The world is in turmoil. The US has its own problems and exports them all over the world in the form of far-right. Russia, it seems has found a perfect weapon against democracy and liberal values – trolls and fake news. China is doing its own thing. In Brazil, far right is in power. Some historians have even begun to draw parallels between what is now in the US and the beginnings of Nazi Germany. Even if they’re wrong, I personally do not recall seeing these kinds of comparisons during the nineties or 2000s. Some might say that I have not been looking at the right places and that this has been festering for a long time. That is certainly possible. The internet and social media have brought these kinds of ideas and persons from the margins into the full view and now you barely can escape them. They are everywhere, infecting everything, no doubt inspired by the people of the similar calibre being in the positions of power as well.
And they are doing damage. The Trump administration is undoing environmental regulations from the Obama era. In Brazil, they are talking about reducing protection for the rain forest. But their reach is not limited to the environment. Freedoms, rights and identities of people different from the straight white male archetype are under attack everywhere conservatives are in power.
And recipes of the far-right are being used here in Europe as well. Take for example Orban in Hungary who it seems has been using fake news to push his agenda. He was saying that the EU supports illegal immigration. Fake news has been one of the signature tactics of the far-right, both in Trump election and in Brexit.
I am saddened to say it, but these tactics of spreading fear and lies seem to be working. If the past trends with Brexit, Trump election and the various local elections here in the EU are anything to go by, we’re in for a tough time, with right-wing about to win huge gains for their cause in the form of seats in the European Parliament.
And it’s not only the matter of debunking fake news. If you look at the state of online media, the situation doesn’t look good. With the social networks unwilling or unable to regulate conspiracy theories, anti-vaxxers are thriving - which is a serious threat to global health in 2019 according to the World Health Organization.
This all is an indication of a more serious trend – the rise of anti-intellectualism. Take again anti-vaxxers. They are basically saying that surfing for a few hours on the site which reinforce their pre-existing beliefs is just as good as the credentials of hundreds, if not thousands of doctors and scientists. Some don’t even go that far. Take the flat-Earthers. They just prefer their own “common sense” to what scientists say. Not only do they prefer it, but they bask in it, use it as their advantage. They go about it from an angle of “street smarts” – why do you need all those physicists to tell you that the earth is round when you with your own eyes cannot see the curve, they say. As it is a shame to learn WHY you cannot see the curve and not instead simply have faith in yourself or something. Or take Creationists who claim that the Bible is proof enough of the age of the Earth – why would you listen to scientists? It says right here in the Bible.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Suffice to say, the world is heading into the far-right bonanza. Maybe it’s not in a great rush to get there, but things seem to move in that direction. And both the results of this trend and the means by which the thread is moving are bad. We have already experienced the results for ourselves – kids in cages in the US, environment getting worse and worse, women’s rights reduced, and increased violence based on race or religion. But, hey, the economy seems to go well, right? For now. With global warming and the rise of AI, huge disruptions will be happening in the economy as well and no country alone can handle these changes. Not without cooperation from other countries.
And the means and techniques far right used to get there are bad as well – lies, fake news, debate tricks and anti-intellectualism. What is the end result for many years in the future? Isolated countries only cooperating in trade and buffoons who reject science in charge of those countries? How can that future possibly hope to tackle disinformation, global warming, AI taking jobs and driving people to poverty?
Clearly, something should and must be done. We need to stand up to these people, we need to speak out. We need to prevent them from deciding our destiny for us. As you might or might now know, the Elections for the European Parliament are getting closer. They will be held on March 26th and are our next best chance to stand up for liberal values and tell the right wing and neo-Nazi hooligans that they do not speak for us. We want a future of unity, cooperation and understanding. We want to take control of our own destiny.
Because of all those reasons I will be speaking out even more for the #ProEU cause and sharing even more Pro-EU materials. Despite all its shortcomings and imperfections, I believe that the EU story is perhaps the most inspiring story humanity currently has to offer. That is why we should fight to preserve this extraordinary Union. That is why instead of destroying the EU we should reform it. We are Europeans. Even if your country is not in the EU, I expect you’ll join the cause and stand up for an organization which is the best hope for peace and economic prosperity on the continent.
This has been a blog post explaining the goals. In the next ones, we’ll look at WHY is the EU so important, what the EU does for us and why should we care about it. Stay tuned, we’re just beginning.