Atul Singh: “The Global Rise of the Far Right” | Talks at Google

Atul Singh: “The Global Rise of the Far Right” | Talks at Google

name’s Joseph Smarr. I’m an engineer on the
Google Photos team. And I’m delighted to have
Atul Singh here with us to– I can’t resist saying a
little bit about his biography, because I think– you
know that Dos Equis commercial for the most
interesting man in the world? Still, it’s like a slightly
dated reference by now. But I think Atul might
be my candidate vote if I had to vote
for a real life most interesting man in the world. And maybe you’ll
see why in a second. So he was born in Goa,
India, and quickly became somewhat infamous, I would
say, because as a teenager, he became very active in
protesting what he saw as the political corruption
in the Indian royal families, and Indian government
and so forth, and developed
quite a reputation. He then went on to become an
officer in the Indian military, and was in combat in Kashmir and
in several other active combat zones against Islamic
fundamentalists and so forth. Luckily, he seems
to have survived. He then became a deep scholar. He has advanced degrees from
Oxford, and the Wharton School, and other places,
and was for a while a corporate lawyer at one of
the most prestigious firms in London, representing Goldman
Sachs and the London Olympics and other sorts of places. But in 2010, he decided
to abandon all of that and start “Fair Observer,”
which is a sort of news magazine journalism outfit. It’s a nonprofit with
a very global focus. And for me, it’s something
where I’ve learned more and felt like I’ve gotten a sort
of more deep and unbiased look at what’s going on
around the world and a more integrated, global
approach to understanding the news than almost any other
publication I can think of. And I think that’s
largely thanks to Atul. And he’s actually
recruited sort of a network of journalists across
the world to help contribute to “Fair Observer.” And he also writes for
it himself, of course. And beyond that, you can
go to if you want to check it out. I would encourage
you to do that. He’s also written for
“Huffington Post” and “Al Jazeera,” and other
places like that. And in addition to that, he
teaches political economy at both Berkeley and at the
IIT, and travels back and forth. He’s a poet. He was a former
Himalayan mountaineer. He’s written an
award-winning play. He speaks– ATUL SINGH: Not quite. [LAUGHING] JOSEPH SMARR: He speaks six
or seven different languages from what I understand. And anyway, the point being,
I think you get the idea. It’s a pretty unique
set of background, and I think makes him– oh,
sorry– I think uniquely qualified to speak to–
there’s a set of things going around the world right
now, obviously, that have us all kind of
confused and worried. And Atul’s sort of integrative
approach to both understanding the history and
context of what’s going on in each
of these countries, and also an ability to sort
of synthesize it together, I think, is what
makes me so excited for him to come and talk
to us about the global rise of the far right. So with that,
please, take it away. Thank you, Atul. [APPLAUSE] ATUL SINGH: Thank you,
Joseph, for your kind words. It’s a real pleasure
and a privilege and an honor to be here. Thank you so much
for coming over. Thank you, Joseph,
for hosting me. I have to thank my
team, first of all. And they are folks
who have worked with me, trudged the lows. And we are hoping for the highs. We have a managing editor who’s
written the book, “The Arab Uprisings,” and
he speaks Arabic. And we have a Deputy Managing
Editor who’s Russian, and her name is
Anna Pivovarchuk. So imagine an Arab, a Russian,
and an Indian heading a ship. And somehow, it manages to work. And that’s “Fair Observer.” And we have 1,600 plus writers. We’re nearing to 1,700 writers
now from over 40 countries. And the premise is very simple. The premise is if I
speak, and I give you a point of view, that’s
one point of view informed by my experience, my
cultural background, my philosophical beliefs, and
my historical understanding. But if, let’s say, I put
forth my point of view, and Joseph did, and Shael did,
who’s sitting in the first row, and Alexander did, who’s sitting
in the back with a Sydney t-shirt, and so
did others, then we would get a better to a better
understanding of the world, because each of us
has blind sites. And when we share ideas,
and we share our thoughts, and we somehow think
through things together, cutting across borders,
backgrounds, and beliefs, we get a better
approximation of the truth. So, so much so for the
fundamental philosophical idea behind “Fair Observer.” I am told I should tell
everyone these days to like us on social media. I always forget that. So now, since I’m at Google,
I’m telling you all to like us on Google+, of course,
first, followed by Facebook and Twitter, and sign
up for our newsletter. So now that I’ve done
the mandatory pitch that my team would
be proud of, let’s get cracking into a
