presidential system, prompting critics to accuse President Erdogan of acting like an "Ottoman sultan".

President Erdogan Islamist-rooted political empire was built on his successes as mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998, when he improved roads, cleaner water, and social support for the poor. Following the failed 2016 coup, the AKP reinforced its reputation for being anti-academic when an alleged 13,000 tonnes of textbooks were destroyed or purged of ‘terrorist’ content. On the first day back at school, students watched videos about the ‘triumph of democracy’ over the coup plotters, and listened to speeches equating the civilian counter-coup that aborted the takeover with historic Ottoman victories going back 1000 years.

Traditional Turkish foreign policy of the Kemalist ideology emphasized looking westward towards Europe with the goal of avoiding the instability and sectarianism of the Middle East, which Neo-Ottomanism shifts dramatically from. The Islamist AKP maintains support for the Muslim Brotherhood and many elements of its domestic and foreign policy has been perceived to be Pan-Islamist, a stark contrast against its intention to join the European Union (EU) of Christian-secular nations. At public rallies, President Erdogan makes a distinct hand gesture, with four fingers held high and his thumb tucked into his palm, known as ‘the Rabia salute’, which commemorates the killing of Muslim Brotherhood supporters by Egyptian military forces in 2013.

Turkey, along with Saudi Arabia, have traditionally served as the West’s chosen power brokers in the Middle East, but President Erdogan’s recent turn toward authoritarianism, such as the 2016 coup, and cooperation with Russia in Syria have strained relations with fellow NATO members. Some critics dismiss his belligerence as cheap electioneering, rather than a reflection of his global pro-Islam ambitions, claiming he maintains diplomatic and economic ties with Israel and the EU. However, President Erdogan expelled Israel’s ambassador from Ankara a month prior to the 2018 Presidential election.

Erdogan’s Imperialist Ambitions

President Erdogan considers himself to be a global Islamic leader who must begin by winning local elections at home, and he regularly picks fights with foreign governments, particularly ahead of elections. In 2017, leading up to a referendum to change the Turkish constitution, President Erdogan accused German and Dutch Ministers of being Nazis. One of his go-to tactics in election campaigns is to inflame issues in western countries to boost his popularity with Turks eligible to vote who live outside of Turkey. Ahead of the most recent March 31 election he chose to screen footage from the Christchurch, New Zealand terrorist attack at several political rallies in Turkey. He also projected excerpts purported to be from the gunman's manifesto onto a giant screen and told the crowd the suspect had made threats against Turkish Muslims. He regularly invokes the First World War battle of Gallipoli, when Turkish forces killed thousands of Australian and New Zealand troops, and warned anti-Muslim Australians that their grandfathers were “sent back in coffins” and that they would share the same fate if they visited Turkey.

Foreign leaders are frustrated with what they see as his meddling in their internal affairs. President Erdogan regularly inflames tensions with the EU by trying to hold political rallies with Turkish communities in Europe. He once called on Turks in Europe to have five children each as a rebuke to the “vulgarism, antagonism, and injustice” of the EU.

Leading up the 2018 Turkish election, President Erdogan addressed 15,000 supporters at the Olympic stadium in Sarajevo to say Turks, who were brought in as temporary guest workers in the 1960s and 70s but did not leave afterward, are discriminated against in Europe. He said expatriates serving in European governments had sought to undermine Turkey, and encouraged his supporters to become educated and work their way into power in those governments.

President Erdogan told the crowd, “The European countries that claim to be the cradles of democracy have failed, European Turks must show their strength to the whole world. You need to be in those parliaments instead of the ones who betray our country. Are you ready to demonstrate to the whole world the strength of European Turks? Are you ready to give the terrorist organizations and their local and foreign henchmen an Ottoman slap?

He attacked European countries for not allowing him to hold rallies on their soil, and said the Turkish state news agency, TRT, would expand its coverage in Europe to counteract the alleged propaganda against Muslims. President Erdogan also promised that expatriates who had obtained citizenship in other countries would still have their right to vote in Turkey. He bussed in his supporters from Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands to Sarajevo, some of whom told European news outlets that they saw Erdogan as “a world leader” despite the fact that he’s been “shut out from everywhere in Europe.”

Many of Germany's Turks have their roots in Anatolia, and for them, President Erdogan will always be one of their own since he hails from a modest, devout Muslim family like many of the first generation of guest workers who came to Germany from Turkey in the 1960s and 70s. General Secretary of the Union of European-Turkish Democrats (UETD) Bulent Bigli, who was one of the organizers of the Sarajevo rally, said second and third generation Turks living in Germany side with President Erdogan, and are especially angered over German news coverage on the coup instead of the President’s supposed victory of democracy over the putschists. These generations of Turks in German feel he is responsible for their strong feelings of national pride for their ethnic homeland and are referred to as "Generation Erdogan".

Turkey’s Erdogan – Friend or Foe to the West? Part 1

Repudiation of Democracy

In Turkey’s local elections on March 31, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost control of two major cities – Ankara and Istanbul – and won little more than 51 percent of the overall vote. Now, President Erdogan has ordered new elections in Istanbul and voters will go to the polls again on June 23.

Deputy Chairman Onursal Adiguzel of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), which won in both cities, said it appeared “illegal” for the election panel to annul the result, writing on Twitter, "This system that overrules the will of the people and disregards the law is neither democratic nor legitimate. This is plain dictatorship." The CHP won in the capital Ankara and Istanbul for the first time in 25 years, in a major setback for President Erdogan, who served as Istanbul's mayor in the 1990s. Ekrem Imamoglu was declared the winner and has taken up office as mayor of Istanbul.

Additionally, following a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the consequences of Turkey's plans to deploy the Russian S-400 missile defence system are worrying and NATO would want to avoid conditions where allies impose sanctions on one another.

 

European Parliament member and rapporteur Kati Piri said the decision to hold new elections had been made under pressure from Erdogan’s party, which alleged voting irregularities, saying, “Erdogan does not accept defeat and goes against the will of the people. This ends the credibility of democratic transition of power through elections in Turkey.” In November 2018, Ms. Piri submitted a Commission Report on Turkey to the EU’s Committee on Foreign Affairs advising formal suspension of negotiations for Turkey to join the European Union.

In 1987, Turkey, which is a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), applied to become a member of the EU’s predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC). Germany, France, and Austria admitted they did not support Turkey’s membership in the EU, citing concerns about the economic and cultural challenges of integrating a large, Muslim nation of 80 million people into the bloc. In 2003, Erdogan became Prime Minister and formal accession negotiations began in 2005. Since then, negotiations have stalled several times since 2010. In June 2018, the EU's General Affairs Council stated that "the Council notes that Turkey has been moving further away from the European Union. Turkey’s accession negotiations have therefore effectively come to a standstill and no further chapters can be considered for opening or closing and no further work towards the modernisation of the EU-Turkey Customs Union is foreseen." In consideration of Ms. Piri’s report, EU Parliament voted to suspend the accession negotiations in February 2019.

President Erdogan’s disavowal of democracy by demanding new elections reinforces the reasoning in Ms. Piri’s report. A state of emergency introduced following as failed coup in 2016 was extended seven times, eroding Turkey’s rule of law and the deterioration of human rights with the adoption of new legislative proposals that preserves many of the abusive powers granted to the President and the executive under the state of emergency. After the coup, more than 150,000 people were taken into custody in the post-coup crackdown and 78,000 arrested on terrorism charges. Those targeted were legitimate voices of dissent and members of the opposition. More than 50,000 people remain in jail today facing excessively lengthy pre-trial detention and judicial proceedings, though in several cases no indictment has yet been issued.

Since the introduction of the state of emergency more than 152,000 civil servants including teachers, doctors, academics, judges, and prosecutors have been dismissed from their professions. 125,000 people applied to the Inquiry Commission on the State of Emergency Measures (CoSEM), which reviews and decides within two years on complaints against measures taken under the state of emergency and related decrees, and 89,000 of them are still awaiting a decision. Ms. Piri notes the disproportionate and arbitrary measures curtailing freedom of expression, media freedom and access to information and condemns the closure of more than 160 media outlets and the large number of arrests of journalists in the aftermath of the coup attempt. During the state of emergency, a very large number of mayors and co-mayors in the South-East of the country, where the country’s largest minority of Kurds predominantly reside, were dismissed or arrested and that the Government appointed trustees to replace them.

The God That Failed…Over and Over Again

Why do so many of our university professors argue that socialism is a better way to peace and prosperity than capitalism? Because it is, to them, an article of faith. To admit that socialism has failed -- repeatedly, consistently and abysmally -- for over a century would be, for them, to deny their god. 

Theirs are the eyes of faith that cannot see.

Venezuela, once one of the wealthiest countries in Latin American, is now on the brink of economic collapse and political anarchy after two decades of Chavez/Maduro socialism.

Cuba has languished under the Communist Party of Fidel and Raul Castro, who promised free and open elections when they came to power. Sixty years later, Cubans are still waiting.

The Soviets tried for 74 years to build a socialist workers’ paradise, killing millions in the process. Their empire wound up on the ash heap of history, so broke that President Mikhail Gorbachev had to borrow a pen to sign the document dissolving the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Some nations experimented with socialism, then came to their senses and reversed course.

India followed the socialist line for the first 40 years of its independence. It was mired in inefficient state-owned enterprises and excessive government regulation. But the country then adopted market-oriented reforms, particularly in technology, that have produced the largest middle class in the free world.

Following World War II, Great Britain was nationalized from top to bottom by the British Labour Party. The resultant economic decline was so serious that Britain was routinely called “the sick man of Europe.” However, with the election of Margaret Thatcher as prime minister, Great Britain denationalized its basic industries and unleashed free enterprise which put Britain back into the first rank of economic powers. According to the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, the United Kingdom has “one of the world’s most efficient business and investment environments” -- a finding that would stun Karl Marx, who wrote The Communist Manifesto while living in England.

Why have so many Western intellectuals -- from George Bernard Shaw to Jean-Paul Sartre to Susan Sontag -- waxed so enthusiastic about Communism, even at its most repressive? Their sympathetic observations often border on the pathological.  

An English Quaker wrote that “the Communist view of human nature seems to me far more inspired by Faith, Hope, and Charity than our own.” Dismissing the existence of the Gulag, a criminologist asserted that in the Soviet Union, “the whole idea of punishment has been frankly dropped and the aim of reformation alone pursued.”

