In the Western world, there are currently three main directions of radicalization, in addition to some less influential directions. How can we reunite the reasonable middle under a powerful shared vision? First the problem definition.
What is radicalization?
Opinions about what radicalization entails and who belongs to a radical group are divided. The supporters of what others see as an axis of radicalization consider themselves idealistic, logical and innovative. This on varying grounds.
At visionair.nl we use, deliberately arbitrarily, the well-known laws of nature as a rock-solid foundation. The touchstone on which all other facts and opinions should be judged. An ideology that contradicts natural scientific reality, or other laws established with scientific rigidity, such as the human condition, is radical.
Based on this starting point, we arrive at a different distinction between radical schools of thought than the mainstream. In several respects, the mainstream, because of its deviation from natural science and democratic principles for ideological reasons, is like “radical middle”.
The first direction: Islamism
Islamism is chronologically the oldest of the three currently leading vectors of radicalization. Islamism is now at its recent peak and is now in former hotspots like Saudi Arabia and Sudan on her return. The current wave of Islamism is emerging from the - now diminishing - baby boom in the Islamic world and the Muslim minority in Western countries.
Islam, a political religion
Islamism is based on Sunni and Shia Islam, especially on the political component of these sects. Islamists, such as the late Sayyid Qutb, also like to lend themselves to other ideologies where it is useful to them. Islamism advocates a patriarchal polity based on Islamic Sharia law. Muslim adult men occupy the highest place in this, and the other groups are subject to discriminatory laws. Groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizb ut-Tahrir, also represented in the Low countries, advocate a global caliphate. in front of
Islamism, in Western countries, is particularly popular among converts to Islam and, to a lesser extent, the Muslim minority. The Islamism of the Muslim Brotherhood is dangerous because it strives out of sight for the Islamization of society. In terms of demography, the potential is limited, about five to seven percent of the Dutch population identifies itself as Muslim. The main danger lies in the insidious increase in the influence of Islamist ideas and group terror against ex-Muslims and non-mainstream Muslims.
The second direction: alt-right
In response to the attacks of September 11, 2001 and rising Islamism, and the lack of response by mainstream politics to this, a populist-nationalist movement arose in European countries. This derives its right to exist mainly from its opposition to Islamism and Islamic racism, but also from the neoliberal elite, which no longer stands up for the interests of indigenous disadvantaged groups. Populists do, after all, standing up for the people is the core of populism. This explains why a large part of the former left-wing electorate can now be found with parties such as the Dutch PVV.
Populism is another term for democracy. Democracy, government of the people by the people, is a value that is in line with the human condition and not radicalism. Also moderate, enlightened and inclusive nationalism is in itself, in principle, beneficial. Nationalists strive for a government that best represents the interests of its own people and a state that encompasses their group.
Peaceful Western and Central Europe as we know it today is the result of enlightened nationalism. As long as this pursuit takes into account the interests of other people, such as the Golden Rule, and is democratic and constructive, there is little wrong with this. Nationalists don't like it when others oppress them. So an enlightened nationalist will not do that either. Unfortunately, enlightened nationalists are not the rule.
This is different with the racist alt-right movement. The Alt-right, blown over from USA, holds neo-Nazi ideas and extolls racial superiority of the “white race” over other “races”. Here too the Jews play the role of bogeyman. There are no scientifically relevant data to support this view. For example, the scientific output of China is now higher than that of the Western world, and much of the research in the Western world is done by non-Westerners. This view is also contrary to human dignity.
In the Netherlands, the alt-right consists mainly of young supporters of the Forum for Democracy and the racist think tank Erkenbrand.
Although the number of followers of the alt-right movement is small in an absolute sense, its influence is large due to the generally high educational level, relatively high intellectual level and the coherent ideological alternative. The alt-right movement is elitist and grew in part in response to the third movement mentioned below.
The third direction: cultural relativism and identity politics
Identity politics stems from cultural relativism. Culture relativists believe that all cultures are equal and that there is no absolute truth. So the culture of, say, the Polynesians, those with sophisticated fish management methods could catch far more fish than the devastating factory ships of the illegal Usanese occupiers of Hawai'i, they say is on a par with the culture of the Yemenis, where the kidnapping, raping of women and fighting are highly regarded.
Racist Identity Politics
The advocates of identity politics, also known as wokeness, share the racist mindset of the alt-right, only it is directed differently. Namely on their own minority. There are endless minorities, in the view of the identitarians. Ethnic minorities, gays and other “non-heteronormative” people, non-Christians, people who have converted to the opposite sex or want to have it converted. This political trend is particularly popular among the highly educated, young people and ethnic minorities.
Membership of a minority determines how you are, according to this movement. And so what your truth is. You can also be a member of several minorities. Then you are intersectional busy, and you have an edge within the woke community. A shared value among these groups is a sense of being oppressed by the "white, male" majority. In other words, unity through victimhood. Logic and science do not count according to this group. After all, these are the products of Western patriarchal thinking. Feelings, especially the feeling of being hurt, are more important. Whether there is actually reason for this feeling, less.
Disjointed radicality of the main stream
The main stream parties PvdA, CDA, VVD and D66 call themselves “reasonable” and “pragmatic”, yet their loss of support is structural. Apparently, their idea of what is “reasonable” and “pragmatic” lands with fewer and fewer people. Cabinets consist of more and more different parties, and even then rely heavily on tolerance support, in order to obtain more than half of the seats. Their ideas are also radical, when compared to the Dutch mainstream, or from a historical perspective.
Attitude to the European Union
Unspoken visions that the main stream wholeheartedly agrees on is, firstly, the role of the Netherlands within the European Union and, underexposed in the press, the role the European Union must play in the world. Every mainstream party believes, for example, that the Netherlands should remain in the European Union and that this Union should become closer. This is a radical position. This means that less and less independence will remain for the Netherlands and that the Netherlands will eventually merge into a superstate with the size of a small continent. The Eighty Years' War was fought for less. However undemocratic this surrender of powers to the European Union may seem, it fits a pattern.
Attitude towards democratization
The main stream finds radical democrats like Wilders and the Socialist Party “indecent” and “inferior people”. An echo of Hillary Clinton's deplorables (about the support of her electoral competitors Sanders, and then Trump) is echoed in this. This is not unique from a historical perspective. Before the Second World War in the past, the social democratic party SDAP, which later became part of the PvdA, was controversial among “decent” people until the first government participation in 1939.
This is based on a barely concealed disregard for the rest of the population. Elections are necessary, but the voters should especially not get in the way when we, administrators, take care of things. And not exactly in a way that befits a representative of the people.
Attitude to business and capitalism
According to the mainstream, the market is the best way to solve problems. And it was privatized, in a rather amateurish way. In some cases it went well. Former state-owned company KPN functions reasonably well. Furthermore, we can mainly count failures. So are former crown jewels with high-quality knowledge, such as Organon, bought for little money by Usan multinationals and stripped of this valuable knowledge. The latest 'achievement' is the one that was first rolled back in 2020 sale of Intravacc, the research department of the former Dutch vaccine factory, which is now still continues. We are now seeing the consequences: thousands of lives and tens of billions of additional damage from the Covid-19 debacle.
And there is more. But in part 2 we come to alternatives.