rather somber issue. And the somber issue
is, very frankly, the global rise
of the far right. Now before we carry
on into examining what is the far right, let’s
understand what is the right. And I have a very advanced
piece of technology in Google that helps me. It is this. It was invented a while
ago, apparently in China. And there’s another thing called
this, which is pencil, right? And I tend to write my things
like this, as you can see. I have really adapted
to the 21st century. But if you look at the
origins of the word the right, it goes back to that wonderful
event, or not so wonderful event, depending on your
point of view, which was the French Revolution. And after the French
Revolution, those who supported l’ancien
regime, the old regime, sat on the right. [FRENCH] And those who basically wanted
revolution, and some of them wanted heads to roll, and heads
did roll, sat on the left, [FRENCH]. And those on the right believed
in hierarchy, tradition, clericalism, which is you
should go to mass every Sunday. I doubt very many Googlers do. You’re all sinners, right? Or not all. Some of you are not sinners. But anyway, the people
who sat on the right also believed that inequality
and social stratification were the natural order
of the universe, which as George Orwell
put memorably, “some are more equal than others.” So those who are clever and who
are engineers work at Google, and those who have no skills
except rudimentary pencil skills live like our
artists in a garret. That’s the natural
stratification of the universe. And I’m just a
modern manifestation. And of course, those who
do other menial jobs are further down in the pecking
order of the universe and get paid accordingly. Now, that premise that
inequality is important changes for the right over time. Instead of becoming
something by birth, it becomes something
by ability and effort. Now, what is that fundamental
belief on the right? It is very simple. If you give everyone the same
outcome, no one will work. And it won’t be fair. So if Joseph works
100 hour weeks, he deserves a fine
villa by the sea. And if, let’s say,
Shael is lazy, he deserves to be
homeless and bum around. And maybe if Joseph
is feeling charitable, he can give Shael a piece of
bread, and maybe some gruel. And then, Shael
can be Oliver Twist and say, “Please, sir,
can I have some more?” But the premise of the
right is very simple. It’s that the competitive
free market is largely just, because people should
get what they deserve. The just desserts. Not desserts as in ice
cream, but just desserts. And the competitive free market,
according to this belief, is free. It is largely fair, and
it rewards ingenuity and industriousness. So if you’re innovative,
you come up with a new idea, and you somehow make that idea
popular by working very hard, you deserve greater rewards
than those who don’t. And in this premise– sorry,
in this belief system, is another premise that
markets achieve better outcomes than governments, because
governments are top-down. Governments are authoritarian. Governments don’t have
those price signals. So trusting markets is more
efficient than trusting governments. And that brings us
to something else, which I call the equity
efficiency paradox, or if equity
efficiency paradigm. And that is in the era of
the modern left– modern, I would say, post-Second
World War– and right is the fundamental
defining feature for two sides of the
political divide. If you are the
Labor Party in 1945, and you’ve just
won the election, you believe in a
National Health Service, because you believe that
the inefficiency that will be inherent in the
National Health Service maybe the drop in
innovation that might happen because of a bureaucracy,
is worth it for greater equity. Everyone deserves
health care as a right. That is a premise that
the left all across Europe operates from. Everyone deserves
schooling as a right. Everyone deserves certain
inalienable rights that are more than just liberty
of expression and belief. Now if you’re on
the right, you say, the equity efficiency paradigm
is getting a little too unbalanced. Because what we
believe is in freedom, and freedom includes
the freedom to fail, and freedom includes,
at its most extreme, the freedom to die. You just didn’t make it in
the evolutionary struggle. It’s a Darwinian view. But there is something to
be said for both sides. Because when societies
tip over to the extreme, far to the extreme of any
side, they sort of meander and lose something intangible. It’s that critical balance. And that critical balance is
different for every society. Now, so much so for
this distinction between left and right. Let us understand
what is the far right. Now the far right takes ideas
of inequality and stratification to absurd levels. It bases them not just on
birth, which is basically class and heredity, not
just on outcomes, which is belief in the free market. It bases them on these ideas
of nation, race, ethnicity, or even religion. So the classic example