About the infamous trumped-up Moscow trials of the 1930s, which sent an estimated 1 million Communist Party officials to their deaths, the New York Times’ Walter Duranty wrote, “It is unthinkable that Stalin… and the Court Martial could have sentenced their friends to death unless the proofs of guilt were overwhelming.” Duranty was an early practitioner of fake news, writing there was no forced famine in Ukraine, although he had personally witnessed skeleton-like children and hollow-eyed women while traveling through the region.

Of China, where at least 50 million Chinese died in socialist experiments like the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, John K. Fairbank, America’s leading sinologist, wrote, “The Maoist revolution is on the whole the best thing that has happened to the Chinese people in centuries.” The reason for such blatant pandering? The professor did not want to risk being denied entry to the Middle Kingdom.

Author Paul Hollander has explained that such intellectuals avoid the truth because they are caught in “an intricate web of utopianism, secularization, and alienation, all of which breeds an abiding contempt for the West.” They find the God they need in Marxism just as the Marxist professors do in our universities.  

Yet some intellectuals who initially succumbed to the siren song of socialism managed to free themselves. Among the great writers of the early 20th century who joined and then rejected the communist cause were: the black American novelist Richard Wright, the Italian realist writer Ignazio Silone, the French Nobel Prize winner Andre Gide, the Hungarian novelist Arthur Koestler, the British poet Stephen Spender, and the American foreign correspondent Louis Fischer. They chose Communism because they had lost faith in democracy. It was a decision, wrote the British author and editor, Richard Crossman, rooted in “despair, a despair of Western values.”

Desiring an end to poverty and war, they turned to Communism only to discover that its promises were all lies. The words “brotherhood” and “freedom” were only slogans. Truth was whatever the Communist Party said it was. The very things for which these intellectuals had joined the Party were most endangered by the Party.

At first they practiced unswerving obedience to the socialist line, but their commitment was shattered by the 1939 Hitler-Stalin pact. Socialists condemned Adolf Hitler throughout the 1930s until the summer of 1939 when Joseph Stalin and Hitler signed a non-aggression pact. Immediately, all true socialists reversed course and hailed the agreement as a major step toward peace. It was, in fact, a grossly cynical deal that allowed the Nazis and the Soviets to invade and divide up Poland, precipitating World War II.

Scales fell from the eyes of the writers starting with the novelist Arthur Koestler, who wrote, “At no time and in no country have more revolutionaries been killed and reduced to slavery than in Soviet Russia.” After visiting the Soviet Union, Andre Gide said, “I doubt whether in any country in the world… have the mind and the spirit ever been less free, more bent, more terrorized over and indeed vassalized than in the Soviet Union.”

Writing in the mid-1930s, Louis Fischer said, “Nineteen years after the fiery birth of the Bolshevik regime, ubiquitous fear, amply justified by terror, had killed revolt, silenced protest, and destroyed civil courage.” He might have been writing about Venezuela or Cuba or China. It’s always the same with socialism and its ready tanks and troops.

Fischer reflects the anger and revulsion of his once-communist colleagues writing, “I see that I turned to Soviet Russia because I thought it had the solution to the problem of power… I now realize that Bolshevism is not the way out because it is itself the world’s biggest agglomeration of power over man.” The Nobel Laureate F. A. Hayek put it succinctly, “Planning leads to dictatorship.”

And the planners are always planning, trusting we will not notice what they are doing. It is therefore our solemn duty to call out socialism for what it is -- a pseudo-religion posing as a pseudo-science enforced by political tyranny -- a god that has failed each and every time it has been tried.


About the Author

Lee Edwards, Ph.D., is a Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought with The Heritage Foundation. He is a leading historian of American conservatism and the author or editor of 25 books.

The Truth About Socialism: It Doesn’t Care About the Middle Class.

Q: What did socialists use before candles? A: Electricity.

It’s an old joke, sure. But it’s no laughing matter. Just ask the people of Venezuela.

The socialist regime there nationalized the electricity sector a dozen years ago. Today, blackouts in the once-prosperous Latin American nation have become routine. Electricity isn’t all that’s in short supply. Gasoline is scarce in the oil-rich nation, as are food and medicine.

Meanwhile, the regime concentrates on violently repressing protests and burning humanitarian aid as it approaches its borders.

After 20 years of socialism, Venezuela is a failed state.

And that should surprise no one. Socialism is a rigid ideology that always ends in tyranny.

The prime example is the Soviet Union. Lenin and Stalin’s iron rule brought death to 20-25 million victims. “Enemies of the state” were executed by firing squads, sent to forced labor camps in the Gulag, perished in country-wide forced famines, experimented on in “psychiatric” hospitals, and summarily deported from their homes to the distant steppes of Russia.

No less totalitarian in their practices were the Castro brothers, who promised freedom and democracy when they came to power in Cuba. Six decades later, the Cuban people are still waiting for the first free election.

Socialism always promises progress, but it inevitably delivers scarcity, corruption and decay.

Eastern Europe under communism became a monument to bureaucratic inefficiency and waste. Throughout the Soviet bloc, life expectancy declined dramatically and infant mortality soared.

Upon gaining independence, India trod a socialist path for 40 years. It led to a never-ending cycle of poverty and economic deterioration. Finally, Indian leaders began looking to Adam Smith rather than Karl Marx to guide their economy. Today, it boasts the largest middle class in the free world.

Socialism has little regard for the middle class. It’s all about securing and maintaining power for the ruling class.

Consider the People’s Republic of China. Mired in Maoist revolutionary rhetoric, it was one of the world’s poorest countries for its first three decades. Then, Deng Xiaoping introduced “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

Forty years later, the PRC boasts the world’s second largest economy, but its citizens remain deprived of basic human rights and civil liberties.

The Communist Party does not allow a free press or free speech, competitive elections, an independent judiciary, free travel or a representative parliament. Instead, President Xi Jinping has instituted a cult of personality that rivals the one-time worship of the so-called Great Helmsman, Mao Zedung.

Nicaragua’s Marxist leader Daniel Ortega is another example of the lust for power and control that characterizes socialism. His under-reported reign of terror has resulted in the deaths of more than 300 dissidents in just the last few years.

All of these horrors are inevitable because socialism is built on a fatal conceit.

Modern socialists believe that the world has become so complicated, so complex, so globalized, that regular citizens just can’t manage things. We, and only we (say the socialists) are equipped to run things. Hence, for example, it’s imperative to nationalize health care, since “the little people” can’t be trusted to make intelligent, informed decisions about their health care.

Rather than empower the common man, socialists believe in empowering bureaucracy. In their minds, bureaucrats will always make decisions based on science and dispassionate reason – and make sure those decisions are implemented and enforced efficiently.

It’s an elitist, intellectually arrogant belief, and it’s dangerous. As Ronald Reagan noted in a long-ago campaign speech for Barry Goldwater: “Either we accept the responsibility for our own destiny, or we abandon the American Revolution and confess that an intellectual [elite] in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

In “The Road to Serfdom,” the Nobel Laureate F. A. Hayek dismissed the utopian dream of “democratic socialism” as “unachievable.” Why? Because it is based on the fatal conceit that a galaxy of bureaucrats can collect, analyze and direct the individual actions of 300 million Americans.

“America will never be a socialist country!” So President Trump declared last month in his rousing State of the Union speech. That should be the fervent prayer of all Americans who prize liberty and wish to live our lives our way.


About the Author

Lee Edwards, Ph.D., is a Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought with The Heritage Foundation. He is a leading historian of American conservatism and the author or editor of 25 books.

The Preferred Form of Populism

We hear a lot about “populism” these days. Conservatives often praise it, while liberals call it a threat to democracy.

This debate presupposes a common definition, but is there one? In fact, throughout our history, populism has surfaced in two very different forms.

Today, there is the populism of the Tea Party Movement — generally right and center-right, supporting Donald Trump. It is a populism that rebels against big government. “Leave us alone so that we can succeed (or fail) on our own” is its rallying cry.

The second form of contemporary populism is the populism of the Occupy Wall Street movement and Bernie Sanders voters. It stresses the equality of outcomes, rather than equality of opportunity. It is a populism that looks for handouts, whether it is forgiveness for college loans or reverse discrimination in the form of quotas and set-asides.

Neither of these strains is new, of course. Victor Davis Hanson of Stanford traces both forms back to ancient Greece, then down through the American Revolution (Tea Party) and the French Revolution (Occupy). The question is, why has their age-old clash been sharpened so much of late?

Largely, I believe, because of the vacuum created by the crumbing of the “Liberal International Order.”

And what is the “Liberal International Order?” It was a governing philosophy defined largely by the United States with a broad bipartisan consensus in the years following World War II. It helped guide the U.S. use of power in the broad service of freedom for Americans and for our allies. We shared a common adversary with our allies, a fact that held us together and even enabled others to jointly claim the patrimony of the Liberal International Order.

By 1989, however, with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, the old world came apart. The binding of Allies by the shared enemies of the Cold War disappeared. It was the “end of history.” Within a decade, we could “make the world safe for democracy.”

Alas, it did not turn out that way, at least not all the time: Rwanda (1994) still haunts those who clamor for interventions despite our inability and our unwillingness to intervene in all of them. And when we refused to intervene in any one of them, we were seen as disappointing and disrupting our shared commitment to the Liberal International Order.

Few bothered to examine the real effect of this new version of the Order on the safety and prosperity of America, our allies, and those who wanted to be our allies. At the same time, we were encouraged to “engage” with our adversaries, as if bringing them to the table would automatically cause them to adopt our system and beliefs.

Today, we are seeing the limits of the Liberal International Order which the world has outgrown. Not every nation nor every political entity is ready for admission to this club.

Should we talk with a resurgent Russia? Yes, but we should also realize the role of Russia in territorial expansion beyond its borders (Ukraine), and in areas outside its traditional interests (Syria). And we should recognize what Russia truly is: an economy the size of Spain based on an increasingly competitive international market for energy supplies, with a declining population, a powerful military and a large stockpile of nuclear weapons.

Must we deal with China, an emerging power that is certainly a disrupter to the old Order? Yes, even as we eye warily its “belt and road” efforts to achieve worldwide strategic expansion in economic terms, and as we denounce its bullying claims to the South China Sea as territorial waters in violation of international treaties and obligations of prudent, serious members of the international community, and as we and our ally in Taiwan confront a resurgent PLA Navy in the Taiwan Straits.

