When the ‘Far right’ label is applied, this should be the response:
If Giorgia Meloni is far right, then I must be too.
If saying no to vaccine mandates is far right, then I must be too.
If fighting for freedom of expression is far right, then I must be too.
If saying no to gender ideology is far right, then I must be too.
If defending the free market is far right, then I must be too.
If believing that people ought not to be defined by immutable charecteristics is far right, then I must be too.
If the rejection of open borders is far right, then I must be too.
If a hatred of communism is far right, then I must be too.
If seeing the value in traditions and fighting to retain them is far right, then I must be too.
So, if you must put me in this box, I’m more than happy to be there, but you’re going to need a f**king big one because there are millions upon millions of us.
The Left cannot win on the argument, they can only smear and lie. So when they screech ‘far-right’ the only response should be ‘yes’.
If enough do this then the contagion melts away. Takes courage of course.
This is true. Though it’s not sufficient to just say ‘I’m far right’ – In fact, this is to fall into the trap that they have diligently set.
A better strategy is to bring loud attention to the things that they preposterously call ‘far right’ and mercilessly mock them for it – only accepting the label once this ground work has been done.
Never let them frame the debate or the terms, for it’s their often free reign in this area that’s allowed them to make such headway.
Agreed, I was merely suggesting to take the sting out of the phrase. Lots of sensible people run a mile when the mud is thrown and that wastes a lot of time and energy.
“You call me ‘deplorable’ as if it were a bad thing . . .”
When they call you a “fascist” ask them to tell you what the word actually means. I guarantee you won’t find one in a thousand who knows.
ditto far right. I still don’t know what it means. The old left/right division is pretty meaningless in today’s world.
I agree. There seem to be only polarised left and right and many people regard their opinions as facts.
Too true. Confused with populism and nationalism
Only Communists can call someone a ‘fascist’. Fascists are any political group that is against Communism.
I call communists “fascists”.
Well then you also need to invest in a dictionary.
I call scissors shoes.
Cobblers. Absolute cobblers. The Liberal Democrats are “against Fascism”- are they Fascist? No, don’t be daft. Fascism is an ideology, a political movement evolved by Mussolini, in favour of the unquestioned power of the state just as much as Communism.
The ideological abuse of language is a particularly unpleasant vogue of out time, and you are exhibiting it. Invest in a dictionary.
Perhaps Mussolini can help here. He said, “Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato.”
In English: “Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.”
Much of what people call fascism is something else, and some of what people don’t recognize as fascism seems to fit the definition– for example the state allied with corporations functioning as state agents.
With our neo-Stasi FBI, the US leads the way out of fascism by using the state, as in arming the IRS with weaponry, to replace the unruly oligarchs with reliable, salaried, thuggery. Come on, East Germany wasn’t that bad.
…that’s the nutshell of things Erik.
Very well said. It’s a friend-foe trap. You could be either a good progressive or an evil representative of the far right. It’s like a swindler offering you loose-loose options. If you point out with rational arguments that a self-proclaimed progressive is supporting far-right authoritarian arguments, they call you fascist, islamophobic, colonialist, white supremacist, imperialist, etc.
Can we not reframe this simply as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in which case I am well to the right and the identitarian mob are far-wrong?
It’s better to be far right than far wrong.
I’m borrowing this …
No; they are opinions not facts and there are too many generalisations.
It’s a shame we place simplistic labels on complex issues which we may not fully understand.
I recall a great meme “Maybe maybe if everyone is far-Right to you then perhaps it is you who are far Left” illustrated by the end of a normal distribution Bell curve with far-Left being the, er, far left
It is not just courage, though.
Most people have families, careers and mortgages.
They are, quite rightly, afraid of lefty, woke cancel mob.
UK is in sort of late Communism scenario of Poland (and some other Soviet Block countries) in 70s and 80s.
Few people were killed, real enemies were given prison sentences and the rest knew that if they disobey prevailing ideology (communism then and now woke nonsense) they would lose career prospects, jobs or their children would be refused university places.
There’s a good article in there. Is this our reality? The outward conformity to laws we don’t respect, people losing jobs and careers for the wrong opinion, a sham parliament where there is no real opposition, an elite ruling class that keeps its wealth and power but claims to represent the masses whose quality of life steadily deteriorates, we could go on.
Remember how gays took possession of Queer? Same deal.
The problem with that is that far right is customarily associated with killing Jews, concentration camps and starting wars which most of us on the right are definitely not in favour of. The fact that many of the policies pursued by Mussolini and National socialism were much admired by FDR, a man of impeccable “progressive” credentials is disregarded.
The problem with that is that far right is customarily associated with killing Jews, concentration camps and starting wars
It is a problem, and, as I suggest, one that was created by allowing the left to define the terms and frame the debate. The distinction between centre / hard and far right has in many instances been successfully obliterated. To undo this – not to lose the argument (in the eyes of most onlookers) the moment one identifies as right wing – requires a demonstration of just how dishonest and unhinged the hitherto virtually unopposed framing has become.
The good news is this is a relatively easy task, since very many common sense positions have fell victim to the ‘far right’ accusation.
Quite correct. This is why the 20th century bogeyman was a jumped up Austrian Corporal with Charlie Chaplin’s moustache. The left framed the narrative what a tyrant was and, as a consequence, assorted communist and theocratic despots were quietly ignored and even openly lauded.
The US supported right wing dictators during the Cold War to “keep them from going communist.” Oppression comes in flavors, after all. Observe that no Protestant nation ever went communist, they told us. Used to living under the rules of the Vatican, Catholics were easier to ratchet up one more notch and give all their freedoms away. They said.
Racial persecution, mass deportations of people, concentration camps, gulags and starting wars are not limited to the “far right”. Soviet Union, China, …
Concentration camps (during covid) = Australia
Starting wars, since the 1930s = USA
not limited to the “far right”
As if National Socialism were “far right”! A framing invented by Soviets to distance their socialism from German and Italian brands. We must give them credit, worked like a charm. The whole world swallowed the label whole, and refuses to reconsider to this very day.
Nazi is short for National Socialist, Hitler proclaimed himself a socialist, as did Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro etc.
Why would anyone wish to identify with this lot?
Exactly, and that is why being called “far right”, in their own terms, should be categorised as a “Hate Crime”. But that is stooping to their lows and so the need to just smile and agree.