is Nazi Germany. And Nazi Germany,
lest we forget, was the National Socialist
German Workers’ Party. There was the word
socialist in it. Most people forget that. Most people think they were
just this far right group, which wanted complete
unfettered freedom, and that included freedom to
kill the gypsies and the Jews. But it was a little
more complex than that. And that brings me
to a second point. The first one that
I made was the far right is predicated on nation,
race, ethnicity, religion, et cetera. The second one is
that the far right tends to be a strange
amalgamation of the right and left, which is
often forgotten. In terms of identity,
it draws upon the right. It draws upon
something primeval. It draws upon this idea that
the German people, [GERMAN], we are one people. We are somehow special. We are superior. All right. But the economics,
now that everyone is special, now that
everyone is superior, then suddenly turn left wing,
because if everyone belonging to a certain race is superior,
then no one should be starving. So you have Hitler Youth. You pack off all the
nice, blonde, tall people to exercise and spend
time in the countryside, and the Untermenschen
conveniently to concentration camps. But if you are from
the superior race, then you function
collectively together. So well, the
Autobahn gets built. You have Keynesian policies. In fact, Nazi Germany has, if
you look at it objectively, has more Keynesian
policies than either the UK at that time or the US. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s
economic policies and Adolf Hitler’s
economic policies are strikingly similar. Huge investment in public
infrastructure for a start. Greater focus on equity. So as I said, the
identity for the far right comes from the right, and the
economics of the far right comes from the left. It becomes a strange beast. And the Marxist view of
Nazis is equally flawed as Friedrich von Hayek’s
views of the Nazis. Now Marxists view it as
the extreme corruption of a free market system. And they blame the rise of Nazi
Germany on the capitalist model of government. Friedrich von Hayek, who taught
at the University of Chicago– and mind you, he
was a Viennese Jew. He had fled the
Vienna that had been the center of the great Jewish
intellectual Renaissance just as the far right
started rising to London, and he taught at the
London School of Economics, and then made his
way to the US, where his ideas were popularized
in the “Reader’s Digest” simplification of his work,
“The Road to Serfdom.” And he used to shudder like good
Austrian aristocrats often did, as did Freud, actually,
at the simplification of his ideas in this wonderful,
grand, and glorious land. But fundamentally,
Friedrich von Hayek says that, well, what you’re
seeing in the Nazi party is the accretion of
powers of the state. And once the state
becomes too powerful, the individual loses liberty. And once the individual
loses liberty, he becomes a serf, because a
bureaucrat, a petty bureaucrat, tells him what to
do, or her to do, and everything goes belly up. Peter Thiel would be delighted. As we know, he’s very delighted
with Donald Trump these days. He is a cheerleader
for Donald Trump, except that he doesn’t
have very long legs, and he doesn’t
wear short skirts. Mercifully so, thankfully. Anyway. [LAUGHING] So why are we
talking about the rise of the far right? The rise of the far right
is important because of certain developments. And I’m not going to go
through every country. But I’m going to take
certain European examples, because Europe has a
history with the far right, and the European
nation states, which was born in 1648 at the
end of the 30 Years’ War, is the model
everyone else adopts with varying degrees
of success and failure, whether it’s Africa,
Latin America, or Asia. And arguably, you can say
that in the Middle East, the failure of the
Westphalian model as demonstrated by the rise
of the Islamic State, and the reversion to
the Shiite Sunni schism, overlaid with tribal
rivalries, overlaid with regional rivalries,
overlaid with superpower meddling, has led to their
version of the 30 Years’ War. Now, you may not believe that. You may have a
different argument. But what is certainly true is
that the nation state of Iraq created through a stroke of the
pen in the post-colonial era, and the nation state of Syria,
and many other such entities are actually de
facto nonexistent. But let’s revert to Europe. And let’s look at, let’s
say, five examples– two at the fringes of Europe,
three at the heart of Europe. The first example is
Austria, obviously, because Hitler was Austrian. People forget that. We have someone with
an Austrian wife, and we have someone
who is part Austrian. And we have the rise of
someone called Norbert Hofer. Am I getting it right? More or less. OK. My apologies to
all the Austrians for my terrible pronunciation. But this chap carries a
Glock 9-millimeter pistol. This chap is a 45-year-old
