The Inevitability of a Right-Wing Europe
In the wake of what felt like a post-election disappointment, Geert Wilders tweeted something pretty optimistic.
The tweet points out that pre-election the PVV were the 3rd biggest party in the Netherlands and that now they're second. The final line promises next time they'll be number one.
The Netherlands is not alone among western nations in seeing right-wing growth. As everyone knows, Donald Trump got elected and Brexit happened. Wilders’ party didn’t top the polls but they did move up the rankings, and Marine Le Pen looks a real threat in the upcoming French elections. In short, the right has momentum.
But where is this momentum coming from? What explains the growth of the right in Europe? Start by taking a look at this chart from Pew.
57 per cent of Swedes think refugees will increase the likelihood of terrorism in their country. 57 per cent. Even if Pew’s methodology stinks it still means probably millions of Swedes have concerns about refugees. Yet as Foreign Policy reported the Nordic nation of 9.5 million “expected to take as many as 190,000 refugees” during the refugee crisis, representing about 2 percent of the country’s population.
The Dutch and the Germans are even more worried than the Swedes. 61 per cent in both countries think refugees will increase terrorism.
Even if refugees don’t cause terrorism, the fact is people believe they do. Failing to acknowledge that is like feeling reassured that the man hijacking your flight isn’t actually going to paradise after he flies your Boeing 747 into a skyscraper: in a situation like that the only thing that matters is that he believes it.
One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to see a connection here. If the Dutch are so worried about extreme Islam and refugees etc. why didn’t Wilders cruise to victory? Well, despite Dutch concerns there still exists the residual liberalism of the post-WWII years and a reflexive, deep-seated fear of anything related to the far right. But this won’t last forever.
An essay in New Scientist suggests people are turning to the right because they’re “anxious”, making bad decisions because of suppressed neurons in the pre-frontal cortex due to a worldwide rise in catastrophic events. For the sages at New Scientist cognitive breakdown is the real cause of the rise of the right. The words “Islam” and “Muslim” are mentioned not once in the entire article.
The rise of the far right makes a lot more sense if you view it in tandem with the increasing frequency of jihadist terror attacks in Europe.
In 2014 there were two such attacks on the continent.
In 2015 there were 10.
In 2016 there were 24.
If Islamic terror attacks simply stopped happening and Europe’s jihadis became model citizens overnight it’s highly likely that the growth of the far right would be halted. But this is not going to happen, meaning there is a method by which we can predict the election of the right to political supremacy.
So maybe the far right finishes second in the Netherlands this year and Le Pen is marginally defeated in the French presidential election. And perhaps the German right wing parties make only small gains, but gains nonetheless.
In the future, every time someone is hacked at in the street by someone shouting Allahu Akbar, or whenever concertgoers are machine-gunned, the far right will win votes.
It’s a formula. Jihadism + Innocents butchered = Far right gains.
j + i = g
The far right will win elections. Of that there is no doubt. It just requires the murder of a few more innocents. Exactly how many need to die before something is done is up to European voters.