In short, the Liberal International Order has outlived its purpose. The world is thrashing around to figure out what will replace it. Small wonder, then, that we find big-thinking, disruptive, unconventional President Trump at the center of these debates.

The question is, whose form of populism will prevail? Judging by the alarm bells being sounded on the left, my bet is on the Tea Party.


About the Author

Edwin J. Feulner is the founder and former president of The Heritage Foundation.

Austria threatens to repeat history with its latest condemnation of Millennial patriots

Across Europe, the post-World War II consensus is breaking down as evidence of the European Union’s ineffectual coalition leads to the public’s increasingly clear and growing rejection of globalism. Yet the efforts of Europe’s political leaders to prevent a repeat of the catastrophic wars of the twentieth century are exactly what may cause conflict to return.

In 2017, the Austrian government came to power in the wake of the illegal migrant crisis. Despite being part of the previous government, the pro-EU Sebastian Kurz presented himself during the election as an engine of change for voters disenchanted with the political status quo. Mr. Kurz and his right-wing People’s Party (ÖVP), as well as his coalition government partner the conservative Freedom Party (FPÖ), were elected on a platform of defending Europe's outer borders, tougher immigration controls, quickly deporting asylum-seekers whose requests are denied, and cracking down on radical Islam. The ÖVP received 31.4 percent of the vote, a gain of more than 7 percentage points from the 2013 election, which Mr. Kurz described as the biggest jump in support in the party’s history.

At the informal Salzburg summit of European Union leaders in September 2018, Brexit and migration dominated the discussion. Austria emerged as one of the hard-line voices, rejecting a continental solution to migration as dictated by Brussels. Along with the Visegrád group and several other countries, Austria refused to sign the United Nations’ Global Migrant Compact last year in Marrakesh, which creates open borders and lack of immigration controls among signatory states.

Now, Chancellor Kurz is courting dangerous consequences with his authoritarian response and conflation of a donation made from the New Zealand terrorist to a pan-European, pro-European, and non-violent youth movement Generation Identity (GI). The Identitarian Movement is concerned with the rapid demographic replacement of ethnic Europeans in European nations by Islamic migrants from Africa and the Middle East. Chancellor Kurz doubled down after his public condemnation and a legally questionable search of the home and belongings of the leader of GI’s Austrian branch, Martin Sellner, when he demanded his Freedom Party coalition partners cut all ties they may have with GI and then announced any member or supporter of the Identitarian Movement is prohibited from employment with the civil service, including the military.

If his proposal is successful, entire occupational fields for supporters of the patriotic group would be impossible. For example, a career path in the public teaching profession, as a medical doctor, or in the government’s administration would be denied. Additionally, associations that are suspected of supporting or hosting the Identitarian Movement would receive no funding from the government. A reporting obligation of the state police to the state government is considered a guarantee. Previously, liberal federal Ministers had announced the creation of so-called blocking notices in security-related occupations. A few days ago, Interior Minister Herbert Kickl (FPÖ) announced he wants a closer look at the police to determine whether any members are sympathizers of the Identitarian Movement.

In a letter, Defense Minister Mario Kunasek (FPÖ) wrote that "political and religious extremism, no matter which side" has no place in the army, thus painting the patriotic Identitarian Movement without evidence or justification into the extremist corner. Yet beforehand, federal spokesman Michael Bauer said, "If someone belongs to a criminal organization, criminal offenses sets, then you can set measures. If this is not the case, then there is no legal basis." 

President Alexander van der Bellen, who hails from Austria’s Green Party, said a ban on the Identitarian Movement would not do much if it were even possible and one could only challenge Identitarians through political discussion. Mayor of Graz Mario Eustacchio (FPÖ) said he will only distance himself from the Identitarians "if criminally relevant facts exist". Upon Chancellor Kurz’s insistence, high-ranking FPÖ politicians distanced themselves from the movement and its activists, but Mayor Eustacchio emphasized that he saw "no reason to distance himself" and that the current accusations have "no basis" and therefore he rejects the ubiquitous "hysteria". In particular, he notes, there are no convictions against the group and the "basis of the rule of law" should be respected. The Identitarians were acquitted by the Court of Appeal of Graz in January of the charge of "formation of a criminal organization" so the "legal basis has been eliminated. No reason to distance yourself from something,” said Mr. Bauer.

For years Chancellor Kurz has openly expressed his views that Islam is incompatible with European civilization and his concerns regarding the demographic impact of mass illegal immigration from vastly differing societies in European nations. His latest attacks on a patriotic youth movement that is solely concerned with the preservation of its heritage and culture is a cheap tactic to gain easy favour from a collapsing and undemocratic European Union bureaucracy while ignoring the legitimate concerns of the citizens who elected him.

Chancellor Kurz has wrongly pointed to Identitarians as the villain responsible for the consequences of bad government policy and it has strategically backfired on him. By drawing attention to the Identitarians and their concerns, Generation Identity has now become well-known across Europe and beyond and garnered increased support. Identitarians should be the Chancellor’s natural allies on the migration issue and by attempting to unjustifiably criminalize and marginalize those who voice valid criticisms will only sow further frustration and discontent among Austrians. A conservative politician who showed great promise upon his election should know better than to play the failing censorship games of the left.

Netherland's Baudet says “there's a proper reawakening across Europe going on”

In an interview with German newspaper Die Weltwoche on March 25 in Amsterdam, Urs Gehriger spoke with Millennial leader Thierry Baudet who rose to victory in Dutch regional elections last week.

36-year-old Thierry Baudet is the founder and political leader of the “Forum for Democracy” (FVD, Forum voor Democratie). In the general elections of 2017 his newly founded party won two seats in the House of Representatives, with Mr. Baudet being one of the elected. In the provincial elections on March, held on March 20, 2019, FVD became the strongest party in the Netherlands. Mr. Baudet holds a Ph.D. degree in Law and has authored ten books, among them “The Significance of Borders” (2012), two novels, an introduction into Classical Music, and several collections of essays.


The Interview, Translated

Die Weltwoche: Thierry Baudet, you and your “Forum for Democracy” scored a great victory in the Dutch regional elections. Many media and politicians across Europe were taken by suprise. Did you expect that?

Thierry Baudet: Yes, absolutely! (laughs) I've always known that we were going to win!

DW: Were you expecting to win that big?

Baudet: Yes. I've always had faith in the Dutch people. I'm not surprised!

DW: What were the indications you would end up as the strongest political force?

Baudet: Well, we have of course maintained a leading position in the polls for a year and a half. We were basically already projected to win significantly. With a multiparty system, obviously, the success is always dependent on what the other parties do. You can either have one big competitor or several smaller ones. But to me, fundamentally, it doesn't really matter because I consider all the established parties as representatives of the same ideology.

DW: I don't see a fundamental difference between the classical Liberal Party (or whatever they call themselves), the Christian Democratic Party, the Labor Party, the Socialist Party and the Green Left Party. To me, all are basically the same. They are all representatives of the "liberal" or "liberalist" philosophy where emancipation of the individual is the ultimate aim. Maximum equality, maximum individual liberty. So, in one sense, we won. We're now the largest party. But if you add all the numbers of votes that all the other parties received, we're not largest, yet.

DW: Your party joined regional elections for the first time, and you won 13 seats.

Baudet: Yes. We've got 15%, now. But that's not the majority.

DW: Premier Mark Rutte needs to form a new coalition. Does he try everything to exclude you from the government?

Baudet: We don't know that, yet. I think they might try to encapsulate us, to control us by offering us some favors, some positions. And I think what they hope to do is gradually soften our viewpoints, our fundamentally different approach. That is at least what we're probably going to see in the coming weeks and months.

DW: Are you willing, under certain conditions, for a merger?

Baudet: We are willing to compromise for influence. We are very aware that we have a majoritarian system with proportional representation which demands a certain willingness to compromise. We've always said that we are willing to do so. But our position with regards to all the major questions of our time is not gradually different. It's fundamentally different. We represent a political philosophy that is fundamentally different. We want things that are contradictory to the political spectrum that has dominated the West since the French Revolution.

DW: Most of the media portrays you as the shooting star of populism, as a poster boy of right-wing extremism. What can you say about the program that you are promoting?

Baudet: We further what one can call an ‘Australian’ immigration model. By that we mean a fundamentally different approach to immigration. No longer are we going to look at how needy possible immigrants are of our support; we are going to ask ourselves if they are likely to contribute in a positive way to our country. We are very willing in terms of aid programs to support refugee shelters wherever in the world. We're very happy to help them there. But when it comes to immigration, to handing out passports to people, that is something that we're no longer going to make dependent on whether or not the person in question comes from a terrible situation at home, but from the answer to the question what he or she is going to bring to us. We have a fundamentally different approach to immigration from what was dominant in the West for the past several decades. We value the nation, our national identity, as a very important and very positive value that we need to protect.

DW: How do you want to implement this new immigration policy while you're a member of the EU?

Baudet: Well, that's why we want to leave the EU.

DW: After the elections, you said you won a battle. What does it mean for you to win the war?

Baudet: There's much more to it. I believe that aesthetically, for example, we've chosen the entirely wrong direction in the West. We've left tonal music behind. We've left realist or mimetic painting behind. We've left traditional architecture behind. I'm deeply opposed to the fundamental philosophical principles of modern architecture. I think it's fundamentally wrong.

DW: You want to turn the clock back?

Baudet: Absolutely.

DW: When did this train fall off the rail?

Baudet: I think one has to go back to the principles of the French Revolution which are equality, liberty, and fraternity. They have led to the two major emancipation movements — socialism and liberalism — and both are fundamentally flawed. The derailment, in turn, has come in waves. Modernism, a renewal of the radical elements in the French Revolution, which kicked in right after the First World War, set in motion yet another wave of mistakes. And then came the '60s. So, there have been several moments in the past two centuries.

DW: Socialism, liberalism... Where do you see conservatism in play?

Baudet: It’s the philosophy that starts from the understanding that we are paradoxical beings. We want to be free and, at the same time, we want to be embedded. We want to be individuals, but we also want to be members of a group. In a proper society, there's an equilibrium there, a delicate balance that has culminated in what we might call “the individual properly understood.” This reached its apex, I believe, in the eighteenth century, and was venerated in that great “swan song of aristocracy”, the nineteenth century. But now the individual has, of course, been “liberated” to an extent that we feel deeply atomized and unhappy. We don't know how to get back to the community anymore.

DW: The topic that shaped your world view is “oikophobia.” It is a term coined by your mentor, the conservative philosopher Roger Scruton: denying or hating your own culture. Is this what ‘oikophobia’ means?