aeronautical engineer. Now, you know, I am
one of those people who failed to get into IIT. My rambling brief biography
doesn’t demonstrate the fact that I’ve actually been
muddled, and confused, and tried a few things, and
failed at more than one thing. But I didn’t get into IIT. It makes me feel quite
good about myself when I see 45-year-old
aeronautical engineers who had the freedom
[INAUDIBLE], which has everything to do with a
lot of things except freedom. Now, he is against immigration. He has four children. He’s the picture
of family values. He wears the blue
cornflower which is a clandestine Nazi symbol,
and believes in pan-Germanism, and all that. And the interesting thing
is he keeps pointing out that Austria is no longer
safe, because in 2015, 90,000 migrants slash refugees were
let into that tiny country, and they are rupturing
the social contract. That sounds familiar? Right? Now, just before you
think Austria is unique, take a look at France. Marine Le Pen of the
National Front, and of course her lovely niece, her
highly attractive niece, Marion Marechal-Le
Pen, who doesn’t quite have a similarly
attractive personality. But as a French [FRENCH], she
is delightful and delectable to look at. But more importantly,
the views of these ladies are disconcerting
and disturbing. And what is even
more disconcerting is in December in a regional
vote, they got 28% of the vote. That is nearly a third. That is just a few
votes off what the Nazis got when they won power. People forget the Nazis barely
got a third of the vote. They didn’t ever get a
majority of the German vote. Now, her ideas have been derived
from her father, Jean-Marie. And Jean-Marie once
said Nazi gas chambers were a mere detail of history. So you’re sort of
getting the idea of where the party is coming from, but
Marine has been very clever. Instead of focusing
on Jews as a problem, she reels against
Islamification, globalization, the EU, and the euro. It is an appeal to [FRENCH],
the grand nation of France, and the ethnic purity of France. And she’s a complex character. But she’s the new face
of the French far right. She succeeded her
father, and made the party far more respectable. Now let’s look at Hungary. Well, I won’t go
too much into it, but suffice to say Hungary
has a rising far right, which is dangerous. And Hungary was once a part of
the Austro-Hungarian empire. And Hungarians have
a very strong sense of ethnicity and ethnic pride. For those of you who’ve
spent time there, you realize the enormous pride. But that is now
manifesting itself in slightly disturbing ways. The last two examples. The fourth example is Turkey. And everyone’s heard of
Recep Tayyip Erdogan. And we know what is
happening in Turkey– the purge, the targeting
of both the Kurds and the Islamic State. But at the same time,
Erdogan is Islamist himself. He’s also targeting
the Gulen Movement. And so it’s a very
messy place, but he’s appealing to an ethnic,
religious sense of grandiosity, and he’s building symbols,
he’s concentrating power. He’s doing a lot of things which
far right leaders tend to do. Although so far he’s never been
considered really far right. And of course,
the fifth example, how could I leave them
out, the fifth example is the wonderful Russians. Let’s look at Russia. Vladimir Putin rode
to power on a platform of ethnic nationalism,
by crushing the revolt in Chechnya. And over time, the
sense of Russian pride has been strengthened,
the sense of projecting power has strengthened, and the
decaying Russian empire, which morphed into the Soviet
Union, and even when the Soviet Union collapsed, the
decaying Russian empire never entirely did, because you
had Ukraine that continued to be in a sphere of influence. You had other minorities
in Chechnya, Dagestan, et cetera, the Caucasus. And control was retained
through an iron hand. There wasn’t even
the velvet glove. The iron fist it was bare
naked, and pretty bloody. If you look at Kadyrov,
his henchman in Chechnya, he has a reputation of
blow torching people alive. So that’s a very interesting
look at the far right across Europe. Those of you who are Americans,
and those of you who not, who are just living here,
but paying taxes here, now are seeing the spectacle
of the rise of Donald Trump. And Donald Trump, in
more ways than one, reflects many of the
tendencies and characteristics of far right leaders. His economics, they
tend to be more to the left–
protectionism, talks about putting Americans first. But his identity–
Muslims are bad. They should not be
allowed to come in. Mexicans, we need a wall, and
Mexico is going to pay for it. And the wall’s going to be huge. But all of which is
code, in many ways, to a certain idyllic past. And he is appealing to
certain ideas that have always been there, in some
ways, arguably, they were made respectable
by Ronald Reagan when he kicked off his
campaign in Neshoba, and talked about states’ rights. Now, that’s where “Mississippi
Burning” was based on. That’s where three Jewish
