Sunday, 19 March 2017

Populism versus Progressivism

2016 was a watershed year in politics. With Brexit and the stunning election of Trump as U.S. President the word populism has been used to describe anything that is not politically progressive. What is ignored is the reason for the shift to populism.

The liberal media brands anything which is not progressive as far-right, alt-right or populism. The label of fascism is now commonly used to describe any policy that the liberal left opposes. The freedom of speech and freedom of expression is being challenged by the left as they attempt to impose their beliefs on the citizenry.

For over two decades the left has changed its name from Socialist and Liberal to Progressive in an attempt to garner more votes. What is not understood by the vast majority of voters is that progressivism has nothing to do with progress, but rather the imposition of socialist dogma. Using progressivism, many leftist governments including those of Blair, Clinton, Obama. Hollande and even Merkel, have embraced policies and international agreements. Their affiliations with international organizations such as the E.U, the United Nations, The International Monetary Fund, etc., have reduced national sovereignty through multilateralism.

While the initial intentions of these organizations were altruistic, in recent past their policies have been more towards the formation of a one world order or government. The demand by progressives to have international laws dictate national policies on gun, gender, religion, education and immigration is causing havoc on national cultures.
 Let us look at some of these policies. Climate change policies, as they turn out, are nothing but a ploy for the redistribution of wealth, with very little effect on the environment. The U.N’s refugee agreement is now causing major disruptions in the Western world as increasing number of people, some legitimate and some not so legitimate claim to be refugees. Illegal immigration in Europe and in the United States is often used by terrorists, drug and human traffickers.
 Globalisation under the fa├žade of free trade is now often used to push for issues other than fair or real trade. Progressives believe that we should no longer have borders and that immigration should be devoid of national regulations. President Trump’s travel ban on the same countries imposed by Obama, is now being challenged in court as a Muslim ban. Canadian students and Girl Guides visits to the United States have been cancelled because it may affect some participants’ visas. In reality the ban would not affect any legitimate traveller, but instead is being used as a pretext by the left to label Trump as a racist.
The idea that culture should be homogeneous is creating rifts in nations and even communities. The wearing of religious garments, mainly by Muslims, has become a lightning rod for the left. Islamophobia is the latest rallying cry for the left who refuse to acknowledge that there are more attacks on other religions than on Muslims except by terrorists, while they organize protests in favor of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel. Schools are being forced to allocate time for Muslims to pray. Imposition of Laws that demand that transgender people can use the bathroom of their choice or that businesses no longer have the right to serve or not serve people whose lifestyles may affect their religious beliefs.
 Universities are now becoming places of intolerance. Academic freedom is increasingly reserved for liberal professors, whereas conservative lecturers are being ostracised for their opinions. Supported by a Liberal media, it seems that freedom of speech is now the sole domain of progressives. Multicultural policies have helped to ‘ghettorize’ certain parts of the western world. In Europe there is no assimilation of immigrants within the country’s culture instead we have ‘No Go ‘zones where even law enforcement is reluctant to enter.

The judiciary is complicit in this attempt to move cultures to the left. Human rights legislations which were designed to stem some of humanity’s worst traits, has been used to muzzle or even ostracized people with common sense thinking. Political correctness, the core belief of progressives is now under attack by an increasingly worried citizenry. The rise and bias of progressivism has resulted in a backlash which has given rise to populism.

Despite the loss by Geert Wilders’ party in the Netherlands, it is yet to be seen what happens in the French and German elections. While the right may not win majorities, it is quite possible that they may make gains. The shift against progressivism in Europe is real. The unfortunate part about this backlash against progressivism is that it invites far-right parties into the political mainstream.

The idea that multiculturalism and multilateralism is the wave of the future is going to be challenged as progressive governments fall. Many of the progressive policies of the past have created more problems than improve the plight of the masses. Multiculturalism instead of assimilation and integration is the root cause of much of the immigrants’ problems of today. Despite the claim of the left as champions of the middle class, progressives have in fact reduced the wealth of the middle class. Foreign aid as a core principle of the left has created more wealthy despots in the third world instead of helping the poor.

