Thursday, April 2, 2020

Musings on "Horseshoe Theory"

 "Horseshoe Theory" - "also known as the horseshoe effect, in political science is a claim that the far-left and far-right are more similar to each other in essentials than either is to the political center.[note 1]
It was formulated by the French post-postmodernist philosopher Jean-Pierre Faye in 1996,[2] but similar ideas existed previously.[3] Faye believed that the extremes of the political spectrum both represented totalitarianism of different kinds; this meant that the political spectrum should not be described as a linear bar with the two ends representing the far-left and right being ideologically the furthest apart from each other, but as a horseshoe in which the two ends are closer to each other than to the center."

You can read the rest of that lengthy quote from, to find about the many variations and critiques of the concept. But right now I just want to talk about how centrist US Democrats have been using the theory and how it applies to them.

Centrist Democrats have been saying that "alt.right" (read: "fascists") and "leftist extremists" (read: "purity ponies") have essentially united in a "Red-Brown Alliance" that only reveals both groups' overall intellectual barrenness and uselessness.

This is, for the most part, stupid. The current Democratic Party elites are vermin. They're brazen shills for a thoroughly corrupt capitalist oligarchy who betray their supporters and the US-American people over and over again. Who willingly sacrifice the well-being of ordinary people for the continued super-profits of billionaire criminals. Of course they're going to be criticized!!

They are criticized on the right by common, mainstream Republicans, who vote the way they do out of a lazy adherence to tradition and devotion to a vague set of values about "hard work" and "freedom" and "family values." Some of their criticisms come from more hardcore Republicans. The mess of delusion and hypocrisy known as the "Tea Party." These folks are represented by the character of "Crazy Uncle Liberty" who spouts off their obnoxious, ignorant, hypocritical ravings online, via email, and at the dinner table. And, finally, there is the "alt.right." This is a tribe of openly racist, violently anti-democratic, pseudo-intellectual shitheads that has grown in numbers as neo-liberalism (pushed by both mainstream Democratic and Republican politicians) continues to wreak havoc among the population.

Harsh economic times created by elite corruption inevitably turns segments of the population towards extremist theories. "The center cannot hold." In the case of the "alt.right" their twisted, malformed minds cause them to disregard the facts and instead concoct crackpot theories which create scapegoats to blame for their problems and subsequently attack. Some of these dangerous idiots supported Donald Trump against the Republican establishment due to his being openly racist and for his stated opposition to the Washington Consensus of "free trade" ("globalism") and imperialist wars.

What to say? Do supporters of the current Democratic Party leadership deny the reality of oligarchic corruption? Do they pretend that Obama did not form his Cabinet from a list of names provided by Goldman Sachs? Do they deny that Hillary Clinton accepted $3 million dollars to give a series of speeches to Wall Street titans (or that her and her husband's combined haul from "speaking fees" from the time of his leaving the presidency to the announcement of her 2016 presidential campaign) was $153 million?

There's a lot to criticize the Democratic leadership for. Therefore it's not surprising that their critics on the right and the far-right might occasionally have legitimate things to say when they criticize them, however distorted by partisan blindness and hypocrisy, or delusion, or racist insanity.

So, because there's a lot to criticize, the right-wing occasionally shares some of them with people to the left of the Democratic leadership. And, on the left, moderates who supported Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will share the odd critique of the Democratic leadership with authoritarian, racist (usually anti-Semitic) denizens of the far-left. (I'd get a link to explain far-left anti-Semitism, but I'd have to wade through page after page of cynical right-wing drivel about how Hitler was a socialist, or cynical Zionist drivel about how criticizing Israeli barbarism is anti-Semitic.) Essentially, the left-wing anti-Semitism arises out of the fact that there was a Jewish presence in international finance (due to European Christendom's once held belief that loaning money at interest was prohibited) and using that to spew nonsense about how the entire world is run by the Rothschild family.

And here we go: Supporters of the current Democratic Party leadership (that is, supporters of people like Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, the Clintons, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Neera Tanden, the Cuomos, Joe Biden) actually believe that (in their version of the "horseshoe theory") alt.right fascists are the right-wing equivalent of Bernie Sanders supporters! That's right! Supporters of a long-time Vermont Senator who self-describes ad "Independent" but generally caucuses with the Democrats, and who is trying to campaign openly for the party's presidential nomination on a platform of FDR-LBJ social welfare programs, are the equivalent with far-right Nazis!

And why is that? Why! Because they both criticize the Democratic Party leadership! (Who are supposedly above criticism.) Do progressives say that the Democratic Party is corrupt? Well, so do Trump supporters! You see? They're exactly the same!

Obviously this is a false equivalence. And I don't like to engage in false equivalencies. So, I'm not going to say that radical-centrist Democrats are the equivalent of Donald Trump supporters or alt.right nazis. I do, however, notice that mainstream Democrats share Donald Trump's antipathy to Venezuela's Bolivarian government. And they both share the asinine belief that Bolivia's Morales and his Indigeneous supporters are to blame for the racist coup that overthrew Morales' government because they got too uppity. And they both like to use election fraud to defeat their opponents. Don't they both support the unjust spying and civil liberties-busting powers of the surveillance state? And they both are slavish devotees of their respective bullshit propaganda outlets. And they both are devoted to regime change in Syria in favour of Jihaadist nutbars taking over the country and plunging it into chaos.

And both centrist Dems who support Joe Biden and Trump supporters appear unembarrassed about their devotion to disgusting travesties of human beings. Trump supporters swoon over their lazy, stupid, fat, yellow-haired combed over, spray-tanned, incoherent, racist, mushroom penis, rapist creep who openly lusts after his own daughter, serial fraudster, lying dipshit. And Biden supporters see nothing to question about their own excitement over a senile, rapist, racist who fabricates his Civil Rights activism, war-monger, authoritarian, corrupt, lazy, and stupid, ignorant, plagiarizing, scumbag.

And, finally, from my recent dealings with a shit-headed commenter, ... both right-wing trolls and Democratic trolls share an inability to construct an argument and so revert to puerile attempts at goading and insults.

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