Baudet: Yes. I think that under the influence of cultural Marxism, which started in the 1920s and became dominant in the 60s, intellectuals, politicians, artists, academics, journalists and, as such, the entire elite of our society have been bewitched by that idea. They came to believe that what stands in the way of utopia — whether a communist utopia or a liberal utopia — is bourgeois society, bourgeois traditions, the bourgeois way of life of ordinary people. That is why Le Corbusier wanted to destroy the entire Rive Droite of Paris. That is why all who opposed mass-immigration where denounced in the most vile ways. And that is why national identities had to be resolved into a “European Union.” Because, if you remember the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels considered those to be part of a bourgeois reality that hindered the formation of “true” loyalties between the laborers all around the world.

DW: “Oikophobia”: Is that a scientific term? Is there scientific research it is based on?

Baudet: It's a sociological term. I don't think that quantitative empirical research is very meaningful in the social sciences.

DW: You call yourself “the leading intellectual in the Netherlands”.

Baudet: (Laughs) I've said that many times!

DW: You're fighting the elite, and, at the same time, you are a crown jewel of the elite?

Baudet: Yes.

DW: How do you break a sophisticated philosophical content down to the common people, your electors, your voters? Do they understand what you mean to say?

Baudet: I think they understand that.

DW: They understand what you just said? That is pretty sophisticated.

Baudet: Yes. I think they instinctively understand that.

DW: When you speak to the people, how do you bring your message across?

Baudet: The same way that I'm now bringing it across to you. Of course, the exact wording and focus depends on the kind of audience that I have in front of me and on the kind of questions they ask. But I think, in general, people are very capable to get the point that someone is trying to make. And I don't think that all the misunderstandings that the newspapers fabricate resonate very strongly with the general people. Theirs is a kind of scholasticism. In the 13th century, monks would debate for years on end how many angels would fit on a needlepoint. These scholastic debates, that's what we have in the newspapers today. Like, “Is the speech that Mr. Baudet gave an echo of Italian fascism, or is it more like Francoism, or is it rather Germany in the 30s?” That kind of thing. The general public is like, "What?" They understand that all such comparisons are just ridiculous. They're making it up to show their fellow journalists how ‘righteous’ they are. The general people, they see someone who cares about their country, who has the intellectual inventory to fight the people currently in power.

DW: Before the interview, you said that you gave a speech in November 2016 praising Donald Trump.

Baudet: Yes. That was two and a half years ago. I met my fiancée on that day. It was just a week after he was elected.

DW: Donald Trump is known for very sharp and abrupt rhetoric. He's very repetitive. He's hitting the nail several times. When I listen to you, you are pretty much the opposite the way you are talking, the way you are expressing yourself.

Baudet: Despite that, I hope I'll be successful too. (Laughs)

DW: Well, you just have been amazingly successful.

Baudet: But I have been very repetitive too, my friend. Don't overestimate me. On our campaign trail I've been saying pretty much the same things, and I’ve been using the same examples over and over again for more than a year and a half now.

DW: Which are?

Baudet: The main themes of our campaign for the past elections were stopping uncontrolled immigration, fighting climate mysticism, and restoring purchasing power. Of course, we're going to have slightly different topics for the upcoming European elections. But, again, the main philosophy, and the main arguments, will remain the same.

DW: How did you succeed against this current hype of green environment politics?

Baudet: By just speaking the truth. I don't know how to answer this question in any other way. I simply declared I didn't believe in it. The green faith, in my view, is a heresy, it's a classical heresy, an immanent political theology. Mind you, it all comes down basically to a retelling of the Ark of Noah with an upcoming flood because of our sins, which we can then prevent by repenting. I believe that around the year 1000 we were caught up in similar fantasies.

DW: In general, conservative parties don't dare to say this. They go with the green wave.

Baudet: They are dhimmis. They submit to the parameters the left has set for acceptable discussion, for acceptable opinion. They succumb to the 'grand narrative' of their opponents. That's never a very smart thing to do. We, on the contrary, openly say that we are fundamentally opposed not just to their policy proposals, but also to their underlying assumptions. That's also why I don't say I want EU reform. and by the way I believe such reform to be impossible in the first place - David Cameron has clearly shown that. But we are not just against this or that aspect of the EU, this or that directive, we think the very philosophy that underlies it is wrong. The very idea that we should go beyond national identities and have some kind of “European” bureaucracy that manages our lives. Everything that is pertaining to the EU must therefore, in the end, be unraveled. The euro, the open borders, the common policies regarding fishing. The same is true for the whole climate change thing.

DW: You mean that the climate change is man-made, for instance?

Baudet: Yes. The whole thing is wrong. The whole thing about immigration is wrong, too. The parameters of the current political debate are fundamentally wrong.

DW: What exactly is wrong with immigration?

Baudet: The idea that we're all travelers, that we're all migrants, that we all come from Africa in the end and that therefore it doesn’t really matter how many of people we are now letting in to our countries. Or, take the idea that we have to admit people on the basis of some UN Refugee Treaty. That's just wrong. The whole idea is wrong. Someone obtains a right to be my fellow citizen because he or she is in a bad situation somewhere? I don’t feel that. I don’t think it’s true. I don’t want it.

DW: I've observed from the distance that you are on the offensive with a tremendous amount of energy and will. Where do you take your energy from?

Baudet: Classical music.

DW: Which one?

Baudet: Quite simply the entire classical tradition, from Bach and Mozart and Beethoven all the way to Brahms and Strauss and Wagner.

DW: Is there a certain type of music you listen to when you go in a debate?

Baudet: No, not particularly. But classical music has shaped my identity in a decisive way. It has shaped my aesthetic sensibilities, my philosophical outlook. I don't think it's possible to understand Europe and to understand the intimacies, the incredibly subtleties of the European spirit, without a deep understanding of European art. It's exemplary of the wickedness of the left and of the European Union, of liberal philosophy and globalist views, that they are so supportive of modern art and modern architecture, that they listen to pop music and propagate 'ghetto' lifestyles.

DW: You don't listen to pop music?

Baudet: Of course not. (laughs) It's impossible to listen to it!

DW: Not even Rolling Stones or Beatles?

Baudet: Well, I make an exception for the Beatles, but not for the Rolling Stones. The Beatles are the best fast food we have, let's say. But, still, it’s like a McDonald's burger compared to an actual meal.

DW: Aren't you fighting windmills with this attitude?

Baudet: Absolutely. I'm very much against windmills. I want all the windmills out of the Netherlands. Except for the old ones, of course. (laughs).

DW: But more to the point…

Baudet: Well, it's obviously true that the general public has always had folklore, and I don't expect 17 million people in the Netherlands to be able to reproduce the finer harmonic intricacies of Schumann's Piano Concerto. But society needs an elite that leads the way.

DW: Can you tell me what is at stake right now?

Baudet: Civilization.

DW: Western, Judeo Christian civilization?

Baudet: I'm not sure it's very relevant to add the adjective “western.” It's just civilization we’re fighting for. The good, the true, and the beautiful.

DW: But what are the pillars of civilization?

Baudet: Well, I think ultimately the aesthetic is the highest criterion. Our movement, like every political movement, is therefore also an aesthetic one. And true beauty, in my view, recognizes both the uniqueness of the individual, of every single individual in his or her individual life story, yet it also offers a language, a musical language or a grammatical language, or indeed a visual language, that implies a common frame of reference. So the problem of embeddedness, the problem of the modern world, you could say, is implied in the approach one takes to the arts.

The point of the several arts and crafts movements that arose in response to the industrialization in the second part of the 19th century, was that despite mass-production, and mass-society, and urbanization, and so on, we still need to feel embedded. That is why ornaments and facades, as well as the use of natural materials, were considered so important: they helped engender a proper sense of home for the spiritually homeless. The problem with modern architecture is that it emphasizes the ordinariness in such a way that it completely atomizes people. You can’t tell the difference between the modernist buildings in Brussels from those in Kuala Lumpur and Pyongyang. Nor can you spot a difference between the individual apartments or offices in each of those buildings: they are all completely interchangeable and that makes people very unhappy, I believe, because they become completely interchangeable individuals in their mass apartment blocks. People want to have a house that is theirs. Even though such a house may not be very specific, or very grand, it is still their house, their place on earth, ideally with a little piece of land around it, with a neighbourhood they connect with — in short, something that makes them feel that they belong somewhere, that they have a certain place of origin and are part of a certain destiny.

DW: How were you brought up?

Baudet: I grew up in an entirely 19th century manner. I grew up in a very old fashioned family.

DW: Normally, teenagers will rebel against their parents. Have you ever gone through that rebellious phase?

Baudet: No. And I don't agree that that's normal. I simply don't think it's true. All this “rebellion” has been a very specific historical phenomenon that occurred in the '60s and '70s and was induced by teachers from a very specific philosophical school — the Frankfurt School that disseminated Cultural Marxism — and I think it will be regarded by future generation with great suspicion. In my view, it is entirely normal for children to love their parents, to be excited at the prospect of taking up responsibilities and to have pride in being part of a long chain of ancestry and offspring. So, I don't think it's normal for youngsters to be “rebels without a cause” and listen to Bob Marley while cursing their parents. And what I think has happened is that the current generation — i.e. my generation — has copied (entirely in line with my view) their parent’s ideas, in this case, their flawed ideas about the necessity to rebel. But finding nothing to rebel against they ended up with nihilistic pursuits. Wanting to be loyal to their parents by rebelling they just started smoking marijuana.

DW: Can I perhaps raise a topic you haven't mentioned? I think there’s something your readers want to hear about.

Baudet: Please.

DW: We are witnessing now, throughout the West, so not just in Europe but also in the United States, the development of a new vocabulary of political discourse. The names or the labels that people are trying to find for it are populism, or conservatism, or nationalism, or whatever.

Baudet: In each country we see politicians and writers and pundits that are trying to develop a new approach to politics and society which includes the cultural narrative, which includes the national traditions and recognizes the shared heritage of our shared civilization, our shared Western world.

And the great thing about this is that the people are so happy about these new leaders who are speaking about completely different values, who are forcing the establishment to have a debate on completely different terms. That's what Donald Trump did by bringing up issues a pollster would say, “Don't go there. Don't go there.” And that’s what we did in the Netherlands by making opposition to climate policies our main electoral theme. The winning ticket is bluntly to say that we don't believe in their stuff anymore. That we want something completely different.