The rise of populism is not going to be stemmed by progressives, because ordinary citizens are being affected economically and culturally. Call it Trumpism or populism, reality is that it is a growing movement of people taking back their countries from the elites of the left.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Good Cop, Bad Cop

Let’s face it; President Trump is not the greatest orator we have seen in the White House. He refuses to be politically correct, and the elite will call him un-Presidential.
However if there is one thing about him that resonates with the people is that he is uncompromising in his beliefs and he speaks in terms that are easily understood by the common man.
To the elite media, being Presidential seems to be that a President should speak in terms that are endearing and not combative. They would like to see the use of politically correct terms in every speech. His statements will be parsed by the media to find fault and discredit his policies. Trump is no wordsmith. Very often what he says may not seem to be the right tone or context. His executive orders are followed by tweets that sometime get contradicted by his cabinet members.

In his first month as President, he has signed multitudes of executive orders and created jobs, while operating without a full cabinet. The Democrats still in a state of shock have blocked many of his appointees and thus slowdown his progress. While the roll out of some of his executive orders have been less than perfect, he has delivered on several of his campaign promises – a rarity for a politician. His problem resides in the opposition from the disaffected Democratic Party and the media. However in many cases his problems are self-inflicted, this is where his cabinet comes in to put things in the right perspective.

 While it is anti-Semitism which is apparently on the rise, the left will use xenophobia and Islamophobia to demonize his policies. Yet the same media that attack Trump have short memories, given that they support Salman Rushdie author of the Satanic Verses, and Kiefer Sutherland actor and executive producer of 24, and 24 Legacy. Both of these darlings of the left portray Islam as an enemy. In Canada the anti-Islamophobia M-103 may well degenerate into laws equivalent to a fatwah issued by a Ayatollah. But many citizens are afraid to express their doubts and concerns about Islamic terrorism because they are afraid of being branded as racist or xenophobic. Trump on the other hand is not afraid to express his thoughts and policies, which in the main are supported by a silent majority, despite the number of leftist protesters around the world.

On NATO, his pronouncement that it is defective has already produced some results as his Vice President got allies to agree to increase their contribution to the organization, except so far by Canada. While his tweets have caused problems the world has been put on notice that his immigration plans are under way. His first roll out was marred by administrative problems, and challenged by the courts not on legal but rather on moral grounds. The Trump administration has started the deportation of illegal immigrants. His use of the word ‘military, has caused the media to go into full attack mode, but the fact remains that Obama deported more illegals than any previous administration yet with nary a peep from the media. His travel ban is for the same seven countries issued by Obama, but now it is called a ‘Muslim’ ban.

His attack on globalism may not be supported by the left, but it is a real concern for many. While I am a supporter of free and fair trade, I recognize that international organizations like the World Bank, NAFTA, TPP, the U.N and the E.U have taken the trade and other international agreements to a level that now encompasses many progressive ideas. Open borders and international laws are now being used to supersede national laws. It is no wonder that in many industrialised countries there is a growing movement towards nationalism and populism. Trump and Brexit are perfect examples of this movement, soon probably to be followed by the election of Marine Le Pen in France and the demise of Merkel in Germany.

In my view, the media is underestimating Trump. He is not the usual politician that they have been accustomed to for years. He will retaliate in terms that are not politically correct. His attacks on things he does not like and that he promised to reverse during his campaign will alienate many, but so far he has kept his promises. Some may disagree with his bombastic and sometime simplified rhetoric, but it rings true to the ordinary people in Main Street, who have been ignored by the elite left.

Trump has surrounded himself with many good and competent people, who disagree with him on certain issues. Better these people than the sycophants in the media. His good cop, bad cop strategy may well work if he focusses his energy on the things that really matter: tax reform, Obamacare, smaller government, security and immigration. I give him the benefit of the doubt, while he learns how to combat the bureaucracy and drains the swamp. He was Presidential; not to the media, but in his first Address to Congress – where it really matters. Without being biased I believe that he may well be a resounding success. It is only his first month in office – only time will tell.