anti-segregation kids were simply murdered. And so when he went and talked
about state’s rights there– and you can hear that
speech on YouTube– it’s code for you can
have segregation again. And of course, he
supported apartheid abroad. But what Trump is
doing is taking it from code, from dog
whistle standards, to absolute overt, naked, crude,
rude, brutish intolerance, as well as an appeal based
on ethnicity, based on a certain idea
of America that runs contrary to certain other
aspects and ideals of America, and one would argue the more
dominant aspects of America. When I look around
this room, and I look at the various ethnicities,
at the various nationalities, at the diversity
that you see here, this could not happen in India. This is what makes the US
special, the fact that you have some sort of a melting pot,
which cuts across, shall we say, ethnicity, that
cuts across religion, that cuts across many
of the other ties that define other countries. But yet America has
also had an underbelly. Because whilst it has
been an immigrant country, it has also been a country which
practiced slavery for a while, and much of the country was
built on the backs of slaves. It’s also been a country where
the Native Americans were victims of really genocide. So there’s an underbelly, too,
that exists simultaneously. And what Trump is
doing is appealing to that sense of pride and
domination and strength. And the question
is, how can people like Le Pen, Trump, and Hofer–
Hofer, right– Hofer rise? Because frankly, they are a
bit ridiculous, and ludicrous, actually. Think of it. So was Hitler with his
mustache and crappy hair. [LAUGHING] Right? And all his strange gestures. He didn’t look Aryan. I mean, he looked many
things, but not Aryan. Not his own version of Aryan. He wasn’t a tall, blonde,
particularly manly chap. After all, he had one ball. He didn’t even have two balls. Now, so how are these ridiculous
figures coming to power? And I have a premise. And I have ideas. I have three arguments. Like a good Oxford debater, you
always have three arguments. Argument one is the far
right is rising because of the failures of the
elites, the multiple failures of the elites. The second argument is
the rise of inequality. And inequality that is not
just income, that is not just wealth, but also educational. Social mobility is dropping
in large parts of the world. And that is really
disconcerting. And the third argument is a
failure of collective identity. By that, I mean not just who
we are, whether we are– let’s say if you’re
living in Barcelona, whether you are a Barcelone,
or a Catalon, or a Spaniard, but it is also a
collapse of community. And you can see that in
many parts of the world. So let us go to argument one. Argument one, the multiple
failures of elites. Now if you look at Brussels, a
lot has happened in Brussels. The EU has brought trade. The EU has brought the Schengen
agreement, which allows people to travel in and out. It has allowed mobility of
goods, services, and people. But it is also a place that
is narrow and technocratic. It is far too removed from
the lives of the people. It is opaque. It is wasteful. The EU parliament
in Strasbourg is something the parliament just
travels to for a few days, for a huge waste. And because this
has been written, a treaty now– amending a
treaty is too complicated. And the waste and the
disconnect that the EU has acquired from the
lives of the people is breeding a resentment. Because at the end of the
day, narrow and technocratic leadership is not enough. There has to be a vision
of where you are headed, what you are doing, and
some fundamental delivery of solutions when a crisis hits. And a crisis has hit Europe. Europe has multiple problems. The Euro is not exactly working. There is a debt crisis, partly
because the euro was rushed, and countries like
Greece and Italy hired Goldman-Sachs– you
know, did creative accounting. And that creative
accounting led them in, and then everyone lent
to them, thinking now that you had the euro,
everyone was the same, everyone was Germany,
and the chickens have come home to roost. And when the crisis came, the
reaction of European elites was of typical
petty bureaucrats. And people may not
understand what is wrong, but they know
something is wrong. And they want certain
answers, or some promises of solutions, which
are somewhat acted upon, if not in their entirety. Now let’s take another
example of immigration. Immigration is an issue. Yesterday, I was sitting with
a few Germans, all of whom are very anti-far
right, but all of whom were talking about
how immigrants have started posing a problem
to safety– some sections, not all. And they talked about a
family that their friends had sheltered. They had come through very
traumatic circumstances. And the young kids would go to
school and beat up other kids. Because if you come from
traumatic circumstances, you are traumatized,
and now suddenly, you’re with other kids, and you’re