DW: It's a paradigm shift.

Baudet: Exactly. A paradigm shift. That's what's we’re in for. Whether we are going to win these elections or the next, we see it everywhere in Europe now and that's very encouraging. Also, that is why I am looking forward so much to cooperating with other European parties. I think there's a movement going on across European countries, across individual party-lines. Rather like Romanticism, or the Reformation. A proper European movement.

DW: What is it called?

Baudet: If someone would have told Voltaire that he was considered a leading figure of the Enlightenment, he would have laughed. He would have said, “Enlightenment? What are you talking about?”

DW: Can you define that movement a little bit?

Baudet: I have proposed to call it Renaissancism. That's the label that I sometimes use in the Netherlands. It's the belief in a reawakening of the European spirit.

DW: But what is the common ground of us in Switzerland, you in the Netherlands, and for example the Swedes. What are the elements that bind us together?

Baudet: Well, that's a very interesting question, of course. Is our behavior explained by nature or nurture? It’s an ongoing debate between social scientists and biologists. Is it because of genetic material or is it because of culture that we tend to respond to the outside world in our typical manner? The last word has not been said about this. What explains behavior? It's an interesting question, but I'm not a Nobel Laureate.

DW: What I'm looking for is a common source. Is it a way of looking at life? Is it an outlook? Is it a source that we all drink from? Is it an ancient culture?

Baudet: You seem to be looking for a simple answer, like saying it must be the Bible, or, it must be Plato, or, it must be Beethoven.”

DW: That's too simple for you?

Baudet: I know that a certain way of life has developed somewhere and I wish to protect it.

DW: Finally, let’s focus on the May elections. Will you change anything in your agenda and your campaign?

Baudet: I think the most important thing for the upcoming elections is to formulate our position as a positive one. We’re not merely against the EU; we are also for European values, European culture, and European cooperation.

DW: The European elections are about sending members to the European parliament. Why do you try to get elected to a parliament that you are actually against? Shouldn’t you boycott the elections altogether?

Baudet: Yes. [Laughs and looks to his assistant.] What should we answer to that question? (Then serious again:) What I like about the thing that's going on right now is this: because a new political discourse is emerging, we see radical changes in the political establishment in almost every European country. I feel deeply European, but not supportive of the EU. So, I see the EU platform, now, as a meeting ground for allies. I'm very excited that we are going to work together with people from France, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, et cetera.

DW: Have you already made contact?

Baudet: Yes. I've been in touch with people from those countries for years. It's not that we're anti-cooperation or anti-European. It's just that we don't think that we need a continental bureaucracy to manage our lives in every detail. And one of the most exciting and hopeful developments that I've witnessed in my entire life is this European spring that's going on. There's something new emerging and it's broader than just Europe. It's the West. We also see it in America, in Brazil, in Australia.

That's what I call a renaissance, or an awakening, or a gathering. Whatever term historians may find for it, I believe that we are part of a movement in the entire Western world that is going to change the direction that all our countries are going to take in the coming two generations.

DW: What makes you so sure about that?

Baudet: It's a hope.

DW: How do you get the maximum attention? Is there a strategy?

Baudet: No. I'm just being myself. I speak the truth, or even better: we are honest in our search for the truth. Our electorate understands that. We have identified a direction. We're pretty clear about certain parameters of it. We're very convinced that continental governance from Brussels is not the way forward. That mass immigration from Africa is not the way to improve our societies. And when it comes to something you asked about — what the defining characteristics of European aesthetics are, for example — we are happy to enter into an open discussion with others.

I think movements that have attempted to pin down aesthetic principles and have tried to force them on the outside world — like Fascism, for example — have totally failed. I mean, fascist architecture, to me, is very obviously missing the point, right? It shows that fascism is, at heart, a modernist movement. It's an oikophobic futurism, not a traditionalism. But all of this can be part of a conversation. And I think our voters feel that we are willing to enter into that conversation with them. To make a final point about Switzerland, what I admire about Switzerland is that, through the referendum system, it has maintained an ongoing conversation between the elites and the people. And that’s just great. That’s what I want for my country, too.

The Strange Death of Europe

The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam by Douglas Murray

The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam by Douglas Murray

First published in 2017, Douglas Murray’s elegant, coolly penetrating and devastatingly accurate portrayal of a continent committing suicide, The Strange Death of Europe, has become a huge bestseller. It is now required reading for anyone who wishes to think seriously about the future of our British and European homeland – and to begin to fight for its survival.

Douglas Murray himself has created many enemies among the liberal elite through his honesty and truthfulness, and they would love to dismiss him as a far-right crank, or even a ‘fascist’ or a ‘neo-Nazi’ – the usual way for the intellectually lazy Establishment to silence dissenters. But this is quite impossible – which is why he is such a powerful voice.

Educated at Eton and Oxford, the author of a distinguished biography of Oscar Wilde’s amour, Lord Alfred Douglas, and now a regular contributor to mainstream publications such as the Wall Street Journal, the Sunday Times and the Spectator (where he is Associate Editor), Murray is far too prominent a figure to be ignored, or silenced with slander. And his book, with its calm analysis, its pages of footnotes and scrupulously accurate facts and figures, is impossible for the cultural nihilists on the left to refute.

“Europe is committing suicide,” begins the book, “Or at least its leaders have decided to commit suicide. Whether the European people choose to go along with this is, naturally, another matter.

The critical seriousness of our situation is placed before us from the very start. Murray understand the European Disaster in all its complexities, and yet some simple, key themes emerge again and again. Europe has experienced a calamitous fall in native birth rates, at the same time as trying to ‘make up’ that population loss by the import of immigrants, largely from Africa and Asia, and largely from cultures so different to that of Europe – especially Islamic cultures – that they cannot possibly continue the Culture of the West. Rather they will, as immigrant peoples and assertive colonizers always do, bring their own culture in its stead, and destroy ours in the process. This is already happening, whether it is Europe’s new settlers demanding an end to free speech with a mixture of wounded feelings and violent threats, or actively pulling down the statues and monuments of our own ancestral heroes: Cecil Rhodes at Oxford, or even Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, as the African leftist Afua Hirsch has demanded.

Meanwhile other advanced countries have also experienced sudden contractions of population due to falling birth rates – most notably Japan – yet have managed things quite differently, without recourse to culture-changing, and finally culture-eradicating, immigration. There is nothing ‘natural’ or ‘inevitable’ about immigration to the West, as Leftists like to pretend.

Another key point that Murray makes repeatedly, is that this colossal change in European society has taken place against the will of the native people, whose rights and interests have been utterly ignored: a colossal, historic injustice, still barely discussed in public.

Well, Murray discusses it. He cites numerous polls from across the continent in which the clear majority of people asked, declare their opposition to mass immigration, Islamification, and to the idea that Islam can ever be ‘compatible’ with the values of the Western values. In 2011 and YouGov poll “found that 67 percent of the British public believed that immigration over the past decade has been ‘a bad thing for Britain.’” Only 11 percent believed it had been “‘a good thing.”’

On the other hand it would be quite impossible for pro-immigrationists, no matter how hard they searched, to find a single poll from the past sixty years in which a nation of European people ever once said, ‘Yes, we would like our culture and our people to become a minority in our own country.’

The very idea is preposterous. And yet it is happening. In London, Leicester, Luton and Slough, the white British are already a minority. Birmingham will follow very soon. It’s as if, says Murray, Britain’s politicians have said to the white British, ‘Get over it. It’s nothing new. You were terrible. Now you are nothing.’

The same story is being repeated across Western Europe. No wonder the electorate are so profoundly disillusioned with establishment politicians, and looking for new ones to support, who will actually do what they want. No wonder democracy is in crisis. Unwanted immigration itself, says Murray, has been ‘one of the key causes of the breakdown in trust between the electorate and their political representatives.’

Finally Murray is acute on the way in which in one sense – and it is painful but essential to admit it – those who despise today’s Europe, and seek to colonize it for the Empire of Islam, are not wholly wrong. Many aspects of Western popular culture aredespicable and decadent, having nothing to do with the West’s glorious heritage and greatness, and everything to do with self-indulgence, shallow hedonism and consumerist pornification.

‘To immerse oneself in popular culture for any length of time is to wallow in an almost unbearable shallowness.’ (A few minutes of watching Love Island will soon show this.) As an aside, Murray greatly admires the French novelist Michel Houellebecq, whose scathing, depressing but sometimes bitterly funny analyses of Western moral collapse have no equal among today’s novelists.

Had mass immigration from the Third World taken place to the West at some high watermark of our confidence and achievements – in late Victorian times, say – things might have gone differently. But the Victorians would never have permitted it, of course. Only weak, self-doubting nations permit such things. And it is a part of the tragedy of post-war immigration that it has taken place just at a time when so much of our most garish and most noticeable native culture is so contemptible.

But of course it is also true that many aspects of our new immigrant culture are also disgusting. When an 11 year old white girl is branded with the letter ‘M’ on her forehead to show who her owner is – by a man called Mohammed – and the British court hears that the branding was done “to make her his property and to ensure others knew about it,” then we are quite right to question the benefits of diversity.

This happened, says Murray, not in some Saudi or Pakistani backwater, but in Oxfordshire. The British Establishment then spent years ignoring it or covering up this hideous child abuse, and dozens more cases like it – while often preaching about gender equality and women’s rights. Meanwhile in 2009, Norway’s police announced that ‘all reported rapes’ in Oslo that year had been committed by immigrants. Every single one.

Celebrate diversity? To do so is, literally, to celebrate the rape of one’s own people.

This not of course to say that all immigrants are rapists: but in Oslo in 2009, it is a sobering thought, that all rapists were immigrants. If the culture of non-European immigrants runs along these lines, if women are regarded as mere chattels and objects of male ownership – as indeed they are – then why would we even countenance such immigration? No one’s rights are being trampled upon if we prevent it happening, if we say: ‘No more. You do not have a right to come and settle permanently in Europe, and we do not wish it.’ But many rights, our rights, are trampled upon if this catastrophic movement of peoples is permitted to continue.

Quite apart from wholesale cultural and then population replacement, there is terrorism, about which so many lies and obfuscations have been peddled by the complicit mainstream media. Murray reminds us that after the dreadful Paris bombings, 90 percent of the Muslim students in Brussels rejoiced and called the terrorists ‘heroes.’

