Today’s news has been replete with interesting echos of the past. I just finished reading the New York Times article about the resurgent Thatcherites in David Cameron’s party. Then there was the article about the new Arizona law ‘show me your papers’ and the ‘birthers’ legislation that the same folks were trying to push through that would require all new presidential candidates to show a US birth certificate. And of course there is the spectacle of a Canadian government that ran on a program of fixed elections, openness and accountability that seems to be anything but.
This all makes me think of the unsettled times in Germany after World War 1. The Allies had tried hard to hurt Germany for their role in WW1 — a punishment they would remember for a long time. And they did, and it lead to the unrest that resulted in the rise of Hitler and all that followed. How ironic that Merkle used similar expressions in talking about the Greek economic bailout…
So what do we have now? The middle class has been hurt severely. Jobs that provided a measure of pride, comfort and stability have been exported or simply vanished. Religion as a source of support is eroding through both a wave of scandals and religion-based wars. People are being hurt and humiliated by forces that are clearly beyond their control.
So should we really be surprised at the rise of extremist ideologies? How different are we really when we have lost control of our world and look to very polarized viewpoints as a way of taking it back? In some ways this is a backlash at what I have referred to as the re-feudalization of society.
I for one would hate to see the US becoming a fascist state (or Canada or the UK or anywhere else) but it is hard to ignore the signs that the countries that we love are sliding down the slippery slope into that terrible state. And the sad part of it is that while the people who foster it do so because of their powerlessness, they will no more control that extreme right wing state then they do the governments of today.