Fascists aren't becoming more common now in Europe because of authoritarian policy choices but because of the power of investment banking and the ideologies they drive, which managed to turn relatively benign immigrant policy into more xenophobic practices.
There's anti-capitalism talk that just makes me sigh, and then there's anti-capitalism talk that makes my head explode.
I mean, from what I can tell the grim picture your average left-leaning Internet person has of investment banking ideologies is "money, money, money for me, screw everyone else". Not "screw some specific guys because of their ethnicity or skin color", "screw everyone". The more people you screw, the more money, right? It catches on specifically because it can be seen as a threat to you the regular dude just trying to make a honest living, as opposed to those foreigners most people don't really give a fuck about unless they're actively prompted to think about them (and then apathy resumes ten minutes later).
Xenophobia makes no sense whatsoever in investment banking. The more markets, the more opportunities. Nobody can afford *not* to go international these days.
So what's the big idea here? Investment banking caused the financial crisis, which caused people to lose their jobs, which caused heightened fears from foreigner competition, which caused xenophobia, so investment banking promotes xenophobia? Because holy shit that would be convoluted, as well as a gross simplification overlooking several factors and making the usual condescending assumption most people are impotent cattle unable of coherent thought.
I wouldn't be as arrogant as to blame the late rise of fascism worldwide on any particular thing I happen to dislike, but in my own country (France) I'm convinced the aggressively pushed politically correct rhetoric in the public space, as well as swift repression of debate, has played a significant role in rising extremism. Stop people from speaking their mind, and frustration builds up. Call them names while you hold their mouth shut, and frustration turns to anger. Especially as they see two thirds of their wages taxed by the State to pay welfare to "those same foreigners" they see burning cars, raping, robbing trains, and celebrating all of this with a smile as they get a mere slap on the wrist once they're caught.
Now's the part where someone misses the quotes, chooses to assume I'm really talking about myself and goes on to lambast me for generalizing foreigners. No, you hypothetical dumbass. I know those dipshits are a tiny, tiny minority. The people I'm talking about know those dipshits are a minority; but once you antagonize people, you raise the heat. "Turn the other cheek" isn't that popular even amongst conservatives. It's certainly not popular when you feel you've been slapped a dozen times in a row, and it becomes easy to lose sight "the other guy" doesn't necessarily have it better. I've seen friends of mine veering more and more towards the extreme right. Heck, if I'm being honest, I am as well. All said in a facetious tone during private conversations, but you can tell there's a slimmer of truth behind, exasperation lashing out. At this point if you value freedom of speech and free exchange of ideas in France it sometimes feels as if there's no choice but to defend terrible people; and I despise the left-leaning majority for forcing me into that position, thus, reinforcing this vicious circle. You don't get anywhere with censorship. You can't cure hate with censorship, and hate-filled censorship is the worst of both worlds. It only radicalizes people.
Last edited by Phml on 06-14-13 at 13:24