In Britain, just after the terrible Charlie Hebdo massacre, a quarter of Muslims polled said they approved of violence against those who depict Mohammed (ComRes poll, 2015). The BBC then reported that three-quarters of Muslims ‘oppose’ such violence: typical of the way in which the corrupt mainstream media spins its fake news. The real news story here is that a disastrous one quarter of Britain’s Muslim population has so little regard for British law and ancient traditions of free speech, that they support the killing of anyone who departs from the rules of their religion. ‘The religion of peace,’ as we are so often told.

While Europe’s immigrant population grows increasingly and violently hostile to the host culture, the native people are gradually becoming more disillusioned. The foolish utopian dream of a happy rainbow Europe retreats ever further our beloved continent grows daily more ‘chaotic, fractured and unrecognisable.’

Europe’s political leaders, as Murray notes astutely, are currently reacting to this growing and disastrous gulf opening up across Europe, by treating not the primary but the secondary cause: ‘Their priority has been not to clamp down on the thing to which the public are objecting but, rather, to the objecting public.’

One sees this in action every day.

Toward the end of his superb book, Murray holds out some faint hope that, somehow, Europe may yet re-assert itself. For the West – that is, Europe and her successor states in Canada and the USA, Australia and New Zealand – is still great. Its heritage is quite unparalleled, its resources are there for anyone to draw on: its incomparable wealth of artistic treasures, great literature, its science and philosophy and glorious history – not to mention its generally under-rated economic and military power. The problem remains our leaders and their grip on power, so sunk in barely believable levels of intellectual dishonesty and moral cowardice, pathological self-hatred and a will to death.

For those who are ‘enlightened,’ who have as the saying is ‘taken the Red Pill,’ the world that Murray reveals, only confirms in superb detail and with brilliant clarity, the seriousness of our situation. Today’s identitarian activists are serious already – but still they should read, mark and inwardly digest this tremendous book, and pass it on to their friends with urgent recommendations.

We have already recognized that our contemporary culture is base and despicable, which is why more and more young Identitarians and Patriots are committed to the values of self-cultivation, self-improvement, and trying to make themselves worthy of the achievements of their honoured European ancestors – whether it’s throwing weights around in the gym, running up mountains, or reading and pondering Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

As Murray shows, we live in critical, dangerous and yet strangely thrilling times – one of those periods in history when there is everything to fight for.


About the Author

Benjamin Jones is Leader of Generation Identity United Kingdom.

Why the Berlin Wall Finally Came Down 30 Years Ago

The fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago was one of the most consequential events of the 20th century, exposing the Soviet Union as a corrupt, weak “empire” and effectively ending the Cold War. But it did not happen overnight.

The fall of the wall was preceded by decades of political tyranny and economic backwardness. By January 1989, there was scarcely a ruble’s worth of difference between a Third World nation and a member of the Warsaw Pact, the group of Eastern and Central European nations that served at Moscow’s pleasure.

While the West enjoyed prosperity and personal freedom, the East had fallen into an economic and political morass. Eastern Europe’s industrial sector was a monument to bureaucratic inefficiency and waste.

The once impregnable Iron Curtain was breached by modern communications and technology, allowing the people of Eastern Europe to see how the other half of Europe lived. Increasingly, Poles, Hungarians, Czechs, East Germans and other peoples demanded reform, not only in the marketplace but in the realm of human rights and civil liberties.

Described as a “year of miracles,” 1989 began with the dissident Czech playwright Vaclav Havel in jail and ended with him as the president of Czechoslovakia. But at the start of the year, Soviet influence from Prague to Warsaw to Budapest seemed secure. The East German communist boss Erich Honecker boasted that the Berlin Wall would stand for an additional 100 years.

Just 10 months later, on November 9, a tidal wave of East Germans poured across the West Berlin border when travel restrictions were lifted, and the Berlin Wall came tumbling down.

Part of the reason lay in geography. Although separate and distinct countries, Poland, Hungary, East Germany and Czechoslovakia formed a tight little region. Resentment, frustration and hope were all inevitable in this cluster of states with the deepest cultural ties with Western Europe.

Another reason was the abandonment of communism by communists. The communist leaders of Eastern Europe candidly acknowledged, “We no longer believe in Marxism-Leninism.” Without the glue of ideology, the communist façade of power and authority cracked and the people’s natural desire for freedom, dammed up for more than 40 years, burst forth.

A further reason for the slide of Soviet communism into oblivion was its inability to deliver the goods. When Mikhail Gorbachev was named the general secretary of the Soviet communist party in 1985, he took command of “a totally stagnant state dominated by a corrupt totalitarian party.”

Gorbachev must be credited for his decision not to interfere in the affairs of other communist regimes. The Soviet leader announced that he rejected the (Leonid) Brezhnev Doctrine, under which Moscow would take action if necessary to ensure that a communist state remained a communist state.

The leader most responsible for the fall of the Wall of course was President Ronald Reagan, who stood in front of the Brandenburg Gate in June 1987 and issued a direct challenge to the Soviets, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Barely two years later, it collapsed because of the Reagan Doctrine, which applied economic, political and strategic pressure (including the Strategic Defense Initiative) on Moscow. Democracy triumphed in the Cold War, Reagan wrote in his autobiography, because it was a battle of ideas — “between one system that gave preeminence to the state and another that gave preeminence to the individual and freedom.”

Lech Walesa, the founder of the Polish trade union movement that challenged the communist government of Poland and prepared the way for the end of communism throughout Eastern and Central Europe, put his feelings about President Reagan simply, “We in Poland … owe him our liberty.” As do the tens of millions behind the Iron Curtain caught up in one of the longest conflicts in history — the Cold War.


About the Author

Lee Edwards, Ph.D. is a Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought with The Heritage Foundation. He is a leading historian of American conservatism and the author or editor of 25 books.

Ideological Blindness on the Right and Left

Murray Rothbard had a law: intellectuals specialize in what they are worst at.

We’ve all known them: the learned historian who knows no economics but proclaims fealty to socialism; the economist who is brilliant at math but can’t stop writing about theology; the philosopher who has subtle views about Heidegger and Derrida but mainly spends class time haranguing students about the solution to climate change.

What is true for intellectuals is doubly so for politicians. Many people on the right side of the political spectrum have solidly reasonable views on property rights, judicial restraint, and cutting domestic spending. But these days, many of these same people are obsessed with fomenting trade wars, making immigration hard, propping up foreign dictators, and stepping up the drug war. They are specializing in their worst features.

It’s the same on the left. Many of these people can be great on civil liberties, corporate welfare, and prison reform, but they spend the bulk of their energies on socializing medicine, raising the minimum wage, and pushing bad ideas like job guarantees. They too are specializing in pushing their worst ideas.

Why does Rothbard’s law pertain so often? It’s because people fall in love with their own heterodoxies and double down when their wrong ideas come under attack. Ideology begins to replace reality, and their focus gets ever more distorted. Once that ideology is lodged deeply in the mind, it takes control of all perceptions.

There is a scene in the movie Inception that explains how this works. Inception involves planting an idea in someone’s head, via an externally managed dream, in a way that misleads a person into thinking that he or she originated it. That’s when it becomes the most powerful guide to action.

“If you're going to perform inception, you need imagination,” explains a character. “You need the simplest version of the idea — the one that will grow naturally in the subject's mind. Subtle art.”

Once that idea has grown and mutated into a political ideology, to the point that it seems to explain events, it becomes almost impossible to dislodge. A crisis of faith becomes necessary before a shift happens. And that is not easy to achieve. The world can come crashing down around you and still the true believer will stick to their story.

We are surrounded by examples of this from both the right and left.

Protectionism

“I am a Tariff Man,” wrote the president in a now-famous recent tweet. The remainder of the tweet contained utterly false information about who pays. He believes foreigners are paying, when in fact a tariff acts as a domestic sales tax paid by producers and consumers.

What’s more striking is that this brazen declaration of loyalty to mercantilism comes after a year of utter failure in policy. Every prediction has turned out to be false. The trade war is not an easy win. We are stuck now with falling financials, suffering American companies, rising prices, broken trade relationships, falling exports, factory closings, rising trade deficits, and angry buyers of taxed products.

Cause and effect are notoriously difficult to trace in social science, but, at the very least, it should be obvious that the policy hasn’t worked to achieve its aims. Yet the more the evidence of failure mounts, the more the president doubles down on his mercantilist dreams.

And Rothbard’s law has kicked in. The president’s views are not all terrible. He has many of the right enemies. His 2017 efforts at tax cuts and deregulation buoyed markets. His judicial appointments have exhibited a much-welcome attention to constitutional principles. But where is his heart? What is his passion? It is all about disrupting international commerce through tariff walls and national economic planning. He talks and thinks about his trade war more than any other subject by far.

You might think that the events of the last year would shake loose one’s attachment to the protectionist ideology. You would be wrong. When the story of Trumpian economic policy is written, it will be about how great promise was shattered through fanatical attachment to mercantilist ideology, even in the face of unrelenting failure.

Climate Change

The same problem afflicts the left with its dogmatic attachment to the pop aspect of climate-change politics. If you read the scientific papers, you find what you would expect: a great deal of uncertainty on many aspects of theory, and certainly tremendous hedging on political implementation. Among true believers, however, there can be no dissent, even from the most implausible aspects of the idea.

Pretend you have spent the better part of 10 years at an island resort ignoring all news. You come back and pick up the New York Times. The news is terrible — or ridiculous. It’s hard to say. The editorial page says the following.

Governments are "pulling the world back from the cliff’s edge of catastrophic climate change.” That’s quite the job for governments that have yet to prove they can deliver mail better than the private sector. Now they are going to manage the global climate and stop the whole world from being delivered from a fiery hell into which industrial technology otherwise would plunge us? Indeed.

How is this marvelous and astounding achievement by government going to take place? Governments must "try to wean their citizens from fossil fuels," which would be a monumental achievement. Currently, 82 percent of all energy use derives from fossil fuels. By “energy use,” we literally mean everything in our lives: manufacturing all our food, giving us lighting, transportation, and communication. The whole of life as we know it.

How will governments of the world manage to change this? The Times says that governments should impose "measures that could help people of modest means transition to less-polluting transportation."

Let them ride bikes, in other words, as in Mao's China.

The agenda as stated here is so extreme and disruptive that many people dismiss it as typical political claptrap, not a real threat to our way of life. It is certainly true that even if we knew 100 percent that the science could prove that a climate catastrophe was in store, it does not follow that climate scientists (or journalists or English professors or even economists) know the way to fix it through government — or that it is even possible.

