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The Center Cannot Hold
Europe's Far Right Revival

Hungarian voters have given the right-wing Fidesz party and its leader Viktor Orban a parliamentary majority again. (Readers may recall that the Fidesz party spokesman engaged our very own Francis Fukuyama in a back-and-forth in 2012). The ultra-right nationalist Jobbik party also made big gains, winning 20.7 percent of the vote, 4 percentage points higher than its share in 2010. The party is expected to gain 23 seats in the country’s 199-member Parliament.

In a special report released today, Reuters claims that Jobbik has higher aspirations:

From its strong base at home, Jobbik has stepped up efforts to export its ideology and methods to the wider region, encouraging far-right parties to run in next month’s European parliamentary elections… […]

Far-right groups in Poland, Slovakia, Croatia, and Bulgaria told Reuters they have ties with fellow parties in several countries in the region. Jobbik sat at the center of that web, the only one with contacts with all the parties.

Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party (BNP), one of the few far right parties in Western Europe with close relations with Jobbik, said the Hungarian party is the driving force behind efforts to forge a far-right coalition.

The far right has won big elsewhere in Europe recently. In France, the National Front, which runs on an anti-immigrant platform, had a strong showing in mayoral elections, while the UK Independence Party is gaining traction after its charismatic leader Nigel Farage thrashed Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg in a televised debate. In Greece, the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn has become one of the country’s most influential parties. All across Europe, far-right fringe groups are capitalizing on establishment parties’ ongoing failure to address their concerns.

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  • Pete

    And why did Nigel Farage thrashed Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg in a televised debate?

    Because, the pro-immigration people cannot possible defend their culture destroying policies.

  • rheddles

    Is the Far Right part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy or vice versa? If a Far Right candidate wins what do you call those to the right of the winner? Fascists?

    • Andrew Allison

      That’s not the problem, which is that TAI persists in calling anything right of center in Europe “far-right”, and, absent any evidence, the far-right Fascist.

      • rheddles

        Sorry I forgot the /sarc.

        • LarryD

          I point out that the Left/Right terminology denotes nothing about the content of views, they are political labels of convenience denoting opposed groups. Otherwise they are completely arbitrary.

          Which is how Classical (19th century) Liberals and Fascists. can be lumped together.

  • Andrew Allison

    For shame. Fidesz is not far-right, neither are the National Front or UKIP. and since when was nationalism a vice? It is, and I use the word advisedly, disreputable, to tar right-wing parties as “far-right” of fascist. The fact that you disagree with their platforms of the former is no reason to slander them.

    • Boritz

      The TAI political spectrum is Left—-moderateRight—-farRight. This either means that there is no farLeft and never could be or else they are not doing anything newsworthy or noteworthy. The politics that ruined Detroit, for example, are “Blue”.

      • Andrew Allison

        I beg to differ. I was drawing attention to the fact that the TAI spectrum appears to be bipolar, namely Left or Far Right.

    • Jim__L

      Wars of Nationalism have killed more people, by at least one order of magnitude, than wars of religion. (So have wars of governmental incompetence, and wars of conquest, but never mind that now.)

      So, Nationalism has some pretty serious drawbacks.

      On the other hand, it’s arguable that without that kind of unifying force large states would be impossible without some high degree of coercion; so, we stick to the devil we know.

    • free_agent

      Nationalism becomes a vice when people start figuring which people in the country are “not of the nation”. That can quickly turn to ethnic cleansing, of which Europe has a long and bloody history.

      • Andrew Allison

        That would be ultranationalism, which is a horse of a very much darker color. Being anti-immigration, which TAI considers “far right” is not ultra-nationalist. Greece’s Golden Dawn is ultra-nationalist but, contrary to TAI, is a fringe party which lost ground in the last election.

  • phineasfahrquar

    It’s grossly unfair of you to group UKIP, a small government, classical-liberal party, in with the likes of BNP or Golden Dawn.

    • Felix Keverich

      It’s all the same for the Jews.

      • Stephen W. Houghton

        How? The UKIP is not anti Semitic. Not that I have heard of.

    • free_agent

      It’s not completely fair, but it’s not grossly unfair either. The UKIP is strongly anti-immigrant and it’s easy for a party espousing reduced immigration to attract a lot of followers who are outright ethnically bigoted. As another commenter noted, the distinction between anti-immigration and “Auslanders raus!” can be quite small for Jews or anyone else who is seen as ethnically different from the dominant ethnicity. And Europe has a long and bloody history of ethnic cleansing. Yugoslavia is the most recent of them and the Holocaust is the most notorious, but those are only two examples of at least a hundred.

  • CapitalistRoader

    Considering these parties’ platforms, I think a more accurate term would be national socialist.

  • Nick

    Why is it wrong to defend your own culture against barbarian invaders? Just because liberals despise western culture, doesn’t mean the rest of us should – or should allow it to be decimated by Islamofascists and communists.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “far-right fringe groups”

    Biased much? If they are winning then by definition they are NOT fringe groups. By winning they also shift the political center, and are also NOT far-right. They might be right wing or even centrist if there are still more voters to right of them.

  • Stephen W. Houghton

    Why are you comparing the UKIP with the BNP? One is libertarian – conservative and the other fascist.

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