socialized in a certain way. And that is a problem. Immigration, which is too
high, which happens too fast, creates social pressures,
particularly if you’re coming from a conservative
society to a slightly, shall we say, open
and hedonistic one. For instance, New Year’s Eve
in Germany led to mass attacks on women. Some were raped. And the government tried to
push it under the carpet. That creates anger. The response of the elites,
whether it is security, whether it is immigration,
whether it is economics, has been very much a bit
like Marie Antoinette, which was when the revolution
began, we have no bread, and she said, why don’t
they eat cakes instead? And that riles up people. And that’s premise one. And the failure is
not just in Brussels. The failure is in
London, in Paris. Look at Hollande. Hollande is like a
chubby bank clerk. And I don’t mean to be
insulting to bank clerks. I think they are very
dignified and do a great job. I just think that
Hollande as the president is expected to exude a
certain sense of direction, some vision. And Hollande is lost. His suit is far too big for him. And people resent that failure. Come to Washington, DC,
and I am sure all of you are well familiar with this. You come to
Washington, DC, the way the institutions have now
come to a grinding halt– forget the partisan politics. That is a problem in itself. Let’s take the example of
congressmen and senators. Let’s say Joseph was a
senator, or a congressman. Let’s start with a Congressman. If he was in a
swing seat, he would be fundraising constantly. I have friends who are raising
on average $18,0000 to $25,000 a day for all their term. Now, if you are
raising $825,000 a day, how many hours in
the day does that leave you for
writing legislation? Then you wonder why
legislation is so shoddy. Well, there’s a reason why. . How much time does it leave you
for sitting on the committee and holding the feet of
the executive to the fire? Do the math. I mean, you’re all engineers. The point is that a
lot of the capitals are fundamentally broken. The institutions haven’t
evolved with the times. So that’s failure one. Failure two, inequality. I won’t belabor this point. There are statistics galore. I have kept writing about
this issue for a year. And these are not my figures. You look at figures
from the White House Council of Economic Advisers. You look at OECD figures. You look at figures from
practically every government, and you see that income
inequality, wealth inequality, educational inequality–
all of these have gone up, and social mobility
has gone down. And when you don’t
have this feeling that there is
opportunity, there is anger, particularly
if people have come to expect
opportunity, people have come to expect a
lifestyle through media, which is more affluent,
particularly if you have an age of consumerism, where
people define themselves by what they have and what we
consume, instead of what we do and who they are. And so, inequality is a major
reason for a lot of anger. And part of it is
because of technology. Part of it is a broader secular
trend of quantitative easing. If you print a lot
of money, and it doesn’t show up in inflation,
then asset prices go up. So those who own houses
and those who own shares, they are wealthier. And those who,
don’t they can just continue cleaning their
rubbish, and giving massages, and teaching yoga. But that tension that comes
in with the combination of increasing
automation, with not just let’s see physical jobs as
in a car factory, but also all increasingly skilled jobs
with artificial intelligence, where you don’t need
that many people, and combine that with
quantitative easing, it makes for a grim spectacle,
and people get angry. How do they find things to
do to fill their time with? And how do they earn
their daily bread? Now, the third
thing– and this, I think is fundamental
and often overlooked– is this idea of
collective identity. Who are we as a people? Man is a social animal. Plato said that a long time ago. All the Eastern
philosophers have said it. You don’t exist as an
island, or man, or woman. There is a set of weaving,
inextricable, intricate relationships that
every individual manages to have through life. And if you get isolated,
it creates a lot of anger. And what has happened is that
communities have sort of broken down in the age of consumerism. Neighborhoods lack cohesion
in large parts of the world. You take the example
of India, where you have enormous violence
now in the north, where rape is a real and tangible
concern for any woman going out in the evening in the north. You take, for instance, this
issue of enormous PTSD amongst US demobilized troops. In the older times– not
that things were perfect. Things were terrible
in many ways then. We had serfdom, and
slavery, and whatnot. But in the older
times, often when soldiers came back
from war, they went back to their village. They had a whole community
support structure. Now when you come back, you’re
coming back to a suburb. You might end up