Still, the true believers are willing to act on their theories through state power, with no plan in place to measure costs relative to benefits. The dogma has become: industrial civilization must go one way or another. The first attempts to implement the grand agenda have gone horribly wrong.

The gas tax in France resulted in the worst riots in decades. The government was shocked. The culture of the climate-change clerisy had become so internally reinforcing that it had failed even to consider that regular people do not want to be pillaged in the name of controlling global temperature patterns, even if such control were possible.

These true believers have lost connection to reason and political reality, all in the name of an ideological commitment to some of the least plausible propositions to come from the left in many decades.

Both the center and far left have fallen victim to Rothbard’s law, as much as people on the Trumpian right. The rest of us are caught between two brands of ideological fanaticism that begin in a bad idea, deploy government power to realize the goal, and end as a grave threat to liberty and property.


About the Author

Jeffrey A. Tucker is Editorial Director for the American Institute for Economic Research. He is the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and eight books in 5 languages. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.

The Problem of Democracy

In his essay ‘Politics and the English Language’, George Orwell had this to say about democracy…

In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy…

This is the ‘problem’ of democracy that Alain de Benoist attempts to unravel in his work ‘The Problem of Democracy.’ What exactly is this elusive form of government that everyone claims to endorse and in so many differing ways? In many respects no man is better qualified to answer this question. de Benoist is the seminal thinker of the so-called European New Right (a name conjured up by the media), an intellectual movement that originated in the late sixties. A prolific writer of articles, books and journals, his interests have stretched from ethno-cultural identity and environmentalism, to Indo-European religion and a critique of capitalism. His intellectual rigour, respect for a free-exchange of ideas and disinterest in censorship has won him admiration from those on both the traditional Left and Right of politics.

de Benoist begins by suggesting that there are two fundamental ways of defining ‘democracy.’ The first uses an etymological approach. As many people are aware, the term stems from demos (the people) and -kratia (power, rule). In other words, it’s a form of government in which power lies with ‘the people.’ This is the prevailing approach throughout much of the world and, as a cursory consideration of the matter will reveal, it’s a hopelessly vague one. Instead, de Benoist suggests an alternative approach; an historical one. He contends that as the Greeks of Antiquity gave us the term (and the corresponding idea) we should look to them for answers.

Greek democracy had three principle features: isonomy (equality before the law, isotimy (equal rights to access all public offices), and isegory (freedom of expression). It was a direct form of democracy, in which all citizens could take part in the ekklesia or assembly. Citizens didn’t rely on ‘representatives’, they fully participated in the political discourse. Indeed, they were expected to as a part of their citizenship. Already, then, we see a stark difference between Greek democracy and the representative democracies of today in the likes of the Western world. The very term ‘demos’, which is of Doric origin, refers to people who reside in a given territory. This is the next crucial observation made by de Benoist. Greek democracy rested on the notion of citizenship which, in turn, rested upon shared ancestry, shared institutions and shared cultural practices. As de Benoist writes, ‘to be a citizen meant, in the fullest sense of the word, to belong to a homeland – that is, to a homeland and a past.’

With an almost ruthless and tidal analysis, de Benoist also confronts the notion that liberalism (understood in the classical sense) has no direct relationship with democracy understood in an historically. More than this, he challenges the notion that democracy is inevitable (as a product of linear history) or inferior or superior to any other form of government. He acknowledges that, whilst forms of direct democracy have always had a place in the European experience, it’s alien to other people and civilisations around the globe. He cites Moses I. Finley who wrote “It was that sense of community, fortified by the state religion, by their myths, and their traditions, which was an essential element in the pragmatic success of Athenian democracy.”’ He added, “in Greece, freedom meant the rule of law and participation in the decision-making progress, not the possession of inalienable rights.”

What ‘The Problem of Democracy’ really exposes is that the so-called ‘democracies’ of today share nothing in common with the democratic tradition of those who produced it; the ancient Greeks. But why should this matter? After all, the Greeks were organising themselves in small city-states in a radically different epoch with radically different challenges. It matters because human nature doesn’t change, regardless of the externals. Despite the romantic, melioristic ramblings of the classical liberals’ human beings aren’t simply ‘Individuals.’ We’re the product of an evolutionary discourse stretching back millions upon millions of years. A social species, we’re defined by our physical and cultural characteristics and a role and a place within an historic collective. This is why direct forms of democracy are so powerful. They’re predicated on participation. By participating in the political, in institutions and the culture that shapes them, we cease to be a social atom and find our place in the historical project that is our people.

Liberal democracies simply depoliticise society by creating a society of rootless, atomised ‘individuals’ driven solely by economic impulses. Our ‘participation’ is reduced to appointing alleged experts who then proceed to pursue self-interest uncontested until the next election. If the Greeks were right, the answer is simply a question of learning to govern ourselves as a people. No representatives, only delegates appointed by an ethno-cultural group cognizant of its roots and identity. This short book, or perhaps lengthy essay, is a must read for critics of the prevailing order, liberalism and globalism.

To conclude, a particularly powerful passage from its finale…

Democracy means the power of the people, which is to say the power of an organic community that has historically developed in the context of one or more given political structures – for instance a city, nation, or empire. Where there is no folk but only a collection of individual social atoms, there can be no democracy. Every political system which requires the disintegration or levelling of peoples in order to operate – or the erosion of individuals’ awareness of belonging to an organic folk community – is to be regarded as undemocratic.


About the Author

Benjamin Jones is Leader of Generation Identity United Kingdom.

On the Politics of ‘Demographic Bombs’: A Review of Kelly Greenhill’s Weapons of Mass Migration

Tomorrow Europe might no longer be European, and even black, as there are millions who want to come in” — so warned the former Libyan statesman, Muammar al-Qaddafi, during an official visit to Italy in 2010. Uttered as no idle reflection, Qaddafi’s statement contained, in fact, a not-so-veiled threat: unless receiving €5 billion per year from the European Union, the Libyan state would cease to prevent the crossing of illegal migrants from Africa. Europe, in his words, would run the risk of turning “black.”[i] Such instances, in which state actors seek to capitalize upon the potential or actual movements of populations, form the subject of Kelly Greenhill’s monograph, Weapons of Mass Migration: Forced Displacement, Coercion, and Foreign Policy, a worthwhile study for anyone concerned with the constitution and causes of migration patterns in the West.[ii]

With examples ranging from Honduras to Vietnam, Greenhill examines more than fifty cases in which “coercive engineered migration” was used as a means of achieving national ends, from diplomatic recognition and military assistance to monetary payoffs and debt relief.[iii] She finds that threats to detonate such “demographic bombs” occur at an average rate of about one per year—at least since the ratification of the 1951 Refugee Convention, which, through its “rules and norms regarding the protection of those fleeing violence and persecution,” incentivized the employment of weapons of mass migration (WMMs).[iv] Adopting stringent measures of evaluation, Greenhill finds further that the brandishing of WMMs yield successful outcomes in over half the analysed cases. Interestingly, democratic states are judged to be particularly vulnerable, not least due to their professed commitment to “universal norms and legal structures”:

Target states disposed to respond to a threatened influx with promises to forcibly repatriate unwelcome asylum seekers or simply turn migrants back at the border, for instance, may find themselves facing significant hypocrisy costs if they attempt to undertake such actions after having previously made rhetorical and/or juridical commitments to protect and defend those fleeing violence, persecution, or privation. Such moral contradictions are well recognized—and often quite deliberately exploited—by those who engage in this kind of coercion.[v]

In addition, Greenhill calculates that democratic states may be destabilized by the potential or actual use of WMMs through exploitation of their pluralistic institutions:

Not only do opposition parties in democracies tend to have strong incentives to criticize and publicize missteps by sitting governments, but they also face powerful political incentives to adopt positions that run counter to those embraced by incumbents, whether or not those policies are currently viewed as problematic…For instance, the opposition may contend that the government is “betraying a just cause and sabotaging the political rights” of a group of migrants or refugees or they may equally well claim the government “has sold out to the refugees [or migrants] at the expense of the nation itself.”[vi]

 Published in 2010, Greenhill’s book nonetheless may be used to shed light on more recent European events. More than three years after Qaddafi’s demise, ISIS forces in Libya reportedly threatened to send 500,000 migrants across the Mediterranean into Europe should the country come under attack.[vii] Just over a year later, the administration of Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, struck a deal with the European Union to prevent migrants from crossing the Aegean in exchange for a €3 billion aid package, the prospect of visa-free travel for Turkish citizens, and resumption of talks for EU accession.[viii] Migration was thence brought to a halt, at least until the following fall, when migrant flows to Greece surged, accompanied by threats from Erdoğan that EU member states had fallen short of their promises.[ix]    

Responses to threats of demographic warfare range from actual concessions—as in the case of Turkey—to counterstrategies of various types. Of the latter, Greenhill shows rightful reluctance regarding intervention in the internal affairs of foreign states, up to and including a changing of regime—witness the collapse of the Libyan state (and ensuing migrant chaos) following the murder of Qaddafi in 2011. She shows reluctance as well concerning the erection and bolstering of physical barriers to migration—a more questionable stance considering the relative imperviousness of the Hungarian border fence erected by Victor Orbán’s government in 2015.[x] A final option entails the actual acceptance of migrants, which, as outlined in a 2016 presentation by Greenhill, effectively says to the aggressor, “do your worst. Our people recognize the virtues of immigration over the longer term. We’re willing to pay some adjustment costs. Bring it on.[xi] This was, in effect, Britain’s response to the Ugandan president, Idi Amin, who in 1972 threatened the expulsion of Asian Ugandans while at the same time petitioning for military aid.[xii]

Although not addressed by Greenhill, one may note that Britain accepted over 20,000 of these migrants, the majority of whom settled in Leicester—a city in which they form, to this day, the dominant sub-group of a still-growing Asian community.[xiii] Over the same period, the “white British” portion of the population has shrunk, becoming, by the tally of the 2011 census, a minority in the city.[xiv]


About the Author

Christopher Franke is a London-based researcher and writer.


[i] Nick Squires, “Gaddafi: Europe will ‘turn black’ unless EU pays Libya £4bn a year,” The Telegraph, August 31, 2010, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/7973649/Gaddafi-Europe-will-turn-black-unless-EU-pays-Libya-4bn-a-year.html. According to The Christian Science Monitor, Qaddafi’s threat had yielded, if not €5 billion, than “a more modest €50 million deal.” Dan Murphy, “How the fall of Qaddafi gave rise to Europe’s migrant crisis,” The Christian Science Monitor, April 21, 2015, https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Security-Watch/Backchannels/2015/0421/How-the-fall-of-Qaddafi-gave-rise-to-Europe-s-migrant-crisis.

