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On both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, radical leftism would appear to be growing in popularity. In America, self-described socialist Bernie Sanders looks primed to wreck Hillary Clinton’s quest to become the first female President. In Britain, the squirrelly-featured Marxist (and virulent anti-Zionist) Jeremy Corbyn looks set to become the next leader of the Labour Party, a movement that had until recently been planted firmly in the ideological centre. In Spain, the far-left Party ‘Podemos’ – founded in 2014 – has risen to become the second largest party in the country. France meanwhile is falling into a political sinkhole as the industrial establishment holds the economy hostage using the socialist government as its guarantor. And in Greece, although an exceptional case subject to exceptional forces, the populist Syriza movement has already pushed out the mainstream with a speed and emphasis shocking to commentators across the continent.
How on Earth could this be happening? Europe has not been in a more sickly condition since the Second World War, and the virus afflicting it can be easily identified (even by the most blockheaded everyman) as decidedly Left-wing in origin. Poor economic growth, pathetically short working weeks, incontinent welfare spending, over-unionised labour, governmental bloating, reckless borrowing, budget deficits, idealistic immigration policies, Islamist penetration… Which of these toxins was ever recommended in a right-wing manifesto? None of them were, and yet the right-wing is pushed further into the shade with each passing day. Has the continent lost its mind?
Of all the plausible explanations for this folie à plusieurs, the most convincing to me is that a feeling of exhausted morbidity has struck the European psyche, overpowering and disabling its rational faculties – a ‘death wish’ if you prefer, a longing for nothingness, for all this business and trauma to be resolved, as quickly as possible, with whatever consequences an early settlement will have for the long-term future of our civilisation.
Westerners are tired. Our rulers have become unresponsive to our agonies and we no longer trust them to act in our interests. Our elites treat us with nothing but contempt, viewing our problems as completely separate to their own private destinies.
In this world of torment, Leftism offers a soothing slide into narcotic bliss and short-term paradise. With a far-left government, our quality of life will (for a while) skyrocket to levels we never dreamt of. The poor will be given borrowed money, as will the struggling Middle Classes. The Muslims will be kept at bay with a foreign policy of unconditional surrender. We will be able to use air and public transport without fear of terrorism, for there will be no reason to attack us. Our soldiers will all be brought home and the money spent on their equipment will be redirected into free childcare. The doomly scenarios of climate change will be prevented by the installation of a forest of wind-turbines. Every child will be allowed to go to university free of charge. And so on…
The dream will last until the creditors stop lending. And then, for those still around, the nightmares will begin.
I understand the appeal Leftism can have to a miserable country, just as I understand the appeal diacetylmorphine can have to a miserable person. In both cases, it is never the right option, and in both cases, those who choose wrongly end up regretting it.