What Does “Far Right” Mean?

What Does “Far Right” Mean? June 12, 2024

What Does “Far Right” Mean?

The European Union recently held elections for its parliament. The big news is that the allegedly “far right” parties gained many seats. According to many news commentators, this is bad news for Europe and possibly for the world.

Rarely, however, do they explain what they mean by “far right” or “extreme right.” What makes a political party or politician “far right?” The same can be asked about the label “far [or extreme] left.” What does it mean?

The talking heads (and writers) seem to think we should know what they mean when they label a political leader or party “far right” or “far left.” But what I am coming to think is that these labels ONLY mean that the party or person so labeled is somewhere to the right or left of the talking head (or writer). I have watched numerous Youtube videos of political pundits talking about the EU election. So far all of them, without exception, have used these labels without even attempting to explain them.

But I have discerned, perhaps wrongly, but I think rightly, that right now, in Europe at least, “far right” means anti-immigration although the partisans of the so labeled parties always say they are not anti-immigration per se but anti-illegal immigration and anti-overwhelming, “open borders,” immigration.

Another thing “far right” seems to mean is favoring “illiberal democracy,” whatever exactly that is. It’s a fairly recent term and is most often illustrated by reference to Hungary’s prime minister Orban. So what exactly does it mean? And why is it bad? I have watched and listened to some very astute, highly respected commentators who have tried to explain it but have not done so with any clarity. It certainly sounds bad—to someone who is liberal. But so what? What does it actually mean? How can a society be democratic but “illiberal?”

From what I can discern it is supposed to mean a society with free and fair elections where the majority of people choose to elect an autocrat as leader. But what head of state or head of government is not autocratic? Switzerland is so averse to autocracy that they do not have a single head of government. The country is led by a council of people elected by the people with no one leader. Leadership rotates among the council members.

To my point—it seems these labels are being thrown around for propagandistic purposes since nobody seems to be able to define them.

I grow increasingly skeptical of contemporary Western “reporting.” (I can’t comment on other reporting as I’m not very familiar with it. I “watch” (view and listen to) many news reports and commentaries from Europe and America including Canada). Words are too often used far too loosely without definition or description. There is too much commentary and not enough real reporting on events without bias. Political jousting has invaded news reporting.

Walter Cronkite! Where are you? We need you.

*Note: If you choose to comment, make sure your comment is relatively brief (no more than 100 words), on topic, addressed to me, civil and respectful (not hostile or argumentative), and devoid of pictures or links.*

 

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