Great article and a good listing of everything I do and think about such matters. I raise my hand, (no, not a Nazi salute, just wanting to be recognized), to being far right. Nice to find company.
Exactly. Being far right is sweet
I like to say that the far left has gone so far off the rails that everyone else is being squeezed to the right to try and keep the train from falling off the track altogether…
I agree to all except free market, which is hardly free (few can afford good lobbyists, tax advisors, and lawyers) and subject to the common’s dilemma: free and rational choices could entail the depletion of commons. Some economist forgot to include natural resources in the equation, creating the impression that these are unlimited and that constant growth would be possible.
Slow changes are easier to manage, but only works if all agree to slow down production, which is very very unlikely.
Any thoughts or suggestions on this version?
Extreme Right v Extremely Wrong
If valuing the family
And the equal but complementary contribution
And value to children of mothers and fathers
If fighting for freedom of expression in the marketplace of ideas
If defending freedom of association in the marketplace
If respecting all religions not attacking some while idolising others
If saying no to loss of bodily autonomy to vaccine mandates
If saying no chemical experimentation on
And mutilation of confused kids before their brains fully develop
If believing that people ought to be judged by their character
Not the colour of their skin or other immutable characteristics
If the rejection of queue-jumping in hospital
Welfare and immigration queues
If a hatred of the twin evils of communism and corporatism
If seeing the value in tradition and conservation
Is extreme right
Then I must be too
Hits for ‘far right’ on Google come up to 87,400,000
“Far left” comes up with 18,700,000.
I would expect the numbers to be roughly the same unless contagion were applied routinely to one side. These results suggest manipulation is baked into what we read.
Here’s an exercise. Pick an article or medium sized paragraph and read it. Now, read it again skipping over all the adjectives. Did the message of the article feel different on the reread? The amount of difference you felt between the two readings is the amount of manipulation the author is applying.
Excellent observation. It is the adjectives that contaminate what might otherwise be an objective piece of reportage as anyone listening to the BBC can hear.
I hate men who rape underage girls…
…like the gangs of men in Rotherham, Rochdale, Huddersfield…
We need to take a stand against violence against women and girls…
…like the mass rape of underage girls by gangs of Muslim men…
I hate discrimination against people on the grounds of their race, colour and creed.
…like promoting people to increase diversity and discriminating against those who believe men can’t become women just by saying they are”.
”You’re far right”.
The list can go on because so many of the shibboleths of the left are dishonestly held.
The far left is the far right. Marxists, communists, and the woke are the true fascists who should be shunned by decent people.
Well said, Mr Craven!
Thank you Mr P!
That may be so now, but once Progressives are hounded out of the Left, they’ll find home back again at the Right, I’m thinking perhaps Curtis Yarvin will be a pioneer in there.
Identity is a commutative relation. If the far left is the far right then the far right is the far left, and the two supposed polarities share all their properties in common as per Leibniz’s Laws.
I had not heard of Curtis Yarvin, but have just been reading up on him, and consider his manifest obnoxiousness as amply corroborating this thesis.
A further corollary is that Marxists, communists, and soi-disant anarchists who pride themselves on opposing fascism are merely indulging in the Molotov-Ribbentroppist narcissism of small differences.
This is a great article Mary. Your observation of contagion is chillingly spot on.
It reminds me of Sadiq Khan who accused centrist citizen X very recently of being “extreme far right”. I wished I was there so I could ask, “Are you sure he’s only that Sadiq? Maybe he’s actually extreme-crazy-screaming-wahaha-doo-la-la-swivel-eyed far right. Have you considered that eventuality?”
On a side: I’m not sure I entirely agree with your conception of “progress” and “progressive”.
A governing faction of the left have deliberately attempted to conflate their ideology with the notion of technological scientific progress.
Since scientific progress is, by its conception, rational and underpinned by the scientific method, so using the word “progressive” makes a deliberately false equivalence between your beliefs and notions of scientific validity.
Who, in their right mind, after all, is against progress? Who would want to give up their motorcar in favour of a donkey? And so, who would want to give up the notion that sex is a construct and go back to the barbaric notion that X and Y chromosomes govern our sexual trajectory?
We must stop allowing them this term because it assists in obfuscating what they in fact stand for. More often than not they are not progressing towards anything, but rather attempting to regress to some previous time in which they can re-enact a once failed experiment, but this time with the slightly different conditions required to tilt the outcome towards utopia rather than genocide.
People who call themselves progressive are usually the opposite of it. The Newspeak translation of their actual belief system is ‘regressive’.
Indeed – likewise I don’t understand why people with a traditional view of biological sex have seemingly accepted the labelling of themselves as “gender critical” when they should be referring to themselves as “biology affirmative”.
Manipulating the language is part of the contagion mind game. “Far right” is simply a way of pretending someone’s policies will end in racial based murder, militarism and authoritarianism along the lines of the National Socialist party of Germany.
Conservatives who don’t want to follow down the authoritarian racial based and sex distorting lines of the self described “progressives” need to be far more careful in not accepting the manipulative adjectives of their political and social opponents.
These people are neither progressive nor liberal in the traditional sense of the word. Those who oppose the manipulation of language that transforms a man into a woman because he so self-identifies are not gender critical but simply unwilling to accept deliberate untruth. They are in favour of truth rather than a lie. Like the torturer in George Orwell’s 1984 the authoritarians of the left want the populace to be pummelled into accepting whatever untruth their party decides at any moment. Likewise the racist introduction of colour discrimination into public life in the name of diversity is described untruthfully as anti-racist. It is all about the 1984 manipulation of language by those seeking authoritarian ends.
They speak in riddles. I have never understood how someone deemed “Far Right” can be also slurred as a N*zi (ie National SOCIALIST Party)
Liberal artists can be gender critical but scientists affirm biology
Any better suggestions?!
StopOil would appear to believe that donkeys rather than cars would be progress….
We must stop allowing them this term
That’s not how language works 😉
PS Your reasoning is flawlessly logical, obviously & of course—just communication is anything but maths 🙂
In times of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
1984 George Orwell
“It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.”
Both quotes are equally true. Unherd is full of radicals. They just don’t think of themselves as such because the radicalism is of such a popular stripe it becomes denigrated as populism.