having a divorce. Your wife may leave you. You may end up getting
into a spiral of addiction. You may not have that support
structure of the community. And that lack of community
support structure, that lack of autonomy,
self-autonomy, leads to not just anger
but also identity. And Freud talked
about this a lot. He talked about it as
Nazis move on the rise, and his insight was that there
are destructive forces that lurk and emerge, particularly
in times of crisis. And during these moments,
when this happens, then people look for
certain certitudes in life. And that certitude
can be very appealing if it harks back
to a golden age. The Nazis were harking
back to a golden age, a pristine age of
the idyllic identity, the folk memory of Germany. If you look at Islamic
State, what does it say? It says there is
this book, right? The Koran. This gives you an entire
template of life and afterlife. Describes everything. And this is it. This will be your salvation. It’s a very powerful appeal
if you believe in faith. Now, a lot of times when people
believe in religion, it just helps them provide an
expression of spirituality. It helps them gain a sense
of cultural continuity, and it is a fulcrum
of a community. But when things become
literal, and fanatical, and you have priests
who are telling you what these books mean–
whether it is this book, which is the Bible, of course,
which a lot of people hark back to in this country. And they say, check
the Bible, and they claim that this is the
reason why you shouldn’t have a right to abortion, or
this is the reason why you should support x and oppose y. You’re getting an absolutist,
fundamentalist point of view that harks back to a pristine
golden age, that harks back to certitude and truth,
that harks back to clearly codified definitions. That provides you
a map of everything at a time of great
volatility and uncertainty. But just before people
jump to the conclusion and say all religion
is bad, the flip side is that any ideology– not just
religion, which revolves around far too much certitude,
whether it is Nazi thought as penned by
Adolf Hitler in “Mein Kampf,” whether it is Stalin,
Joseph Stalin, and his idea of fundamentalist
communism, or it is even Mustafa Kemal and his
idea of Turkification, which was terrible
for the Turks, by the way– sorry,
terrible for the Kurds. Any idea that bases
itself on the certitude of a collective identity that is
ethnic, or religious, or racial ends up in a lot
of blood and tears. And perhaps that is part
of the human condition, because we like to define
ourselves in tribes after all. Here at Google, you wear
your tribal signifiers. I see Google t-shirts. And we want to believe in some
kind of collective mission and identity. And perhaps that is in
many ways wonderful, because it allows people
some common identity, common purpose,
and common goals. But when it’s taken to
an unhealthy degree. When it is taken to an
irrational belief that is beyond questioning,
that is beyond dialogue, that is beyond debate,
then the worry begins. And the point that
I’m making is, these forces, these
forces of irrationality, these forces of hearkening back
to comfort and infantile sense of security– which,
actually, Eric Fromm talks about in “Escape From Freedom.” Because freedom can
be a terrifying thing. It leads to loneliness. It leads to isolation. It leads to atomization. If we are disconnected
from each other, from one individual
from another, or if there are far
too many uncertainties, then we want to go back to a
comforting infantile state, back to being a child. But as an adult,
it’s not possible. And therefore, you
seek this connection with a father figure, with an
authoritarian father figure, who promises peace and
tranquility, and a happy family in the Garden of Eden. It doesn’t quite work that way. But this collapse is
particularly important. After all, who are we? What is our tribe? How do we base it on? How do we base our
collective identities and collective purpose on? And we’ve not been
able to define that. We’ve not been able
to put together a vision of a truly diverse,
truly inclusive community. There has been this
loss of, in some ways, and the chipping
away of the soul. And that is the big challenge
that irreligiosity has brought. Because being highly religious
has its own problems sometimes. Everything is me,
me, and myself. Everything is what I consume. And so for me, if we have
to beat the far right– and we have to
beat the far right, because it’s a hugely
destructive force on the planet. It is very regressive. We have to address
three challenges. We have to come up with a more
coherent vision, whether it is the economy, or
whether it is, identity, or whether it is any
problem or challenge that is affecting the lives of many. We have to address
inequality, and we have to come up with ideas
of collective identity– some kind of global citizenship,
some kind of template and vision for commonality,
some kind of moral purpose. And if we’ve got so
