In modern America, the mass media is controlled by adherents of the technocratic, neo-puritan religion we call modern liberalism. The simplest way to think of modern liberalism is as an identity cult where a relatively small group of whites look out at the rest of the country with contempt. As a result, public debate and public opinion exist within the context of liberalism. The terms, assumption, premises and boundaries of public discussion are determined by liberals in the media.
The point of bringing this up is to underline how easy it is to come away with a very warped view of what is happening in the world. In the recent Austrian election, for example, the Freedom Party was described as crypto-Nazi, despite being the opposite of National Socialists. If you read their party platform, they are more like the guys at Reason Magazine than anyone from Der Stürmer. From the perspective of the people writing the news stories, however, these rather bland libertarians of the Freedom Party feel like extremists.
The result of ceding control of public discourse to the cult of modern liberalism is that there is not a lot of discussion about what is happening to the Left. The coverage of the Austrian election is a great example. The press carried on like civilization just escaped an attack from Godzilla but breezed past the fact that Alexander Van der Bellen is a complete loon. The Austrian Green Party is nuts even by the standards of Austrian politics, which is no small thing.
Granted, the election was symbolic in many ways and that tends to result in weirdos doing well. Small town mayors are often eccentric because they have so little power. Voters are free to indulge in the entertainment side of politics when there is little at risk. Still, a complete crackpot won a nationwide election in a modern Western country. The reason for it is the political Left in the West has snapped free of its connections to normal society and is now rocketing out to the fringe.
Another useful example of this is the British Labour Party. It was not so long ago that the party was led by dreary technocrats like Tony Blair. Despite all the rhetoric, Labour was not a bunch of communists. They were always a left of center party that was just as happy to curry favor with the rich and powerful as the Tories. Today they are led by a madman who thinks Stalin was a trimmer. Jeremy Corbyn is a lunatic who has spent his life in fringe politics. Today he is one election away from being Prime Minister.
In America, the Democrats have been drifting into lunacy for a while under Obama as they desperately try to hold their coalition of weirdos together. Bernie Sanders is an old communist in a competitive race with Hillary Clinton. Sanders is not just an academic commie. He deeply admired the Soviets and thought Albania was a good model for the world. Just a decade ago a guy like Sanders running as anything other than a no-hope third candidate was laughable.
The dynamic in America has always been that the Progressives yank the window toward some fringe issue. The normals would grudgingly go along, kicking and screaming, so that the Overton Window gradually shifted in the direction of the loonies. All of a sudden, the normals appear to have simply let go of it. Set loose of that tether, the American Left is rocketing off into madness. There’s really no other way to describe the trannies in the bathroom business. It is madness.
Comparing American politics to European politics is not always sound because Europe has lived in a consequence free bubble since World War II. The economic and territorial safety of Europe has been America’s problem for 70 years, leaving the Euros to indulge is a more provincial brand of politics. Still, the events in Greece last year and what we are starting to see in more stable countries like Austria, suggests a global trend. At least a trend in the Western world.
The old order is breaking down and our politics are pulling apart. The old Center-Left coalition that has dominated Western politics is collapsing. On one side we have crackpots and lunatics trying to fill the void. On the other side we have traditionalists and nationalists, long marginalized, trying to organize in order to get into the fight. The Austrian Freedom Party had that “happy to be invited” vibe to it because none of them expected to be competitive.
Austria is a good lesson. We live in uncertain times and it is not always clear to voters who is wearing the black hat and who is wearing the white hat. People tend to go for the safe choice, and the safe choice is more often than not the familiar choice. Hillary Clinton is the worst candidate since Mike Dukakis, but she is familiar, like that hairy wart on Aunt Zelda’s chin. It is gross and disgusting, but you are used to it. That is what keeps her in the race, despite her many defects.
In the larger context, citizens in the West have been familiarized with Lefty for generations. Even the crazy ones like Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn are stock figures on the political stage. The traditionalists and nationalists still feel alien and weird to many people and therefore face a bigger challenge. The result will be a period of derangement in politics where the fate of countries is placed in the hands of feckless nitwits like Justin Trudeau.
In short, things are probably going to get much worse before they get better.