The thing i liked about this article was the way in which Mary re-framed the allegiances of Progressives as unwitting followers of the great god Commerce.
This turns the whole debate on its head, since Commerce is generally viewed with disdain by the left, bathed in their neo-Marxist sanctimony.
They’d be aghast at being cast in such a light, but that’s sticking their modus operandi right back at them. And with some truth behind it, a potent weapon to use against them when they try to play their Contagion game. Well done, Mary!
I agree – she deftly creates a groundwork from which to hoist the left-wing Tyrants by their own petard, which is will blow up just beneath their superficial frame of reference:
“The function of the great game of Progressive Contagion is making every possible counter-argument to the onward march of tech-enabled commerce intolerably low-status and radioactive.”
Her “counter-frame” is something like: if it is possible (due to available technology in the marketplace), and it will permit idiosyncratic impulses to be satisfied by any person within the moral context of autonomous, radical individualism, then it is morally good.
However, if you express any self-restraint of any animal impulses, then you are the enemy to morality.
The best thing in the article is how Mary (as usual) reduces the left-wing weapon to a game of “contagion” – victims are relegated to the socially “low-status.” In other words, it’s a childish game of asserting: “I am hipper than Thou”.
The question is, why do we crave being considered ultra-hip?
I agree. But the “contagion” label only sticks if it’s delivered by someone of sufficiently high social status. That’s the crux of the whole thing. That’s why the comments of celebrities can be effective.
And why celebrities who deviate from the progressive narrative at any point are attacked mercilessly.
I agree this is superbly written – I think she nails it here.
A number of Left wing academics, routinely describe Unherd as “far-Right”.
Well, a lot of the commenters down here are happy to do the same for themselves, so that’s pretty accurate. But the point of the article is that this is a political adjective with no real meaning any more, so who gives a monkey’s, anyway?
It may not have meaning, but it has consequences if you are labelled as such. Indeed, as it’s original meaning has become diluted, its currency in terms of damage to one so smeared has grown manyfold. Easy not to give a monkey’s if you don’t depend on an income from an institution where contagion runs unopposed.
You are right that it doesn’t matter how your opinions are labelled, but it does matter if your life can be made more difficult by colleagues or you can be dismissed from your job because of the label attached to your ideas.
“Far-Right” was well past its sell by date in 2017. What I think would be a more interesting discussion is, “what officially counts as ‘far-Left’ these days?” I mean there are plenty of old leftists who never changed a single political belief over the last twenty years who are now finding out they are “far-Right”. Where is there to go from here?
Being called “far right” these days has all the sting of being called a “sinner” by a Christian fundamentalist. It is only true believers who care.
Being a Christian nowadays gets you labelled as “Far Right” by people and institutions such as BBC etc.
That is a bit odd given that the church hierarchies are stuffed with woke thinkers.
Christian used to be the ‘silent majority’ back in the 80 and 90s when liberal was “the L word.” Pushing the silent majority to a position of ‘far right’ drags liberals over the center. So progressives emerged to fill the left slot, which due to the pushing, required they be really left or drown. Now there’s a far right, but not so much a far left in the nomenclature, as I mention below.
President Kennedy would be a right winger today. His ‘ask not what your country can do for you’ flies right in the face of modern entitlement. Does that push leftism even more to the left?
President Clinton too—he actually spoke the phrase “illegal aliens” in one of his speeches.
I agree. Now here’s a thought: with his undeniably rackety personal life, would the Good Friday agreement have happened had Clinton been our Prime Minister? I fear not. Our sanctimonious politicians and media would have hounded him out of office with triumphalist glee.
Clinton was/is simply evil.
But that’s just how the Americans say “illegal immigrants” isn’t it ?
Illegal aliens was/is the legal terminology for ‘undocumented migrants’ in the US. Clinton didn’t invent it.
Thing is, even using legally correct terminology over BS loaded woke terms like “undocumented workers” gets you labeled as “far right”.
We’re already deep into Humpty Dumpty territory here 😉
And you can’t trust that.
Humpty Dumpty wasn’t even an egg!
Good article as usual. I read that response in the LRB, and was so shocked by it that I had to read it again. Essentially, Shahvisi failed to engage with the substance an argument and seemed to think that saying “people I don’t like share your views” amounted to winning an argument: “if you don’t like the fact that you share a view with someone objectionable, consider revising that view”.
That was a genuine pinch-yourself moment for me.
This supposes that, to be ethical, we must all embrace groupthink, and must never think outside our bubble. That is, you can’t be pro-Brexit and anti-fracking. Or you can’t be anti-Brexit and anti-immigration. Or anti-abortion and an atheist. Or pro-monarchy and anti-Brexit. Essentially, all your views must come bundled by others, and your inner life must operate under an intellectual party whip. Once I hear your view on any one issue, I will then be able to predict exactly what you will think about everything else. You’re no more than a bipedal cliché-regurgitator for your particular narrow sect.
This is b/s. For instance, I subscribe to both the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph. I enjoy both ‘papers, and, of course, I am also annoyed by both newspapers, in equal measure. Life would be less fun if I didn’t disagree with them. My views are my views, apparently a mix of left, right and centrist, but the pursed-lips taxonomy of ideas by our modern morality police matters little to me. If a policy or opinion appears to stack up, I’ll have it. I don’t give a rap about its provenance. Just as I don’t care about the politics or worldview of an artists. Ideas are ideas – they stand or fall on their own intrinsic coherence. Purporting to discredit an idea by positing it as coterminous with the morality of one of its more notable proponents is an abdication of reason and a vote for the mob-rule of cancel-culture – and a de facto admission that the would-be traducer already has lost the debate.
Really excellent comment. My sole petty cavil is that I find the Guardian, like e.g. the NYT and Huffpost, completely unreadable.
Once in a while a comment hits me upside the head with its succinct, persuasive clarity. Well said.
“ If a policy or opinion appears to stack up, I’ll have it. “
Yes, but if it’s a ‘far-right’ opinion just don’t say it out loud or put it in writing if you want to keep your job, club membership and friends.
What’s called “far-right” now was called “conservative” twenty years ago. Opinions haven’t changed. The ones with an agenda have moved the goalposts.
It’s called the Overton Window.
There is no such thing as progress, there is only change.