[ii] Kelly M. Greenhill, Weapons of Mass Migration: Forced Displacement, Coercion, and Foreign Policy (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2010).

[iii] Greenhill, ibid., 2.

[iv] Ibid., 3, 15.

[v] Ibid., 4.

[vi] Ibid., 61-62.

[vii] Hannah Roberts, “ISIS threatens to send 500,000 migrants to Europe as a ‘psychological weapon’ in chilling echo of Gaddafi’s prophecy that the Mediterranean ‘will become a sea of chaos’,” The Daily Mail, February 18, 2015, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2958517/The-Mediterranean-sea-chaos-Gaddafi-s-chilling-prophecy-interview-ISIS-threatens-send-500-000-migrants-Europe-psychological-weapon-bombed.html.

[viii] James Kanter, “European Union Reaches Deal With Turkey to Return New Asylum Seekers,” New York Times, March 18, 2016.

[ix] Ceylan Yeginsu, “Refugees Pour Out of Turkey Once More as Deal With Europe Falters,” New York Times, September 14, 2016.

[x] Kelly Greenhill, “Kelly Greenhill on Refugees, R2P, and Weapons of Mass Migration,” interview by Aroop Mukharji, Belfer Center, https://soundcloud.com/belfercenter/office-hours-kelly-greenhill-on-refugees-r2p-and-weapons-of-mass-migration?in=belfercenter/sets/office-hours. On Orbán’s border fence and the (grudging) acknowledgment of its success by Western media outlets, see, for example, Jim Yardley, “Has Europe Reached the Breaking Point?” New York Times, December 15, 2015.

[xi] Kelly Greenhill, “The weaponization of migration: implications for the EU and beyond,” a/simmetrie conference presentation, November 12, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FN52gOzD24.

[xii] Greenhill (2010), 298.

[xiii] See, for example, Janna Herbert, Negotiating Boundaries in the City: Migration, Ethnicity, and Gender in Britain (Alderhot, Hampshire: Ashgate, 2008), Chapter 1; Stephen Butt, Leicester in the 1960s: Ten Years that Changed a City, (Gloucestershire: Amberley, 2015), Chapter 7; “Uganda | Idi Amin | Asian Expulsion | 1972,” ThamesTv documentary, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-i0JVip9N4; and “Don’t Come To Leicester,” The Midlands Report documentary, 1992, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyopnoeWMvg.   

[xiv] See Stephen Jivraj and Nissa Finney, “Geographies of diversity in Leicestershire,” Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE), The University of Manchester, October, 2013, http://hummedia.manchester.ac.uk/institutes/code/briefings/localdynamicsofdiversity/geographies-of-diversity-in-leicestershire.pdf.

Government Is the Main Problem, Say a Record Number of Americans

Think of all the troubles in the world. Climate change. Student debt. Terrorism. Job insecurity. What’s the number one most mentioned problem, according to a recent Gallup poll? Government itself. Thirty-five percent of Americans put that concern above all others. It’s a record number, according to the pollsters who have been tracking this since 2001.

Not only that: there have only been a handful of times when any number one issue clocked in with this level of intensity: terrorism after 9/11, Iraq after the war began, and the economy after 2008.

When I saw the numbers, my first thought was that Democrats made up the margin of change. They don’t like the president. He drives them crazy. So it makes sense that they would more quickly name government as the leading problem — which in turn raises the question of why they would push so hard for government to exercise more power over our lives.

It turns out, however, that it is not movement among Democrats but among Republicans that is the most noticeable on the graphs.

Having Trump as their president in office, then, has not increased confidence in government. If anything, it has had the opposite effect, turning Republicans themselves against government as never before. But notice that the loathing is nonpartisan.

Other polls such as Pew Research report similar results, with only 18 percent showing confidence in government at all. This is down from 78 percent half a century ago.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that government is getting worse. It suggests instead a kind of rising consciousness about a problem that has been there all along, from Woodrow Wilson to Donald Trump. Government is the least effective way to solve any social problem. It overrides the capacity of people to deal with their lives and problems in a way that is manageable and adaptable. It creates bureaucracies instead of solutions, wastes resources while everyone else is trying to conserve them, and entrenches rules that do not pertain in a world of fast-paced technological development.

What these two years of political wrangling have shown us is something that will be unavoidable in the coming years. There will never be unified government, operating with a single goal, whether that proposed goal is a restoration of nationalism or the elimination of fossil fuels supposedly to save the planet. The vast gulf that separates the two parties, with extremes driving the ideological debate on either side, is what government now has to offer us. Which is to say: more division, more vituperation, more politics of dogs eating dogs.

Why not give up on the whole failed project?

And this makes it all the more strange that the no-confidence position is not being well represented in the intellectual sphere. Just this week, Russ Douthat writes about the new trend among those on the political right to come to terms with a big state and assign it the job of managing society toward correct ends. He calls them “state-power conservatives”:

If we assume that people tend to seek power, and devise justifications for seeking power, where it can be plausibly exercised and won, then the state-power conservatives may not need the strongest intellectual arguments to change the way the right thinks about the state. Instead limited government conservatism may give way to an attempt to improve on Trumpism with clearer blueprints and smarter cadres for the same reason that changes often happen in political ideology — because the people whose thinking is changing feel that they don’t have any other choice.

All told, it’s a pretty strange time for conservatives suddenly to decide they like government, and the worst imaginable time for the Left to celebrate the state as never before. Based on the attitudes of the public alone, we ought to be seeing the opposite from both sides. Here we have a measure of another problem, the alienation of the intellectual class from the problems as understood by ordinary people.


About the Author

Jeffrey A. Tucker is Editorial Director for the American Institute for Economic Research. He is the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and eight books in 5 languages. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.

Power of Bad Ideas: Why We Keep Choosing Failed Policies

It is not easy to change the economic direction of a nation state. Sometimes, like in former East Germany and present-day North Korea, a switch from central planning to the free market is held back by the brute force of the state. The people might know or “suspect” that life is better in neighboring capitalist countries, but are powerless to affect change.

But, what explains repeated experimentation with discredited economic policies in countries with a relatively high degree of political freedom? What, for example, accounts for Argentina’s periodic bouts of populism and the concomitant lack of curiosity about the success of free market reforms in Chile? And why do many South Africans favor catastrophic economic policies of Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe rather than trying to emulate the meteoric rise of free-market Botswana?

Bad ideas have a remarkable staying power. Statism, for example, keeps on reappearing – in different forms, but with similarly disastrous consequences.

To begin with, consider the examples of Argentina and Venezuela. The voters in both countries have recently rejected statist economic policies by voting for a market-friendly presidential candidate in Argentina and an anti-Chavez parliamentary majority in Venezuela. The electoral outcomes in the two Latin American countries were not completely unexpected. Peronism and Chavism have benefited from high commodity prices and shady electoral practices throughout the 2000s. In recent years, however, both countries suffered serious economic reversals and saw an up-swell in popular opposition.

But high commodity prices and intimidation do not explain all of Hugo Chavez’s and Cristina Kirchner’s popularity. These leaders had a true following and reached beyond those who benefited economically or were threatened politically. Who, after all, can forget Sean Penn’s, Michael Moore’s and Oliver Stone’s infatuation with the chubby Venezuelan?

Remarkably, the latest bouts of Peronism in Argentina (2001-2015) and socialist policies in Venezuela (1999-2015) came after the success of the Chilean economic model of development became apparent. Beginning in the 1970s, Chile has introduced many market-friendly policies, becoming the economically freest country in Latin America. As a consequence, Chile grew.

Consider that in 1960, Chilean per capita income was 66 percent that of Argentina and 42 percent that of Venezuela. In 2014, the Chileans were 24 percent richer than the Argentines and 63 percent richer than the Venezuelans. What was once a very poor country became Latin America’s richest.

I have spoken to a number of Latin American specialists who have noted that the Chilean experience appears to be of very little interest to the voters in Argentina and Venezuela.

In a similar vein, I have observed a curious lack of interest in the success of Botswana while living in South Africa and travelling to Zimbabwe. The three countries are immediate neighbors. For decades, Botswana had been economically freer than other African countries and became relatively wealthy as a consequence. Its rise from one of Africa’s poorest countries to one of Africa’s most prosperous has been meteoric. Yet South Africans remain unimpressed.

Since 1994, South Africa has been governed by a tri-partite coalition of the African National Congress, trade union COSATU and the South African Communist Party. The economic results have been deeply disappointing, though not outright disastrous.

The dissatisfaction with the ANC-led government has increased in recent years. Very few people, however, point to Botswana as an example to follow. The main beneficiary of South Africa’s economic woes appears to be a deceptively-named Maoist party called the Economic Freedom Fighters, which is led by a well-fed former ANC firebrand Julius Malema.

Malema’s heroes include the late Hugo Chavez and Zimbabwe’s nonagenarian dictator Robert Mugabe. Mugabe took over one of the better-run African countries and ruined it. By expropriating agricultural land and majority stakes many privately-owned enterprises, he presided over the second highest hyperinflation in recorded history and economic contraction that erased 50 years of economic progress.

Zimbabweans ought to be very interested in Botswana’s experience. South Africa has always been the region’s economic powerhouse, which imbued its citizens with a sense of superiority. Botswana and Zimbabwe, in contrast, started at the very bottom. But, while Botswana has prospered, Zimbabwe has stagnated. Between 1960 and 2014, Botswana’s GDP per person increased by an astonishing 1,935 percent. In Zimbabwe it shrunk by 3 percent.

It is true that Zimbabwe is no longer a politically-free country, but most Zimbabwe specialists would agree that Mugabe continues to enjoy considerable support in rural areas. Yet, in my travels to Zimbabwe, I have never encountered much interest in the actual policies that brought the Botswanan miracle about – even among those Zimbabweans who were forced by acute shortages to do their shopping in neighboring Botswana.

For decades, free market policies have been vilified and statist policies promoted by parts of the media and intelligentsia, and many politicians, in Argentina, Venezuela, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Ideas have consequences. One of the most consequential outcomes of the anti-free market propaganda seems to be the willingness of some people to ignore reality – at least for a time.


About the Author

Marian L. Tupy is a senior policy analyst at the Cato Institute and editor of HumanProgress.org