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The European right is not unhinged as its American counterpart, but it has scary authoritarian and xenophobic instincts.

On the economy, however, the claim is true: there is no left/right divide any more. Ideologically there seems to be no alternative economic paradigm ready to take over from what has been called the intellectual collapse of neoliberal economics.

But there is one aspect in which the traditional left/right divide can be said to survive, and that is solidarity as a value, which is really the distinguishing feature. The right doesn't do solidarity, they do compassion if anything.

The Authoritarian/Libertarian and the various versions of Nationalism/Federalism axes are alive and well.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 30th, 2009 at 03:43:58 PM EST
Does the Right do compassion? Dave from Marketing is trying to pretend the Tories do, and for at least six months or so it's going to be possible to pretend that he's left of Blair.

But the Right famously does fuck-you individualism and stupidity, with a side order of venality, opportunism, and sexual perversion. Arguably the biggest difference between the Thatcherite and Reaganite right was that the UK press never properly explored some of the things that Thatcher's cabinet did in their spare time.

Which is one reason why we're left with an idealised image of seriousness, marred by occasional let-the-side-down types like Alan Clark, Jeffrey Archer, and Saint Aitken, who were all tragic and exceptional exiles from the moral high ground held by central office.

People in the 70s still remembered Profumo. Does anyone believe that kind of thing stopped happening in the 80s and 90s?

NuLab are likely much the same, but have somehow never quite managed to appear distinguished about it - more bumbling, small time, and a bit eBay.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Sep 30th, 2009 at 06:01:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I had that Edwina Currie in the back of the cab once....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Oct 1st, 2009 at 03:12:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the Right famously does fuck-you individualism and stupidity

In Britain, very much. Elsewhere, not necessarily. Especially Catholic-rooted conservatives tend to rail against individualism. But propagate "loyalty" and "duty" instead.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Oct 3rd, 2009 at 02:29:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But there is one aspect in which the traditional left/right divide can be said to survive, and that is solidarity as a value, which is really the distinguishing feature.

Some European right-wing parties do subscribe to solidarity, too. However, only in nationalist terms; and all the same it is a cover for class war from above.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Oct 3rd, 2009 at 02:27:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some European right-wing parties do subscribe to solidarity, too. However, only in nationalist terms; and all the same it is a cover for class war from above.

The term "solidarity" as I have come to see it has little to do with the tactics and structure of most rightist parties, both European and in the US- Republicans. Class war? It's something more than that.

In the same way that Naomi Kline has found a good way to describe understandably the pattern of plunder that emerges from the neolib/IMF "structural adjustment" of as much of the world as the Freidmanites can get their hands on, Bob Altemeyer and George Lakoff help to illustrate the powerful human need of a major chunk of the population for a father-like maximum leader, and the semantic/psychological tactics that help the right's leaders to use this huge army to promote their agenda.

Perhaps I'm naive, but when I think of "solidarity", I think of a half million students marching past Opera Bastille with signs that say, "We are the future of France. We are not expendable!"

Different sort of thing.


Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sun Oct 4th, 2009 at 06:08:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The term "solidarity" as I have come to see it has little to do with the tactics and structure of most rightist parties, both European and in the US- Republicans.

I don't know about "most", maybe true maybe not, but definitely not all. However, you live in Western Europe, where nationalism has been curbed even on the right, and where many far-right parties are also tax-cut populists. Further East and Southeast, you'll find lots of conservative parties that preach the community of the nation, and solidarity with fellow members of it. Even if these parties usually represent one elite or another that provately looks down on the masses of co-nationals and pursues economic policies hurting them. What was different from left-wing solidarity is the exclusivism: no solidarity with non-nationals or those branded traitor, and the prime occasion for a show of solidarity is in a nationalist conflict with other nationals.

I also note that in Poland, it's in the name: the present hard-right parties grew out of Solidarność.

Even for most West European conservative parties, the concept of national solidarity used to be a main theme in some form, and residual traces remain (f.e. even though German Christians believe in charity, too, the welfare state was started in Germany under the conservative Bismarck).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Oct 4th, 2009 at 07:44:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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