Use of the word progress is an attempt to present change that suits them as good, while defining change that they don’t like as bad. As Mary says, every type of progress has winners and losers, therefore it isn’t really progress at all, just competing power agendas winning and then losing.
Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn in Leftism (free PDF on the Ludwig von Mises website) breaks down the insanity and hypocrisy of the progressive left in the best way I have ever seen.
“Socially attuned and morally ductile” is a phrase I won’t be getting over any time soon.
“How far-Right are you?”
For myself, I’m slightly to the right of Genghis Khan.
As a viscerally anti-woke Brexit-supporting Tory, I think of myself as moderately right wing. But when recently I did the political compass test, the result located me as pretty much dead centrist.
When I took that test, it said I was a libertarian leftist, which I am not. I’m an old-fashioned one-nation Tory. It doesn’t seem to account for my sort of traditionalist one-nation conservatism.
On the face of it, your one-nation Toryism – with which I’m in considerable sympathy – does locate you on the centre-right where I instinctively locate myself. On the other hand, we must both remember that traditional conservatism’s early proponents such as Burke and Carlyle were as critical of capitalism and the merchant class as they were of the prototypical communists of the French Revolution. So perhaps we’re a bit more left wing than we think we are.
I am worried about the ethnic British working class. So obviously I am neo-Nazi by virtue of being a “somewhere” and not an “anywhere”
A common enough phase but actually apart from a propensity to build pyramids of skulls of his enemies (like the allegedly not right wing Khmer Rouge) a practice that I presume you haven’t adopted, he seems to have been something of a liberal in the context of his times if this piece found on quora is correct:
“In fact, the Mongol Empire under Kahn’s rule and the rule of his successors was quite advanced and even enlightened in many areas. It was also technologically advanced. The printing press, blast furnace, compass, gunpowder, Persian and Chinese painting styles and various forms of Eastern poetry and verse all developed under Kahn’s reign before being imported to Europe. Kahn allowed for religious freedom in his realm, encouraged the free flow of commerce and trade, was an intellectual and he developed a body of law that actually reformed and improved many aspects of life for his people. Believe it or not, he was actually somewhat of an advocate for woman’s rights. He outlawed the kidnapping of women and declared all children legitimate, whomever the mother. He forbade the selling of women into slavery and said that women of a certain age could not marry without their consent. He created courts to hear cases, kept records of their proceedings and gave the court officials the power to both render and commute death sentences. As mentioned people could worship as they choose and Islam, Christianity and Buddhism all grew under his reign(Judaism was non-existent in the region). He delegated power effectively and allowed his ministers ample room to effectuate his policies as they saw fit.”
That said the bar for liberalism was clearly not too high provided you don’t advocate the kidnapping and selling of women into slavery and are prepared to tolerate Islam Christianity and Buddhism.
The people of the Left are starting to get eaten by the monster they helped create.
They have been saying that for 15 years. Still waiting for any resiliant sign of a reversal.
…Since her excellent article in The Critic last Xmas, about the female voice (we had better get used to it she says), Mary has done well on the noise cancellation front where the female formented woke cacophony is concerned. This article is a very fine piece, taking us ever closer to the nub of things.
That’s a tour de force article Mary Harrington, thank you.
I’m not ‘hard right’. In fact I’ve always been, ‘soft left,’ until the wind changed, and although I know little of Italian politics, I can relate to Signora Meloni’s ideals, retro, though some may regard them.
Feminists, and other ‘progressives’ have done a lot of harm to our social structure. Women should certainly not be denied political autonomy, but nor should traditional family life be treated as unworthy.
We need to get back to reality: women have babies; babies need mothers and fathers, not just ‘child care’ centres. Human warmth and care for children and others does matter. Those who may have been deprived of it, and later lash out against society should not be leading us.
Treat it as the childish name calling it is.
These labels really do have no meaning, definition or validity. Focus on the reality of what is being done, or proposed. Or as MLK put it, if we are to judge, make it on the content of someone’s character (the reality) and not the colour of their skin (the label).
I’ve said it before. Don’t play the labelling game. You can’t win.
As an aside, where do these supposed adults doing this stuff find the time and energy for all this bickering ? I keep reading that the country is going to the dogs – and yet there’s still time to indulge these sort of stupidities.
I live in Florida. Our governor, Ron DeSantis, has turned this state into an economic powerhouse. We just endured a Catagory 5 hurricane, and power was restored in our area (among the hardest hit) in 28 hours. He, too, has been defiled as “far-right” by the Contaminators. Okey doke, then. Far-right is just fine with me. (You guys asked for it).
A really great article, Mary! You’ve adroitly captured the unpleasant essence of the ‘Progressive’ mindset.
This Contagion has been steadily spreading and expanding over the past 70 years, its modern proponents, brainwashed into the bigoted, self-righteous Progressive fellowship (the Woking Class) are trained to attack under the guise of caring activism. And it’s a successful strategy. Most ordinary people have no interest in being ‘activists’ (never trust anyone who remotely associates themselves with this label) and simply don’t react to such (relentless) attacks by using the same tactics. Hence, being labelled ‘Right’ (AKA ‘Populist’) is always a negative, while those located in the ‘Left’ terrain of the social/political landscape are inevitably the ‘Good Guys’. Why should being on the ‘Right’ be associated with shame when sitting on the ‘Left’ has a somehow noble connotation, no matter how extreme or nasty such people actually are in reality?. Come the era when labelling someone as ‘Far Left’ will be as damaging and staining as calling someone ‘Far Right’!
And, by the way, Stalin was vastly worse than Hitler in terms of the countless millions he killed (including those he murdered with his own hands) over the course of his terrible time in power. His tally exceeded the total loss of life in WW! And he more than matched HItler for the extent and vileness of his own concentration camp infrastructure, with the singular exception that he did not specifically design death camp machinery – because the evil of his camp system did the job just as effectively without resort to the mass production engineering of the **zis.
“…This poses a conundrum for those women who find themselves unable to follow Shahvisi across the line of principle-free tribalism into fairy-tales…”
And you have to admit, the likes of Shahvisi have a point: if you were originally willing to buy into fairy-tales, like religion, or leftism, or whatever, all the way to tribalism, why should you suddenly have a problem with buying into some other fairy-tales? After all, the point of the exercise, whether you admit it to yourself or no, is not the fairy-tales (which are mere fashion) but the tribalism – the very human need to belong to something.
