New horizons in change

The following two paragraphs are from World Review, an online magazine sponsored by New Statesman, a British publishing Company. It makes the case that conservative political forces around the world are drifting even further to the right and shredding centrist policies, allowing xenophobic and militaristic values to influence government policy. The American press is making the same case for US politics. Is this yet another tsunami of change confronting us in this troublesome century?

“. . . Just as central a place in histories of the Trump disaster must be reserved for those same, once-respectable conservative politicians who have enabled the president to whip up the chaos they now, finally, deign to criticise: the Lindsay Grahams, the Mitch McConnells, the Mike Pences, the Marco Rubios.

This pattern is not just confined to the US. Much has been written about the nationalist populist wave of recent years. Yet surely more powerful than any individual political victory by the populists themselves is the way they have co-opted and lastingly changed parts of the supposedly mainstream right (or threaten to do so). In Europe, conservatives in countries like Austria, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and France have adopted the language and tone of the hard-right. Old cordons sanitaires[1] have broken down, with extremists entering coalitions or otherwise cooperating with more established parties at local or national levels. Brazil’s hard-right president Jair Bolsonaro came to power with the help of the centre-right Brazilian Social Democracy Party. The turns towards authoritarianism in India, Turkey and Hungary have all been led from within established conservative parties.” [By Jeremy Cliffe, International Editor]

This is not the time in global history or that of the US specifically to introduce destructive social influences. At a time when technology, economics and global climate all face unknown frontiers of change that we can’t begin to define; at a time when collaboration, factual reality and common sense are the tools that are needed, will the future be achievable?

Ancient Mariner

[1] From French, a barrier designed to prevent a disease or other undesirable condition from spreading

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