Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Simon O'Connor: Do we even have a far-left?

It's striking that for all the commentary about the 'far right', you never seem to hear anything of any 'far left'.

Am I the only one getting tired of everything contrary to ‘progressive’ or ‘woke’ values being labelled “far right”?

Every morning I pick up the news and the headlines scream about the rise of the far right, the extreme far right, fascists, and other associated names.

The recent European Union elections, and then national elections prior to that, have seen this name calling escalate. The results in the likes of France, Italy, and Germany are cases in point, with many headlines noting the ‘rise of the far right’. In the United Kingdom, we see the rise of Nigel Farage’s Party (Reform UK) and as I write, polls suggest he is doing better than the Conservative Party. Prior to the EU elections, the commentariat had a meltdown when Giorgia Meloni was elected Italy’s Prime Minister. That she was the first ever woman Prime Minister in Italy was quickly ignored (in a way it would not have been if she had been left-wing) and instead, a barrage of attacks on her for being ‘far right’ and believing in such concepts as ‘the family’.

According to such commentators, what makes someone ‘far right’? Well, everything it seems from wanting to protect your job to believing in law and order; believing in pro-life values and the role of family; not wanting to mutilate young children in the name of gender theory; questioning whether mass migration is a good thing; not being particularly enamoured with near weekly Islamist violence; or being sceptical about various international treaties that weaken a country’s own decision-making. Oh, and more locally and according to the ironically named ‘Disinformation Project’, braiding hair and liking flowers (I’m not kidding!).

What is striking however, is that there appears to be no ‘far left’ or ‘extreme left’. Such people and groups just don’t seem to exist when you read the papers or listen to the news. Mexico has just elected a new President who for all intents and purposes is left-wing. And yet this moniker is not used. She instead is a champion of the environment, a trail blazer, a game changer. Here in New Zealand, many people and groups are quickly derided as ‘far right’ and yet it would seem, from reporting, that there is not one person who is ever ‘far left’.

Personally, I would prefer less hyperbole and so I am not arguing for more name calling – be it on the left or right. But I do hope people reflect on how language once again is being misused by those in power and influence. Progressives are seeking to use such emotive language – such as ‘extreme right’ – to suppress anyone who questions their narrative. It is easier to label someone in order to dismiss them rather than rationally articulate an argument.

As others have also noted, if everyone is being called ‘far right’ then we will actually miss those who genuinely are. There will always be violent fringe groups on either end of the left-right spectrum. I would argue you are seeing, almost daily, the fringe of the left wing active on our streets. These are the ones protesting with masks and scarves on; calling for revolution; supporting designated terrorist groups; posting signs including symbols of guns; defacing property; and screaming at anyone who disagrees with them. Ironically, these fanatics are never labelled ‘far left’. Never.

And herein lies the final observation. More often than not, those most loudly screaming names at people are the very thing they accuse others of being. Those decrying everyone as ‘far right’ for having a different view to them, are in fact acting exactly like the traditional far right – violent in language and action. These people would do well to look in the mirror a little more, and less time abusing those who oppose their view of the world.

Simon O'Connor a former National MP graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Political Studies . Simon blogs at On Point - where this article was sourced.


Anonymous said...

Even members of a New Zealand political party calling for a coup to overthrow our democratically elected government is barely mentioned on the News. Imagine if a right wing party was calling for an uprising.

Anonymous said...

Communism is the correct terminology, and yes we do.

EP said...

Completely disparage all references to left and right - and completely ignore the MSM -. There are those who think (it's not easy) and those who follow (swallow).

Anonymous said...

There is no far right in New Zealand. They've all joined the far left which has become mainstream. Unfortunately all liberals and conservatives are attached to the same bird. Abandon the revolution which is doomed to fail and return to true Christianity - Pre-Vatican II Catholicism in all things.

Anonymous said...

Simon, you raise a good point.

I'm a great believer in for every action there is an equal or greater reaction. Given the far left toxic destruction we have first hand witnessed over the last 7 years we now have a very moderate centre right govt, which is why there is still unrest. I am yet to see the equal response to the far left racist divisive behaviors witnessed by labour, greens and maori parties. But it's coming the left have guaranteed that.

Martin Hanson said...

So many ordinary people, who just happen to disagree with the prevailing narrative, are being labeled 'far right' - as if that constitutes an argument. As with 'racist', and 'conspiracy theorist, it's used by people who haven't got evidence to back up an argument, and by implication, an admission of failure.

Old cis white male said...

Well, the Right is just...right, the Left is just... wrong.

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