As Ayn Rand
knew all too well, the battle for the world is the battle for definitions
. So let's
define our terms.
Jean-Marie Le Pen
- Belief in the superiority of a particular race; antagonism between races;
theory that human abilities are determined by race.(Source: The Oxford Minidictionary, 1991
- Oh, wait, this one isn't so easy...
and Pim Fortuyn
have occupied a fair bit of time in the European media
recently. Almost every article
you read that discusses these two individuals
associates them with the "far right"
. The "far right" is not a term they ever care to
define. Let's try to define it ourselves.
The left/right wing division is primarily an economic one. Chairman Mao Tse-Tung was
undeniably left-wing. So was Mahatma Gandhi. There is, of course, a huge difference. Gandhi
is a man associated with peace and love, and Mao is associated with the death of millions of
his own people through social experiments
. We accept then, that political figures on the left can be differentiated from each other by
a factor beyond their left-wingness.
The same can be said of the political right. Not all right-wingers are racist. The media
(dare I say the liberal media?) are constantly bombarding us with information about racist
right-wingers - in fact, now all they have to do is make reference to the "far right" and it is
assumed that people will understand that they mean racist, bigoted, anti-semite holocaust deniers! This does damage to the right-wing as a whole, and the media strategy
is one of misrepresentation: People ask themselves what the single most defining characteristic
of Le Pen and Joerg Haider is, and arrive at the conclusion that they are racist. Then they are told
that these people are "right-wing". The logical fallacy that results from this and that is
peddled by the media is: The far right is inherently racist.
Le Pen and Joerg Haider's economic policies are almost of no consequence to this discussion.
The problem with these people is not that they are right-wing, it is that they are racist - this
is the characteristic that makes them despicable, makes people reject them so wholeheartedly.
By throwing in the characteristic "right-wing" one merely creates an unnecessary association.
This alleged definition of "right-wing" (the definition which says they are racist) needs to
be overcome by the true definition. At the moment, few politicians will stand up and proudly
declare "I am right wing". To do so would be to draw immediate conotations of racism from the
public and most probably slander along those lines from one's political enemies. Like the true
definition of "left-wing" (which, I hasten to point out, is not "vicious bloodthirsty
totalitarian murderer"), the true definition of "right-wing" is an economic one. As
Conservatives and Republicans have always done, members of the right-wing advocate less
government control of the economy, lower taxes and a reduction in the welfare state. The most
important battle of today is that of statism vs. libertarianism, and to attribute properties such
as racism to the libertarians is dangerous and a distortion of the discussion. Of course,
attributing the property of totalitarianism and genocide to the statists (communists) is
no better, but sadly the media does not even create a balance of this negativity.