The Phantom menance – Fear creates the populist far right and stupidity sustains it

I previously wrote a blog post "Political extremism arises from incompetence". Now I return to the same theme. Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt, who fled Nazi persecution to the United States, presented in her 1951 work The Birth of Totalitarianism that political extremism and totalitarianism arise from people being separated and not having power over things. Separation feeds not only suspicion, otherness and racism, but also incompetence. Often people's agitators, such as Trump, get uninformed people in their tracks. When, for example, a global recession causes a large number of unemployment and incompetence, there is a great risk that extremist thinking will rear its head. This happened in the 30s and also in 2008-2009. We are still living in the aftermath of the last big economic crisis in 2008, which feeds the political extreme right. Trump, Putin, Bolsonaro, Erdogan, Modi and Orban are related to this phenomenon. The most serious consequences have been Trump, who caused a lot of destruction, who even tried a revolution in the United States, Putin, who has attacked Europe and the West militarily, and Brexit, which broke the unity of the EU. Similarly, the rise of numerous far-right movements is connected to the 2008 economic crisis. Even in Germany, the neo-Nazi AfD has partly come to power at the local level. In Sweden again, the racist Swedish Democrats. In Finland, the surge of Perussuomalaiset in 2011 unfortunately made them a big parliamentary party. Perussuomalaiset is e.g. responded to allowing the use of Nazi flags in the Independence Day parade, sleeve badges for foreigners and minorities and made Nazi salutes at the House of Parliament. The MPs of the Perussuomalaiset have proposed living areas isolated by walls for the poor and demanded that gays be moved to the remote island of Åland. Perussuomalaiset use a tactic where they systematically deny that they are racists and fascists, even though there is a lot of evidence. Perussuomalaiset is an ethno-nationalist and fascist party that should not be allowed to exist at all, and with which all cooperation should be stopped. Intolerance should not be tolerated. Racism, fascism and the oppression and inequality of the weak must not be tolerated. Right-wing populism threatens democracy, the rule of law and an equal society and casts a shadow over the world.
Right-wing populists present simple solutions to complex and difficult issues, or they deny the existence of the problem altogether. It is their way of appealing to an uneducated and ignorant population. For example, right-wing populists claim that climate change either does not exist at all or that it is a natural phenomenon. Arrhenius physically proved the greenhouse effect and carbon dioxide's ability to absorb heat as early as 1898. The weather stations have measurement data from more than 100 years, from which we can see that the climate has warmed. From the drilling samples of glaciers, we observe global warming and its connection to the carbon content of the atmosphere. Let's do a simple laboratory experiment: put air in one closed bottle and carbon dioxide in the other. Let's heat both with the same power. Result: the bottle with carbon dioxide heats up faster, because carbon dioxide absorbs heat. This can be proven at the level of quantum mechanics. Carbon dioxide stores potential energy from heat in the bonds between atoms due to its spatial structure. Climate change is not a matter of opinion, but a scientific fact.

Another example of the simple solutions of right-wing populists is that immigration is a big and the biggest problem and all economic problems, social problems, etc. are caused by it. Likewise, development aid. There has been immigration throughout history and it has greatly enriched our culture. Know-how and innovations go with people. We live in a global village, not in the lands of Impivaara's wig-wearing ponkin cooks. Immigration can be associated with problems, such as regional segregation and gang formation. However, the reason for these is not basically the immigrants, but the poor integration, education and inclusion of immigrants in society, where the reason lies in politics. More resources are needed for the integration and education of immigrants. An immigrant youth, like a youth belonging to the native population, is at risk of being marginalized and possibly drifting into crime if he does not get a place in school, a profession, a job, friends and family. Hobbies and all social interactions are also very important in preventing exclusion. Similarly, being able to influence and be a part of society is important. Society should therefore help immigrants, not set up obstacles. The majority of immigrants are responsible people who go to work and take care of their families. Immigration will not be expensive, but on the contrary will benefit our economy. We need additional labor for, for example, the care sector and the construction sector. Opposing development aid is irresponsible. For example, my country Finland's development cooperation money is only 0.4% of GDP, which is really little, and not a financial burden for a prosperous country. The UN requires a level of 0.7% and we are not even reaching this. Development cooperation money is used to help the world's most disadvantaged and poorest people. The fact that someone wants to eliminate development aid means that they want to take the bread out of the mouths of the world's poorest people and cut off health care and schooling for millions of children. The Foreign Aid of the Church of Finland alone helps 44 million people globally, and it receives a large part of its funding from the state. Without development cooperation money, these millions of people would be without help. This would also generate huge waves of refugees and military conflicts. Development cooperation is also a work of peace and promotes global stability. The world is sadly dominated by the thought pattern of otherness. Us and others thinking. Not seeing and recognizing the value of others. In reality, recognizing the value of others and caring for others would lead to the common good of all in many different ways.

Racist and fascist parties, such as Perussuomalaiset or Alternativ für Deutschland, get their support because of people's prejudices and hatred, which in turn are based on incompetence and isolation and fear. Hatred of foreigners, or xenophobia, is biologically rooted in the cavemen's fear that strangers can bring infectious diseases. That's why we still say "hello" when we meet people, as if to show that we are healthy. However, today, travel diseases are not the same threat as they used to be, and even less travel diseases are brought by any group of people. It would be completely absurd to fear the Chinese, for example, because they carry the corona with them more than others. That fear of cavemen has stubbornly stuck in some people's brains. Also, isolation, the fact that groups of people don't interact with each other, feeds suspicions and fears. The Nazis, for example, imagined very strange and inappropriate things about the Jews; that they are plotting world conquest and some Germans even thought the Jews had horns. In other words, racism is largely based on fear, which is caused by ignorance. In the words of Star Wars Jedi Master Yoda: "Fear, hatred, aggression." The harshness of racism is illustrated by how young children adopt it from their parents: in Nazi Germany, children had dolls representing Jews and small gallows where they put the dolls. Racism is based on disinformation and propaganda, and in addition to children, uneducated and ignorant people believe it easily. Some years ago, an American congressman claimed that the "Jewish space laser" was starting forest fires in the USA. Total madness! It is easy for poorly educated people to be fed any willow rope and they believe it. Disinformation is often underpinned by the power apparatus. For example, Putin's trolls have been spreading disinformation and conspiracy theories in Europe for more than a decade to break European unity, because a disunited Europe is easier to conquer. Putin has been planning his military attack to Europe for a long time.

Charismatic leaders like Hitler or Trump benefit from people's isolation and fear and easily gain power for themselves with their empty promises and speeches. However, their charisma is just the emperor's new clothes phenomenon. Trump started with great popularity, until it became clear to many that he is just a shouting and ranting, empty-talking and embarrassing old man in orange, and not a charismatic messiah figure. In desperation, he attempted a takeover of the Congress as a last resort. Now he is facing charges and being held accountable for his actions. Hitler, on the other hand, was a bad-tempered and angry-looking old man who used dozens of different drugs, including hard drugs. People in mass hypnosis worshiped this kind of sadness as their idol. As Chaplin says in the closing speech of the movie The Dictator: "Dictators die and the power they took from the people returns to the people." No totalitarian tyranny is forever, and human development cannot be stopped. The torch of enlightenment will illuminate the edges of the world and expose the ridiculousness and stupidity of dictators. People wake up from mass hypnosis caused by propaganda and start building a new Earth together.

Daniel Elkama
Yhteisön todentama ‑kuvake

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