Are Europe's 'Extreme Right' Parties Really So Extreme?

Not more than an hour -- or was it ten minutes -- after news broke of Monday night's truck terror attack in Berlin, reports began to appear from the usual suspects (CNN, Reuters, AP, BBC, etc.) with the requisite sentences and paragraphs expressing concern that the horrific event would play into the hands of the "extreme right-wing" parties of Europe.

Buried not so deep was the implication that, bad as these attacks were, something even worse loomed, the return of Nazism or Nazi-like fascism.

I have always wondered how accurate this characterization of parties like Germany's relatively new Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) as "far right"  (as the BBC did Monday) really was.  I have been to Germany several times, though not recently, so my knowledge is not first hand, but I am skeptical.

I was in England around the Brexit vote and got to speak with people who were members of or sympathetic to the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and didn't find any of them particularly fascistic. On the contrary, they wanted independence from the EU so they could have local democratic rule and determine the fate of their own country apart from the undemocratic Brussels bureaucracy. But perhaps I missed something.

Perhaps I missed something too when I traveled the country covering the Trump campaign and didn't find any fascistic leanings to speak of among his supporters -- no racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. -- just a monumental disgust with Washington and a feeling they had been substantially overlooked by a morally narcissistic liberal elite busy enriching themselves. (They had.)

Of course there are Nazis in the world. How could there not be in populations, American and European, that together approach a billion? Just about anything could be found. In the USA we have this white-supremacist character Richard Spencer, whose group consists of fewer people than are normally in line for pizza at Ray's, yet the press persists on making a big deal out of him for reasons that are laughably obvious.  (If Spencer would agree to wear a "Make America Great Again" hat, they'd put him on the cover of TIME.)

But these tiny groups, domestic and foreign, do not constitute the remotest proof that parties seeking to limit Islamic immigration in European countries are extreme or far right. This is what one might call  "guilt by the most minute association."

What is really going on is an ideological fracturing with extreme -- in the real sense -- violent implications.  The European left -- lost for so many years in a blind, virtue-signaling multiculturalism -- now has to come to grips with the fact that maybe all cultures are NOT equal, that some cultures truly are racist, sexist, and homophobic and are governed by a religious ideology that seeks to rule the world with no separation of mosque and state and human rights virtually non-existent, the very things the left claims it abhors. And those same leftists don't know how to handle this contradiction.  So they blame those who do and call them neo-Nazis.