Here’s one way to define political Left and Right. Both sides “get” Charles Darwin’s suggestion that there may be a natural law expressed as “survival of the fittest.” But the left wants to civilize that law by making the fittest share a portion of their rewards across a wider population.
The Right wants its Darwinism pure: let the contest begin and let’s see who survives, and the Devil is welcome to the hindmost. It’s no surprise that much of the infrastructure and guidance for the parties of the political right has long been paid for by an elite of the financially fittest, the ones whose “hinies” are invested in the things their money can buy.
At the start of the 21st century, our guest today Cas Mudde says in his timely new book The Far Right Today, life and power on the political Right shifted farther right. What had been a marginal – indeed marginalized – fringe of the established conservative parties in Western Europe became the Far Right, went rogue and grew.
And split in two; the extreme right and the radical right. Mudde’s extreme right is elitist and disdainful of democracy, but his radical right pursues “populist” politics, and darned successfully these days.
Look at the list of ascendant radical right powerhouses who win elections channeling hate and rule channeling fear – not just Trump, but Bolsonaro in Brazil, Modi in India, Orban in Hungary, Erdogan in Turkey.
Are these guys… the kingpins of the radical wing of the political far right… the future of democracy?
Cas Mudde is the Stanley Wade Shelton UGAF Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia and Professor II at the Center for Research on Extremism at the University of Oslo. He is author of the new book The Far Right Today, the award-winning book Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe (2007) and Populism: A Very Short Introduction (2017) and a columnist for the Guardian US.