Very well put.
And the danger with that was described in yesterday’s article on Narcissism, which i pointed out was more a lack of self-reliance.
There’s a balance to be drawn between belonging to a community through a recognition of interdependence, and the need to belong. The former is healthy, the latter not so.
And the knock-on of that need, as opposed to a cold-eyed recognition of necessary interdependence, is that you become a groupie, for people and forces you don’t really understand, and who likely will use you and then discard you. After all, all those pop stars did precisely that to all those fans, many far too young to understand what they were doing. The likes of Shahvisi are simply bedazzled groupies to the tech leviathan, but too dumb to realise it.
Excellent article. Thank you
To add to Mary’s reference to the exchange in the letters page of the London Review of Books regarding the article written by Arianne Shahvisi: the identity of the writer of the letter protesting against the views expressed in this article is given only as “name and address supplied”.
This speaks volumes: the writer is so extremely concerned that the gender ideologists would otherwise come for her/him with abuse and threats, attempts at cancellation, perhaps loss of job and income etc in the same way that Kathleen Stock (among others) has been persecuted that s/he asks for anonymity. When people are afraid openly to say what they believe is true, where are we? In Stalin’s Soviet Union? Mao’s China? Hitler’s Reich? Pol Pot’s Cambodia? The Spanish Inquisition, and not the Monty Python version? (Other totalitarian tyrannies are available.)
As a side note, the LRB is becoming barely readable with its bias towards (for want of a better word) “woke” ideologies. I’ve been a subscriber since the first issue, but I fear I’ll have to stop soon. Before it was published in its own right, the LRB was a pull-out supplement to the New York Review of Books. Perhaps the concept could be revived – a pull-out section of woke-free articles, leaving the rest to go straight to the recycling bin.
The Left has for decades manipulated language to obscure the truth.
Take a word like “justice” which has a strong definition, meaning that individuals have rights to redress under a process of law. Then what to make of “social justice”? It doesn’t mean anything, except to imply that I have a judicial right to whatever social standing I think I deserve.
Or “reproductive freedom”, a construct which sounds like, but does NOT mean, that a woman can choose to have babies if she wishes, or choose whom to have a baby with (already a given) – but the right of the abortion industry to promote abortion as a guiltless, pain-free life choice that doesn’t kill a child. That’s a lie.
The term Far-right, with its picture of lynchings, concentration camps and swastikas has an accepted meaning. It’s use today to attack conservatives is an obvious lie. At least, it should be obvious…
Lies cannot win. Truth dawns eventually.
Meloni is described as “far right” because her party, fratelli, has a connection with Mussolini. Just to refresh people’s memories: Mussolini edited Avanti, the Socialist party newspaper, and Lenin was a fan. So how come that Musso is now dubbed “far right”? Enter Jo Stalin. He labelled Musso and Hitler, both varieties of socialist, as “far right”. Perhaps its time to question the description.
‘radical hatred of Islam, or any of the other (actually pretty fringe) opinions held by tattooed thugs in big boots.’ I don’t recall many of the Yazidi survivors being tattoed thugs in big boots. Nor many of the 12 yo girls in Rotherham. But perhaps they had a rather more realistic opinion of Islam, having experienced its reality.
I would submit to you a thought experiment. You know how many thousands of flights take off and land safely, every day, without any notice, while much attention is focused on the rare plane crash? In a similar manner, many hundreds of millions of Muslims devoutly and peacefully practice their genuine faith (not the “72 virgins” version) every day, while all of our attention is focused on the catastrophic fringe. I don’t have a speck of tolerance for anyone committing atrocities “in the name of Allah,” but we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be manipulated. Much of this problem is actually political and economic, dressed up as “religious.”
Incredibly naive comment, and from a woman.
You don’t care that thousands of girls have been raped by Muslim rape gangs because most Muslims don’t rape?
A scary percentage of Muslims support Sharia law and have no problem with, for example, the Charlie Hebdo massacre because they think the cartoonists had it coming.
Is any amount too many for you, or will you always be an apologist for their retarded thinking?
I don’t it at all difficult to be free of Contagion.
There’s a very simple reason for that. I long ago lost any delusions that the major political parties are not equally full of psychos, seriously deluded f***wits and really, really nasty power game players that make life for decent people of principle such a misery.
As a result, I have no interest in joining them, climbing any greasy poles etc.
It’s only if you want to climb greasy poles that ‘social influencers’ can trash you malignantly.
If you don’t care about that, you can say whatever you believe in fearlessly, robustly, occasionally pretty forthrightly and just very occasionally using as industrial a language set as is necessary to hammer a point home to recalcitrant dogmatists.
I can agree with James Delingpole on climate and Piers Corbyn about leaving the EU. I can agree with Gary Neville about opposing a US-led takeover of English football and I can agree with Craig Murray about Julian Assange.
I can call almost the entirety of the UK House of Commons an unprincipled bunch of US-c**ksucking prostitutes over their attitude to Russia and Ukraine.
And I can support organic agriculture and horticulture whilst fervently and passionately disagreeing with such folk about the role that carbon dioxide does not play in ‘global heating’.
You only have to be tribal if you play tribal war games for real….
Me too. Whats going on against the campus and corporate left expectation is that a small but growing number are straying happily out of their ideological lane. They will hate that.
The game of contagion involves at least two garden-variety logical fallacies: 1) sheer ad hominem and 2) what Popper called “the myth of the framework.”. I.e. (in reverse order) the notion that ideas cannot be addressed in their own right but only as parts of a systemic whole, and the idea that it is not ideas but person’s (identities) that truly matter. Confronted with this sort of ploy, Hitchens had the right instinct: “sorry, you have yet to give me an argument.” The question is not, how are assertions (about, say, biological sex) positioned but are they true, and what’s the argument for any of them. (For what are our expensive university educations, anyhow?)
Excellent but depressing analysis as the revolution comes to devour its own. It seems the relentless pursuit of autonomy and freedom creates more problems than we anticipated – isn’t the same tale of hubris, of Icarus and Babel? It is also interesting to see the emerging fault line between two sides and as the chasm widens people need to decide where they stand. I dread to imagine that it was like this in the run-up to most civil wars where the middle ground disappears and you find yourself one side or the other.
but… and for God’s sake PLEASE someone answer this question… What IS an ” actual racist”? Define the word?
