OPINION | Equating the Right with Nazism is an Old Leftist Ploy, It's Time to Bust the Myth
The Narendra Modi government has been criticised for letting European Union MPs into Jammu and Kashmir. A main plank of the criticism is that most EU MPs belonged to Right-wing parties. Ergo, they are Fascists, Nazis etc.
Equating the Right with Nazism is an old Leftist ploy. This, unfortunately, has been accepted and internalised by many public intellectuals and newspersons. It is time this myth is busted.
Winston Churchill was as Right-wing as any politician could be, and yet he led his nation against Nazi Germany with incredible courage and resolve. In fact, even before the Second World War, he was steadfastly opposed to Hitler and, of course, his own country’s appeasement of the Third Reich.
Further, his opposition was not just tactical; it emanated from his own faith in freedom and democracy. He wrote on October 23, 1937, “You cannot expect English people to be attracted by the brutal intolerances of Nazidom... We know that the best Germans are ashamed of the Nazi excesses...”
Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, two of the greatest leaders who have ever ruled in any part of the world, were also Rightists. Both resuscitated economic freedom in the West by emphasising on supply-side economics and promoting private enterprise. More importantly, their strong and resolute opposition to the machinations of the Soviet Union ensured the decline of Communism — the most dangerous ideology mankind has ever witnessed, the ideology that was responsible for the death of about 100 million people under Stalin, Mao, and others.
That both Reagan and Thatcher were Rightists was no quirk of fate. It was their unflinching faith in the cardinal beliefs of Western conservatism —individual liberty, market economy, and limited government — that steeled them to take on the bluff and bluster of the Soviets.
In short, we can assert that equating Fascism and Nazism with the Right is mischievous. At worst, the two ideologies could be seen as the extreme forms of the Right (just as Maoism is regarded as the violent fringe of the Left).
Few have noticed in our country that Leftists and Left-leaning intellectuals, who are quick to dub anybody they don’t like as Nazis, are themselves the folks who employ ‘intimidatory’ tactics with impunity; they try to bully, silence, and malign their ideological opponents. Their intolerance is not noticed primarily because of two reasons: first, they still dominate public discourse; and, second, their ‘sanskari’ opponents are no better as far as respect for free speech is concerned.
But the truth is that in the West, pinkish liberals have waged a jihad against freedom of expression. In February 2017, the University of California, Berkeley, was rocked by violent protests. Left students were agitating ahead of a speaking engagement by Right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos. They damaged property worth $100,000 in the campus.
Yiannopoulos said, “I’m just stunned that hundreds of people… were so threatened by the idea that a conservative speaker might be persuasive, interesting, funny and might take some people with him, they have to shut it down at all costs.”
Similarly, efforts were made to stop a speech by a conservative author, Matt Walsh, on April 9 this year at Baylor University, a prominent Texas Christian University. He, however, went on to present, as the university’s website said, “an altered and simpler version of his speech, The War on Reality: Why the Left has set out to redefine Life, Gender and Marriage, because of the online controversy that emerged after the event was announced.” The aggressors were Leftists.
In 2018, Sarah Lawrence College professor Samuel Abrams wrote an essay in the New York Times. He wrote, “Liberal staff members outnumber their conservative counterparts by the astonishing ratio of 12-to-one,” making them the “most Left-leaning group on campus”. He also had to face fierce opposition; his office door was vandalised. Left students campaigned against him; they maligned him no end. False accusations were hurled at him.
It not just young, hot-headed students on the Left who strive to stifle freedom; their teachers and top Left-liberal academics are bigger enemies of liberty. These folks peddle phony concepts like political correctness and micro-aggression. The former, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica, is a “term used to refer to language that seems intended to give the least amount of offense, especially when describing groups identified by external markers such as race, gender, culture, or sexual orientation.”
On the face of it, political correctness looks nice; in practice, however, it tends to censor language, especially under the censorious scrutiny of the lords and bishops of public discourse. Anything they dislike, they call ‘hate speech’.
A micro-aggression, says Merriam-Webster, is “a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalised group (such as a racial minority).”
In the hands of a self-righteous clique, that the Left-liberal establishment is, these tools have become potent weapons against free speech; and professional revolutionaries employ their weapons with much more efficacy and subtlety than Fascists and Nazis ever did.
And yet, Left-liberals have the temerity to call others, especially the Right, Fascist. Never was hypocrisy so brazen.
(Ravi Shanker Kapoor is the author of ‘There Is No Such Thing As Hate Speech’, Bloomsbury (2017), and a freelance journalist. Views are personal)