The Right’s donkeys

Brexit has opened up a Pandora’s Box of tough questions long shelved by the Left under its myopic carpet. 52% in a 30 million vote opting against long-held delusions cannot solely be attributed to the Right’s propaganda machinery or the precipitous surge in global insecurity – both of which were indeed contributing factors.

The departure of Britain from the European Union, more than just an economic divorce, is a damning verdict against the Left’s thinkers and leaders whose socialist utopia and mirage of multiculturalism has been crumbling since the Soviet collapse, eventually culminating in Europe’s disintegration and the impending Trumpisation of America. And most of the credit for the rise of the Right all around the world should deservedly be given to the Left that has long tried to shield its inanely quixotic ideology from the merciless jaws of reality.

The biggest disservice that Karl Marx did to his ideas was to cloak them in the garb of science. Hence, ‘bestowing’ upon them the very monopoly of truth that generations in the Left have since had to vie for with the Right. This resulted in the communist Newspeak shaming any totalitarian state the Right had to offer.

It is this pursuit of abstract justice and equality, amidst global challenges not tangibly touched upon by Das Kapital or The Highest Stage of Capitalism, which created space for Austrian far-right Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer to being a 0.3% vote swing away from becoming the President in May – or France’s National Front winning big in the regional elections last year and looking set to topple the Francois Hollande government – or even Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) dreaming to recreate Nazi Germany.

The rise of Donald Trump in the US also owes itself to the Democratic Party abandoning its working class voters for the rising professional class. The Bill Clinton years redefined the party, which had by 2000 evolved from the hitherto flag-bearer of (economic) equality, to the custodian of Wall Street. The Bernie Sanders-Hillary Clinton schism has also been a struggle for the identity of the Democratic Party and the integrity of the political Left.

Whether it’s Donald Trump in the US or Marine Le Pen in France, the Right’s surge across the West has been founded upon three intermingled agendas: security, refugees and foreign policy. All three of these factors are centered around the ‘Muslim question’, which the Left has failed to answer honestly resulting in the less dishonest – and more simplistic – solutions provided by the Right being embraced as the Holy Gospel.

In the over two centuries that the political spectrum has been flanked by the Right and Left, the former’s rise has naturally moved in synchrony with the prevalence of insecurity. People are more willing to give up on their liberties when the state pays back security in exchange for freedom. It is the same transaction that resulted in the Saffron tide rising post Mumbai attacks culminating in Modi sarkaar, or AKP maintaining its stranglehold over Turkey amidst Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman fetishes, which in the past 12 months have been fueled by ISIS biting the hand that has, at the very least, patted its back from time to time.

The libertarians in the West have addressed the growing Islamic radicalism and the gruesome reality of the Islamic State by choosing to call a spade a cocoon. From debates over why the Islamic State, Islamic radicalism or Islamism should not be prefixed by ‘Islam’ to opting for their preferred Islam-prefixed word ubiquitously misused to deflect much needed ideological critique, the Left has failed the Muslims in the pitiful garb of protecting them.

When the ‘Muslim question’ was reduced to a dangerous binary between ‘Islam promotes terrorism’ and ‘Islam has nothing to do with terrorism’, amidst jihadists marauding around vociferously massacring people in the name of Islam, the choice for vote-banks all over the West became rather simple. That was because it is evident to anyone with functional senses that jihadist terror has at least something to do with Islam, and since something is a subset of everything and not nothing, people jumped aboard the Islam-equals-terrorism bandwagon. What further fanned the rightwing propaganda is the moderate and liberal section of Muslim communities consuming eons on the most irrelevant and inopportune debate: the divine perfection of ‘true Islam’.

The deliberation over Islam and Muslims today, more than being a battlefield over the distinctions of Islam, is about the future over 1.6 billion Muslims, a large chunk of which are oblivious to Islamic theology or don’t care enough for it. That the rising xenophobia against Muslims is called ‘Islamophobia’ and not Muslimophobia, shows whose future the Left seems more concerned about. Incidentally it is the same concern that earns more brownie points, the sole currency the Left has been dealing with vis-à-vis Muslims.

Both the Right and the Left are guilty of expounding the all Muslims-no Muslim binary. When honest reflection about extremism brewing in the Muslim communities, and valid concerns about refugee screening, are lazily lumped under the ‘Islamophobia’ banner, the insecure mind jumps towards the person selling walls and mass expulsions. That’s how genocides are sold and justified as well.

When the blame for every atrocity is thrust squarely on Western imperialism, demand for white supremacism increases. For, you can only sell self-hatred and ancestral guilt to so many people. Likewise when the Left’s multiculturalist mirage is founded on cultural inequality and soft bigotry of low expectations, the writing on the wall becomes that much bolder.

Brexit could instigate the second domino effect in a quarter of a century for the global Left dominated by ‘fools, frauds and firebrands’ – as Roger Scruton dubs them – that have been surgically detached from any form of empiricism or realism. The Left needs honest soul searching, lest it continue doing the Right’s donkey work for them.

Kunwar Khuldune Shahid is a former member of staffHe can be reached at Follow him on Twitter

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