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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: November 9, 2010 @ 10:29 am

    Going to Extremes

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    Are we entering a period where fundamentalists will hold the world to ransom as with the Tea Party in the US and the settler movement in Israel? Click here.

    • Liam says:

      I dont know why you say Tea Party and whats happening in Israel in the same sentence. The Tea party unless its been completely hijacked by now was a bottom up attempt at calling a halt to the excessive policies of the government. The settler movements in Israel seem to be fairly well aligned with the objectives of the Israeli state. The first is a refrom movement the second is not. Am I missing something?

    • robespierre says:

      I don’t quite agree Deaglán. We are seeing local manifestations of a backlash against the greater excesses of the age of liberalism in individual freedoms and trade. The equality backlash came in the USSR and Eastern Europe in 1989/90 and continues to this day with Doi Moi in Vietnam and the gradualist economic opening in Cuba and China.

      We saw fraternity taken to its enth degree by fascists from the 1920s in Italy to the late 1970s in Chile. The backlash against the excesses of totalitarian fascism and communism was an all conquering form of liberalism that is based on a coda of human rights that while universal in the mind of Grotius are not accepted across the world as being universal e.g. the concept of female equality, the concept of marital rape, the concept of habeus corpus, the concept of a right to life, the concept of acceptable military behaviour etc.

      Equally, the trade system that accompanied this philosophy of liberalism has done more to promote global inequality than anything else in the book of man. The gulf between Niger or Mali and Singapore or Sweden has never been wider.

      What we are seeing is a gradual rejection of this model. The Tea Party does not want to be told by liberals what rights they do or do not have and they have a view of values versus rights that is different to Manhattan and Boston’s view. Religious freedom while promised by the US constitution has been sidelined by their form of federalism. All this in a country whose symbol of mammon is emblazoned with “In god we trust”.

      Equally the Tea Party believes in the old fashioned concept of mercantile trade rather than integrated trade. This is a partial rejection of comparative advantage. They would like the option of being able to buy an American version of almost anything so that they import only where it is to the national interest. Against this they would like to export more and feel they will be able to if it is more difficult for American companies to outsource manufacturing to their ASEAN partners.

      We have seen signs in Europe of ennui with integrationist policies in the EU. There is also ennui in parts of Europe with the influence of commission born red tape like the EU Directive on the production of caramel and caramel related products which is over 27000 words long. The Gettysburg address was a mere ten sentences.

      You have seen with the French approach to Roma that the rights agenda in Europe is also under threat from member states. That this took place while Bernard Kouchner is foreign minister – a living saint who founded Medecins sans frontieres – is even more remarkable. We also have Britain engaging in bi-lateral treaties with France on defence – bypassing common defence arrangements available to both countries under the Petersberg Tasks if they choose to use them.

      The world is changing for sure but how it will change none of us quite knows yet. We won’t see the fabled clash of civilisations but I do think we will see much greater realism in intra-state relations.

    • coldfusion says:

      Information empowers people and millions of people now have access to instant information via the Internet. Mobile phone technology, skype, etcetera makes communication and hence the organization of revolt quite unproblematic and possible. A columnist in a daily newspaper, if so inclined and convincing enough in his analysis, may incite a whole people to demonstrate against the ruling class of his own country.

      Heretofore, peoples have always wanted to do this, especially when the divide between rich and poor began to be manifestly unacceptable (or when a people was suffering greatly under a tyrant conqueror, for example) and the process to bring about change was very long and arduous and involved a great deal of human suffering; and who could say that revolt under these circumstances was not a just revolt.

      But today something different is happening. It would seem that disparate groups of politically aware, technology-savvy radicals can take it upon themselves to disrupt “the system” (whatever system is in operation) whenever they decide, and do so just because they can. Is this a good thing for society – for global society? Who knows? At any rate it is a different kind of war and it is clear that we have been going through a period of total access to information and ideas where very little regulation was in operation but imo that’s all going to change soon as power will fall into the hands of those who are savvy enough (or who can pay those who are savvy enough) to become adept at controlling and regulating information. Plus ça change………it’s just more instant………….but let us not forget, a virus could have brought about extinction for the dinosaur………….best laid plans, etc.

    • paul m says:

      well just as the Daily show in the states organised a rally against tea party ‘ideals’ and some of the more flamboyment tea party members running for election didnt find ground is a sign that even right wing republicans and their supporters find them a bit too extreme.

      we’re also seeing more of a movement from within Israel regarding the settlements there. This is but one example – where young jews protest at a netanyahu talk against the settlements:

      (NOTE: I clicked on the link you gave, but while it was playing, my laptop went bananas. I deleted it lest the same happen to someone else. It could be a fault in my own equipment but I don’t want to take that chance. Deaglán)

      and the fact that some israeli observers are giving ‘warning’ of palestine reaching the point of international recognition as a state is also a remarkable turn of events.

      its nothing new that conservative, facist, insular, whatever you want to call it, ideas come to the forefront in a recession or times of unrest. We’ve seen a lot of protests, over turned goverments and general economic unease over the last few years. People feel harrassed, stressed, and let down by those who supposedly shared their ideals and were put in power off the back of that. We have yet to see to what degree the more rational person will consider rowing in behind movements determined to undo freedom of travel, trade and culture that has grown out of centuries of war and unrest. Interesting times ahead.

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