Right from wrong: a guide to the new European politics

Why the Majority are now “Far Right”, by Douglas Murray.

Terms such as ‘fascist’, ‘far right’ and ‘white supremacist’ are serious. Such sinister forces certainly exist, both in Britain and on the continent. But in recent years — especially since the Brexit and Trump votes — there has been an acceleration in claimed sightings and a blurring of the definitions. This is wrong not just because it means that perfectly decent people are maligned, but also because distinctly dangerous groups are confused with harmless ones.

The fog began to descend earlier this decade. Campaign groups which used to oppose neo-Nazis realized that there weren’t sufficient Nazis to justify their business models. They decided that, henceforth, attacking parties such as Ukip should also come under their anti-fascist remit. Soon anybody who opposed supranational institutions or sought to restrict immigration found themselves labelled as beyond the pale. It meant that the views of the majority of the public — in Britain and elsewhere — effectively became defined as far right.

In recent years this terminological mission-creep has morphed from being annoying to being disturbing. For if everybody is a fascist, then nobody is. And anyone who knows the scene across Europe will understand that we may well have need of these terms.

Much of Europe is now dominated by nationalists. If the leftist critique which elides nationalism with fascism succeeds, and all nationalists are regarded as beyond the pale, then we may have very few allies in the years ahead.

To my eyes, the reality across Europe is something like this. There are several parties that deserve the far-right label because of their veneration of far-right figures of the past, their desire to pull down democratic institutions and their willingness to engage in street-level violence. Into this category you could reasonably place Golden Dawn in Greece and Jobbik in Hungary. …

Aside from the fact that the commentariat likes to write ‘far right on the march’ pieces, and greatly prefers over-identifying fascists to over-identifying communists, the problem is that these terms are country-specific. There is, after all, a reason why AfD is regarded as such a particular anathema. The six-year-old party may be the official party of opposition in the Bundestag, but very few people want to take even the smallest chance with a questionable German movement. …

You can see the temptation to make this simpler: to pretend all parties which don’t toe the social-democrat consensus of the pre-crash era are far right.