March 17, 2016

WHAT HATH MERKEL WROUGHT? Tomorrow Belongs To… Who?

The far-right victories in Germany was powered by the votes of discontented youths, who abandoned the center-left as well as center right in droves. . . .

This should make all of Europe sit up and take notice: Europe has a lot of unemployed young people (France and Italy: 25% and 40% youth unemployment respectively). If they turn to the far-right to deal with their problems, the discontented youth population would provide a massive reservoir of energy for extremist parties.

We’re not there yet, or anything like it, but it’s worth remembering what lies down the end of this road: the (literal) foot soldiers of the fascist movements of the 20s and 30s were discontented youths convinced that a new, post-democratic politics, with a heavy emphasis on solidarity, was the wave of the future. . . .

The AfD aren’t the Nazis, and they aren’t overrunning Germany—yet. But if the crumbling liberal center of European politics wants to stave off an increasingly menacing series of right-wing threats, it will need to do the hard work to find answers for Europe’s struggling youth, and convince them of what was until recently blithely assumed: that the future still belongs to liberalism.

Fascism, like communism, is an opportunistic infection of the body politic, one that occurs when the institutions — and officeholders — of liberal democracy are too corrupt, or too weak, or both, to sustain business as usual. If you don’t like this outcome, don’t be weak and corrupt.

Related: “Politics is a business often insulated from the ramifications of failure.” More here.

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