Radical right and left: why two weights and two measures?

It is interesting to observe how much of the Italian press and mass media take a very different attitude in analyzing the advance in Europe of the radical left and right parties. Simplifying – but without straying too far from reality – the successes of the radical right are presented to the public as a grave danger for the entire continent. Those of the radical left, on the other hand, do not arouse the same concern and, very often, are perceived as a good (even if the degree of approval varies from newspaper to newspaper).

In my opinion it is legitimate, if not obligatory, to question the reasons for such different treatment in the two cases. I think that a first answer must be sought in the memories that the radical right has been evoking since the end of the Second World War. It happens that movements of that type immediately make one think of Nazism and Fascism, whose ghosts seemed – perhaps wrongly – banned forever.

However, it happens that history, in spite of many contrary opinions, does not proceed in a linear way, in the direction of growing progress and the universal affirmation of human rights. Rather, it tends to repeat itself, perhaps not in identical forms, but which nevertheless resemble each other.

At this point, however, a problem arises that raises perplexity. It is not only the right (I repeat: radical) that has so many skeletons in the closet, since even the left from this point of view is not joking.

There is no need to bother the usual Lenin and Stalin. A very recent past whispers the name of Pol Pot in our ears, and I add that even Mao and his followers – including the epigone Xi Jinping – have always practiced a policy based on the continuous and limitless repression of all kinds of dissent.

It is easy to answer that today's radical left has nothing to do with the aforementioned dictators, since its exponents seem rather the heirs of the unorthodox Marxism of the Frankfurt School and, in some cases, of anarchism. Maybe so. But then – I ask – why not grant the same inventory benefit to those in the opposite quadrant of the political spectrum?

In other words, why should we automatically consider the radical right the heir of Hitler and Mussolini, while it is asserted with certainty that the radical left has rid itself once and for all of the dark ghosts that have studded its history?

I ask the question without having ready answers at hand. I will limit myself to noting that the defense of national identities is considered right-wing, even if this fact is far from obvious. The same is true of the preference for assimilation rather than for multiculturalism. Finally, it is known that even right-wing authoritarianism and the proposal of laws of public order are sometimes equated. A rather strange equation, since "left" and "public order" – as history always shows – are by no means incompatible terms.

Today, when it comes to such topics, dramatic issues such as immigration immediately come to mind. But the current mentality applies the same distinctions even in cases of more limited scope. Demonstrations organized by groups of the radical right are always and inevitably branded as fascist regurgitations, to be fought in the most severe way.

Great tolerance is instead reserved for those organized by the extreme left, even if they end with the destruction of public goods and with violent attacks on the police, who often have to face acts of urban warfare carried out with strategies clearly planned in advance. Almost as if the guerrilla practiced by elements of the right could be condemned without appeal, while that of the opposite brand could be to some extent justifiable.

It is as if in Italian society (and in that of many European nations) a new form of common sense has spread in recent decades, according to which the radical left is in any case right and the others are wrong. A little strange, it seems to me. Returning to the initial considerations, we perceive the old idea that history is the stage of the struggle between Good and Evil, it being understood that the first is all on one side (the left) and the second all on the other (the right). . Is it legitimate to express doubts about it?

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This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Atlantico Quotidiano at the URL http://www.atlanticoquotidiano.it/quotidiano/destra-e-sinistra-radicali-perche-due-pesi-e-due-misure/ on Mon, 01 Mar 2021 04:51:00 +0000.