Ok S-T, I’ll give it a go. It is a form of cognitive bias, the essence of which is something like:’due solely to their race, these people have a different value (as a human, rather than in financial or skills) than [other group]’. The bias is on a scale from mild to extreme; and people are much more concerned by negative bias – Germans are humourless – than positive – French are great lovers. It gets very confusing for several other reasons:
All this has lead to a situation where anti-racism is racism – confusing, but then wise people have long noted that you should choose your enemies carefully, as they will shape you.
We must, in my opinion, distinguish two things. If you find that people you respect hold a different view from yourself on any question that may prompt you:
(a) to interrogate your own view and ask, could I be mistaken about this? which is perfectly legitimate and intellectually honest.
(b) or to say, I had better change my view, so as to conform with other people, which is contemptible.
Knowing a little math and geometry helps answer the question of how far right anyone is. It’s so simple, even a progressive could understand it.
It depends on where the center is. The Left has been moving the goal posts steadily in their direction, shifting the perception of the rest of the field. We are skewed so far Left now in the media, academia, and even corporate business, that the center has been redefined, allowing even moderate views of the right to be labelled “extremist”.
Frederick Hayek once observed that “If socialists understood economics, they wouldn’t be socialists.” In the same way that Utopians don’t understand the logic of income and wealth disparity ( there must always be a 1% and a 99% in the real world ), they have confused the meaning of political leanings. Deliberately.
Most “Far Right” conclusions appear to be ” Not Far Wrong”….
Oppose open borders…Far Right…but it’s just commonsense?
Oppose woke gender agenda…Far Right…but it’s not only commonsense it’s science.
The list is seemingly endless. It’s a tragedy that supposed Conservative politicians are too weak willed to put their heads above the parapet and call out this Far Right tagging. It’s left to a small number of political groups with no hope of winning elections.
What a sick game your group played in school – I just hope you did not join. I would have told anyone trying to get me to be a partner in that cruelty game to F themselves.
And same with
”The function of the great game of Progressive Contagion is making every possible counter-argument to the onward march of tech-enabled commerce intolerably low-status and radioactive.”
Their game only works if you let it – tell them they are the dirty contagion ridden Liberal/Lefty degenerate and you are Proud to be MXGA! F them; then their game falls to ashes.
(MXGA, most commonly with an A instead of X, But an I for Italy works, or B for British, or F for France or Finland does too – means to be a proud Enlightenment-Liberal Patriot)
The idea of tolerance on our part, and something we’ve held to be important so far, is something we have to reassess. It enables the worst in these people who use it to their advantage. There are no more discussions, no more consideration of a point of view, no more backing off because it’s destructive to discourse and understanding. Like the schoolyard game, as you said, just don’t enable them by listening anymore. Cut it off at that point.
My behaviour has become flat-out abusive towards so-called progressives. They’re not worthy of respect.
Not always true in my experience. I have several friends who are doubtless progressive and with whom I strongly disagree on many political subjects. That doesn’t make them “wrong” on everything else or of no value. As on here, it often brings me more pleasure to agree with someone you never expected to than to be in perfect alignment with one’s own “tribe”. But I guess that also depends just how strongly one wants to be part of a given tribe (and I’m happy in a tribe of one).
We certainly will not make any progress if we despise and refuse to engage with people we disagree with.
I don’t think we’re talking about the same people. You’re talking about friends who you disagree with over politics. These other people not only don’t listen, they talk over you, ignore what you say, twist your meaning, claim you’re immoral, call you names , twist facts or create them and generally refuse to accept the fact that you’re real and right there in front of them. There’s no pleasure in that and there’s certainly no point in trying to understand them. Even if you’re prepared to accept that what they believe isn’t wrong what they’re doing is definitely wrong. There is no progress in this.
Yes, exactly. Thanks for taking the trouble to explain this to Peter on my behalf.
That’s the sort of attitude they have towards you, the very intolerant, authoritarian arrogance the article depicts.
We tried appeasing them, and it didn’t work. They’re fascists, and we have to treat them as fascists.
That’s strange. I had you down as one of those people who’d be the instigaters of juvenile Contagion. Thanks for protesting that you’re not, it’s very reassuring.
But we probably all did something a bit like that at school if we are honest. Better to get it out of your system then, than carry it on into adulthood.
It could be just another example of Postmodernism, words hold power… or to those who deploy them and in doing so get to change “reality”. The word vile for example is regularly deployed by the “be nice” brigrade, not only to describe members of a particular political party but the people who vote for them, people they have never even met.
“And often, the only party for whom “more freedom” has no trade-offs turns out to be commerce: the sexual revolution, for example, delivered pros and cons for both sexes, but only benefits for the sex industry.”
Interesting point, which I’m not sure I agree with, but let’s say it’s true for the sake of argument. Why the implication that this is a bad thing? Commerce is the engine behind all human advancement: without it we all go nowhere. The argument in the next paragraph treats commerce as if it is a separate entity to humanity when in fact it is wholly a social construct of humans.
“When you adopt the “far-Right” argument that national identity should be protected against globalisation, you’re saying there are limits to how far we can — or should — remodel the polity in the interests of growth.”
Really? What is it about the open-borders global markets ideology that persuades anyone that it both prioritises and fosters growth? We are living through the end-game of Liberal-Left economics right now: the general recognition that modern western institutions have failed to maintain growth and cannot therefore support their political positions on the value of national identity. I am not saying I necessarily support the position of national identity in all arguments, just that the globalists haven’t been able to deliver on their promises about how the loss of national identity is worth it.
On a final note, I’d like to make a point that I’ve made before, and it’s this: the moment we accept that the words “far-right” and “fascism” can be treated interchangeably by the people who presently find the accusation so convenient, we’ve already lost the argument. Fascism is merely another variant on the hard Left, it always was and always will be. It is authoritarianism, and therefore is logically and ideologically incompatible with any political position that seeks a small state and the corresponding individual liberty that stems from it.
There is such a thing as the far right of course: it’s called anarchy. It might be madness, but at least it can’t include a powerful state-funded clerisy acting as the Ministry of Truth. All that nonsense is on the Left and can’t exist anywhere else.
