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Polarization spreads the bed for populists

It is remarkable that in the US there is hardly any opposition to Trump among Republicans. There is a high probability that Trump will run for president again in the next presidential election. There will be little opposition to this within the Republican party. If Trump is unable to stand for election because of the storming of the Capitol, there are plenty of Republicans who will continue his politics. According to the editors of The Economist (July 2nd), this unanimity is explained by an intense hatred of the Democrats that unites the Republicans.

The Economist points out that even before his nomination in 2016, it was already known how 'mean and corrupt' Trump was. According to this British weekly, the most important phenomenon of the Trump era is that, against all reason, millions of Americans rave about Trump. There is widespread paranoia here that gives a populist every opportunity, even to become president of the US. Previous populists such as Barry Goldwater and George Wallace have failed to do so. With Trump it worked because American society is more polarized than ever. Trump is the one who voices many's fears of a loss of culture and identity in a multiracial society. Trump is blaming the Democrats and all the left for this disaster. The excesses of leftist movements naturally contribute to this. A strong example of the latter is the call for 'Defund the police', just in time when crime in American cities is threatening to get out of hand. Another example is the 'Critical race theory', which has many parents revolting against schools that propagate this nonsense. A third example concerns the relentless struggle between abortion activists and pro-life activists. The Republicans' victory in the next election is obvious, thanks to all left-wing activists.

Left ideology is indoctrinated in education

In this article I want to look more closely at the effect of polarization in the multicultural society, because the same phenomenon is developing in Europe. In his book, aptly titled, "The drift: stopping America's slide toward socialism," Kevin Hassett, an economic adviser to the Trump administration at the time, argues that despite the fact that the US is still a highly dynamic capitalist economy with six percent economic growth, the seed for socialism is being sown. More children than ever are going to higher education and that is where left-wing ideology is indoctrinated. Soon the graduates will take up influential positions in the media, education, other social institutions and in politics. The left thus gains control over everything. That is also the root of the establishment's hatred of Trump.

The crux of the matter, according to Hassett, is that a socialist utopia is not realistic. Capitalism has more to offer. The more profit the companies make, the more productive the workers, the higher the wages become. After Trump cut corporate taxes, the number of poor people fell by six million. Income inequality also decreased, with those with the lowest wages benefiting the most. Unfortunately, many good results were lost due to the corona pandemic. The greatest danger at the moment is the diminishing purchasing power of the middle class. Under Trump's policy, this would have been prevented, according to Hassett.

The tax hike that the Democrats are introducing has already led to companies moving abroad and less investment in the US in the past. Ireland, which became a tax haven, experienced high economic growth as a result.

The right also offers a better alternative for climate policy. A carbon tax is a good thing, provided that other taxes are then reduced. Even for those who do not believe in climate change, the carbon tax is acceptable under this condition.

People are getting bolder and meaner in social media

Social media plays an important role in the increase in polarization. There's a relentless competition out there for attention. The people are therefore becoming bolder and meaner. In these circumstances it becomes more difficult to work together, to compromise and to recognize the good sides of the adversary. We also see in France that Macron's party can hardly count on any cooperation with the opponents. In Belgium, an impossible coalition has been formed to avoid at all costs the right to come to power. In the Netherlands, an originally right-wing party (Mark Rutte's VVD) carries out a left-wing agenda.

What can we conclude from this for the situation within the European Union? There is already a certain polarization within the EU between countries that previously belonged to the Eastern bloc and the rest. In the Netherlands, for example, we see how the nitrogen problem leads to, as described in the German press, a civil war. The time has come for a populist, but to my knowledge there is not yet a suitable candidate who can start a mass movement.

Activists are graduates who don't want to work

Can polarization be debunked? In order to answer this question, it is first necessary to investigate the causes of polarization. It is impossible to go into detail about this, but from the above it appears that economic factors do not play a decisive role. According to Hassett, it is more about power and influence. He refers to the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter, who emigrated to the US after the rise of the Nazis and became a professor at Harvard. Schumpeter predicted the danger from the left. Despite the successes of capitalism in the 20th century, socialism has come to the fore again and again because intellectuals are hostile to capitalism and because the universities produce too many graduates who do not want to work and have no real profession; these guys blame everything on capitalism and become activists for leftist illusions. Schumpeter also cited the weakening of religion as the cause. This leaves a void that socialism manages to fill. The left says what is good and noble and Marx predicted paradise. Finally, the loss of the nuclear family is also mentioned, as a result of which too much is expected of the state.

Hassett notes that thanks to social media, the power of the left can be broken. Trump's tweets have had a huge impact. School and university boards can be sued. The destruction by activists is shared on the internet. In social media, everyone tries to be the center of attention and to gain as many followers and likes as possible. One of the main means of achieving this is by distinguishing oneself from the others and presenting the differences as extreme as possible. The same processes also occur in politics. Here we see that parties that stand up for their own culture and identity and oppose the establishment are attracting more and more voters. The native population does not want to lose its power and influence.

As in the US, in Europe the left is pursuing an unrealistic utopia. The people with common sense understand this. The back-and-forth thus increases until society becomes completely polarized and successive governments are no longer able to deal with the most pressing problems.

What can be done about this? I think we should bite the bullet first. Untenable situations will arise from which the powerlessness of those in power will become apparent. It must become clear to everyone that the utopia of a multicultural society will lead to more and more misery, that Islam is incompatible with European civilization, that the European Union strives for a planned economy that, like the Soviet Union, leads to failure and the collapse of the union and that we cannot continue indefinitely with the immensely polluting agro-industry. In addition, there is a chance that the corona pandemic will continue and become very serious. In that case extreme measures will be necessary.

In the current period, people are constantly talking about all kinds of crises: climate crisis, nitrogen crisis, purchasing power crisis, healthcare crisis, housing crisis, energy crisis, immigration crisis, and so on. This accumulation of crises is not accidental and shows how close we are to an escalation. If we want to prepare for the eruption of all these crises without giving a populist a chance, we will have to develop a political movement that harks back to the values that have made our civilization great.

Note: In the penultimate paragraph of this article, I say that we must first bite the bullet. It is clear that at this time all kinds of tensions in several areas are escalating at the same time. That escalation will not be long in coming. However, it is unpredictable exactly what will happen then. There are already popular uprisings in the Third World. In the West we go on holiday en masse during these summer months. Will the hangover come in the fall?

I think an escalation is necessary. We cannot go on as we have for decades now. My hope is that people will come to their senses en masse. Everyone will cherish the family, the  broader family, the place where one lives. We will choose simple life, but rich in social contacts. Immigrants will also come to their senses and take responsibility for their countries of origin.

At the root of this movement and radical change of behavior is a new spirit that will wander over humanity. Like at the time of creation when God's spirit wandered over the waters (Genesis 1:2).

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   © Juliaan Van Acker 2022