Great piece Mary. In my working class part of Scotland contagion was known as “scabby touch” it is a brilliant metaphor for the divisive identitarianism of our times. Any of my friends from the left who see this will of course, identify me as “far right!” I am and have been for the thinking half of my life a left libertarian.
It puzzles me that those who want to dismiss all claims of society to trespass on their individuality, lose no time in demanding that the individuality of others must be the same as theirs.
It will always be thus.
Because all politics these days is essentially a left wing project, everyone that’s obsessed enough to care is left wing, and everybody else is Far Right.
A lot of words to say that the western world has moved left, so centrists, even only 20 years ago are now labelled right wing – and that women are cash cows nowadays.
I never made the connection between the emergence of the feminist movement and the corresponding emergence of what may be called “high tech” until I read this piece. It makes perfect sense and is illustrative of how an ostensibly humanistic venture can become increasingly enslaved to technology.
It’s always fascinating that anyone to the right of Mao is prejudged and castigated by the left at the top of their voice. It is great news that the likes of Leonardo d. rather than Nero are alive and well in Italy.
Wow – Just Wow – I don’t share Harrington’s views on Capitalism but what a true genius among us…
“No amount of protesting that you’re revolted by actual racists and the like affords any defence against this.” Why would anyone do this? In fact, the author’s mentions of being “revolted” by racism, etc. mars an otherwise nice article. Maybe it would be better to just put a disclaimer at the end. Something like:
The author of this article is revolted by things that are revolting, including but not limited to: actual racism, actual racists, sexism in all forms, islamophobia, homophobia (actual or imagined), transphobia, fat-phobia, thin-phobia, dwarf-phobia, bunny punching, catnapping, and squirrel harassment.
Revolt against the modern woman
Far Right she might be, but she’s considerably prettier that Draghi.
I’m afraid that’s a weighty a comment that I feel Italin politics deserve.
She is, thinking about it, better looking than our lady premier.
While the girls were playing contagion, the boys went from cops-and-robbrs to cloak-and-dagger. One might describe the progressive power elite in terms of a Venn overlap between these girls and boys games.
I think it’s only fair to point out that, especially in the US (and coming to a country near you), regular Democrats are often called far-left socialists/communists etc – even those would be seen as centre-right in Europe. It’s the splitting process that is a contagion.
The perfect response to the “far right” label is “so what”. Many who oppose the insane leftism are overly worried about being called a “racist” or whatever else. The problem is that the British people are too liberal. Languishing in this liberal state will be what kills our country. Standing up for ourselves in front of boutique risotto stirrers screaming “racist” may go some way to saving us.
The Heritage Site | Adam McDermont | Substack
What’s wrong with being aligned with the Far Right if someone from the Far Left is doing the talking?
‘“The sexual revolution, for example, delivered pros and cons for both sexes, but only benefits for the sex industry.”
I’m not so sure about this, but perhaps it depends on what you mean by the sex industry. Was it not the case that sexual liberation led to loss of income for prostitutes as men now had easier access to no strings sexual encounters with little or no financial outlay? On the other hand, the porn industry clearly flourished.
I complained to the BBC about calling Meloni far-Right. This is the response that I have just received:
Thank you for contacting us with your concerns regarding BBC News coverage of Giorgia Meloni.
Fratelli D’Italia is led by Giorgia Meloni and has its roots in the fascist party Movimento Sociale Italiano, which was born in 1946 out of Mussolini’s fascism. Giorgia Meloni was in the youth wing of the MSI.
She is anti-immigration, has regularly railed against Muslim migrants trying to de-Christianise Europe and wants a naval blockade of Libya.
She has also campaigned against LGBT rights, opposed restrictions for the unvaccinated and her party symbol is the same one which was always the symbol of far-right and neo-fascist parties, while her political allies in Europe are Vox in Spain, Marine Le Pen in France and Viktor Orban in Hungary.
Her party should be seen in the context of the political landscape in Italy, which has centrist parties, a centre-right party (Berlusconi’s) and parties to the right of Berlusconi: Salvini’s Lega and Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia.
Collectively we think this justifies the description of far-right, or the extreme of the right.
Before the election we also published an article Italy elections: Who’s who and how the vote works which explored the parties in more detail.
Thank you once again for getting in touch.
Write back with a supplementary question asking how they describe and where they put Mussolini himself and Hitler, as well as Franco and Portugal’s Salazar.
Specifically ask them to put all those on a Left to Right scale of 1 to 10 along with Pol Pot, Mao, the Kims, Stalin, Lenin, and all they others you and they mentioned.
And then identify the ranges of centre, left and right, far left and right, extreme left and right.
What also annoys me is the way that the left have hijacked words like ‘progressive’.
Politics is a circular spectrum with the extreme left and right reaching around to touch each other. In the middle of the spectrum is a moderate base of sensible people who mostly agree but are divided by an invisible wall that separates them by party, but little else. I’m for the bipartisan wing that joins those at the middle so they can have a stronger voice.
Since they clearly haven’t figured this out for themselves, someone ought to tell the GC feminists who try to preserve their leftie status by calling out Kellie-Jay Keen that the people they’re still trying to ingratiate themselves with fit the ifascist label far, far better than those they oppose.
I do wish someone would define racism?
Bug report: The “Join the discussion” box is randomly absent, making replies the only way to post.
The fact that this article has been written, the fact that it is so long and in depth gives me satisfaction in the knowledge that the liberal (or rather ill liberal) elite will sooner or late eat itself, or tie itself in knots and disappear up its own backside. My only concern is that “it” will destroy the world as we know it before “it” gets to that point.
1. For the progressive Left, the issue is never the issue. Power is the issue. The means to power is useful idiots.
2. “if you don’t like the fact that you share a view with someone objectionable, consider revising that view”. This statement reveals just how tribal the debate has become. In the good old days, people were more able to assess the merits of different viewpoints in different areas, each in isolation, leading to sensible debate. Now, the progressive Left demand absolute fealty to the whole package. Anybody who disagrees on a single issue is cast out, excommunicated, cancelled. It’s the politics of the playground, the football crowd, the Inquisition.
Wow- this article really has brought out Unherd’s finest.
Thank you Mary for taking this up. In response to the exchange you mention I wrote to the LRB pointing out that ‘far-right’ politicians frequently adopt a gender critical discourse because of the pull it has. Eric Zemmour used it to make a comeback last week in France. Needless to say gender critical feminists in France want nothing to do with him!
Does anybody else find that Harrington buries good points in overly verbose and jargon laden language? I was always told K.I.S.S.
She fills the word count, to be fair, but she writes clearly and beautifully.
K.I.S.S was always used when talking to those who didn’t understand what was going on.
Isn’t it possible to produce rather shorter articles?
Try “The Post” – it’s just a click away.
The problem with this article is, that while Mary Harrington states her belief that Meloni is not Far-Right, and is in fact just ‘centre-Right’, her only justification for that is her stating that that is how she is “generally described by her own country’s press”, I don’t know whether that is true or not, but let’s look at Meloni and her party. As Harrington does not.
Her party the FdI is the heir to the neo-fascist, so not even Far-Right but actual neo-fascist, MSI, and uses it’s exact tricolor flame badge. https://culturico.com/2021/11/12/post-fascism-in-italy-so-why-this-flame-mrs-giorgia-meloni/But what does that mean? After all the DP is the heir to the PCI yet it is in no way communist. While it is clear that Meloni and the FdI are not the same as the MSI many academics and Italian political commentators continue to refer to the FdI as Far-Right even Neo-Fascist. Why? Because the leadership is ambiguous on Italy’s fascist past and has politics that are simply Far-Right.. See above link or the FT stating “Meloni takes Italian far-right back to 1930s roots” https://www.ft.com/content/f8c32044-0d92-11e8-8eb7-42f857ea9f09 But as the stream of Rightists in the comments shows it is the Overton window sliding significantly to the Right that is the confusion here. The Conservative Party is no longer ‘conservative’ but radical, and itself has slide to the Right of the Centre-Right. And what are those policies that are Far Right? Meloni is anti-abortion, totally anti-immigration, a Christian identitarian, anti-Islam, against gay marriage, uses conspiracy theory about unnamed ‘global elites’ all under the slogan of “God, fatherland and family,”. There is no one on the centre-Right in British politics who has the same politics. And if this is, as Mary Harrington argues simply, centre-Right politics, what would then be Far-Right politics? Killing abortion providers? Killing gay people? That’s not Far-Right! That’s way beyond that! But deporting immigrants? Oh Patel has started that. And where too does it leave those who are traditionally British centre-Rightists. Kenneth Clarke, Michael Heseltine, John Major etc. They are a million miles away from the politics of Meloni. So ultimately this article on contagion is flawed from the beginning. Yes the politics of contagion is problematic, but criticising them is not helped with an example that is simply false.
“There is no one on the centre-Right in British politics who has the same politics.”
Anti abortion is not far right. And if it is then what is pro abortion? See how silly it is? Concern about global elites is not right wing. In fact wouldn’t you imagine that the far right would support global elites? Caring for children or grandparents, or taking on a mortgage to shelter them is not fascist, neither is going without for your children fascist.
Even if what you said was true, the reason the centre right don’t have those policies is because they’re afraid to. And afraid of what?: the far right ideology of the left.
You seem to assume that Right/Left framing remains relevant. It does not. Conservative/radical is newly relevant though, (change/anti-change) but the anti-changers are the elites in power across the public and private sectors. The old time Brit politicians you mention are indeed more than a million miles away from Meloni, because they are not confronted by the current drive for a new dystopia. The fact that her party has incidental symbols of a previous losing dystopia is about as relevant as the fact that the modern US Democratic party has its roots in the slavery and segregation of Africans.
You’re assuming fascists are right-wing because Stalin and his useful idiots and fellow travellers told you they were to distance themselves from Hitler’s Eugenics and Euthanasia.
That Hitler copied from Western liberals and socialists!
Even down to gas chambers.
The clue’s in the name – National Socialists.
If you don’t believe this try to google things like the skeletons in the left’s cupboard (I think) from the Guardian and eugenics from the New Statesman (a series of three articles).
You won’t find anything in the New Statesman itself (I didn’t the last time I tried – obviously memory holed) but you might find other people have archived them as I eventually did!
Extreme-right is anarchy, far right is minimal/very small government, etc.
International Socialism, National Socialism, Fascism, are some of the many strands of communal/big government/left wing.
This American is proposing that the dividing line between “moderate” and “far-right” is defined by the issue of violence.
Case in point. USA. Janurary 6, 2021: a significant number (thousands) of “conservatives” revealed themselves to be, in truth, “far right” by imposing destruction, pain, terror, severe injury and death on other citizens who were in the process of working out our differences by lawful (as in Law and Order) means.
Bottom line: Violence–or the conviction to refrain from it–is the definitive dividing line between “Far Right” and everybody else.
Theoretically, this way of evaluating applies to all issues.
For various reasons I am disinclined to get into discussions or arguments with family, friends, clients, neighbors, acquaintances along the lines of such as you bring up here. I of course stay at least a little bit aware of major societal events. It’s sort of hard not to. As such, while I know of various viewpoints I’ve never actually been in a situation in which someone has personally expressed to me the view you express here. This would be one case in which I would want to simply ask some questions, starting with “If I understand correctly what you are saying…” I may not be, after all. And my questions are rooted in wanting to understand the viewpoint because, admittedly, I don’t get it! So my questions are simply these: how do you apply your distinction “between ‘Far Right’ and everybody else” to the 2020 “Summer of Love?” Were those people engaged in riots and violence “working out our differences by lawful (as in Law and Order) means”? Or would you apply the label “Far Right” to them as well?
No deaths imposed on anyone by those “conservatives” on January 6th. And being American doesn’t make your opinion any more valid.
This would be the few hours of protests, where a few of the protesters got out of control (and the President ordered them to desist, but as soon as he Tweeted Anti-Social Media silenced his accounts and hid what he said), and took over a whole room, with NO serious injuries caused, never mind deaths, except by the police.
So how do you describe the four years of Burn Loot Murder, $Billions of arson, vandalism, and looting, and dozens of deaths (plus RINO, Democrat, Intelligence Services, FBI, and “liberal” media collusion to create fake documents and other mis and dis-information in an attempt to unseat a duly elected President!, and then prevent him from being re-elected)?!