even the keel again. And with that, I
welcome questions. Thank you so much for your time. It’s been a pleasure
and an honor. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Please. AUDIENCE: Thanks. Thanks for your talk. Very, very informative. I have extended family
members who are Europeans. Very early in the Trump
campaign, when I was still kind of in the
eye-rolling stage, they said, oh, we’ve
seen this before. It’s fascism. And that word really
kind of got my attention, and brought me to
focus on the fact that Trump represented
a portal to devolvement that we needed to keep shut. I was curious– I don’t think
I heard you use that word, and I wondered if you think
of fascism differently. And if so, what are
the differences? Or why do you shy
away from that word? ATUL SINGH: A 14-year-old or
a 12-year-old– 14-year-old asked me the same
question on Sunday. So it’s glad to see a very
perceptive question coming from two different generations. And the reason I don’t
use the word fascism is because fascism is just
one of the many center-right ideologies that evolved. It has become very popular. It’s become a term
that is bandied around. It’s. Basically Mussolini’s ideology. You know, bare-chested,
thumping his chest, and going and
working as a worker, and at the same time talking
about grand nationhood. It’s a weak form of Nazism. And a so, yes,
fascism, he’s fascist. We could use a word,
oh, he is far right. Or we could see he’s proto-Nazi. But these are terms. I don’t like using fascism,
because fascism is a peculiarly Italian phenomenon. And I think every country
has its own version of the far right. For me, what is much
more dangerous– and what we have to keep
sight of– is the way Trump is attacking ethnicities
and people of different faiths. Now, the classic example is
this young Muslim captain who was killed. Now in America, yes,
the elite does not send its children to fight. None of the Googler’s kids
are likely to go and fight, unlike the British
upper classes, who did in the First World War. But in America, there is
a veneration for soldiers and the war dead,
at least publicly. And that’s an unwritten rule. You always see, we
honor our veterans, we honor our soldiers,
we honor our airmen, we honor our sailors. Of course, we won’t let our kids
become them, but we honor them. What Trump is doing is that
he’s attacking someone who died fighting for the country. And in the American
mythology, is almost a saint. And he’s doing it only
on the basis of a Muslim. And he attacks the mother
and says she was silent. Maybe she wasn’t allowed
to say something. What he’s trying to do is
conjure up a specter of Islam wherein women are
not given rights. He’s playing into those fears,
where those who are gay, like Peter Thiel, will
be shot dead or burnt alive, where real intolerance
is the name of the game. He’s helped by the fact, of
course, that certain incidents do happen. Men from North Africa do attack
German women in public pools. That is happening. But that is not all of Islam. Right? That may be from that society. That may be a failure
of German public order. That may be many,
many, many things. But he’s conflating
disorder with Islam. It’s very much like painting an
image of the blood-dimmed tide of barbarians is on the
horizon, and they’re all riding on their steeds, and
they are like the Mongol horde, except that they all
have the green crescent, and we have to rally
together and fight them. So he’s basically trying to
pull together white America, largely, under his fold against
an extremely dangerous enemy. That’s the gambit he’s playing. But I wouldn’t like to
use the word fascism, because Mussolini didn’t
really play that gambit. It was more Hitler who did. So see, that’s why I’m–
Mussolini was Hitler Lite. Italy declared war,
and all the sailors were out (ITALIAN ACCENT) eating
pasta that with the Mama, huh? And the British
bombed the fleet. It was on the bottom
of the harbor, huh? So for me, Italian politics
is a bit of a joke. So Mussolini says we want to
go to war, and we’ll go to war. But of course, the fleet
is sitting in the harbor. And what do the Brits do? They come and bomb the fleet,
and it’s bottom of the harbor. My tutor at Oxford used to say
that his family members used to joke that when they went to
fight in the Second World War, and they were having
a snowball fight, the Italians came out saying,
Mama Mia, don’t shoot, we surrender. So you know,
fascism is something which is a term which, for
me, is in some ways cliched. What is more important
to understand the danger of a particular
ideology and address it. Because if you say
Trump is fascist, then you get into a debate,
what is fascism? What does this term mean? And then people say, well,
he’s not entirely fascist, because he’s different in
this way, and that way, and he’s representing a
lot of genuine concerns. He’s against the establishment. He is giving voice to workers
who have been suffering under free trade agreements. AUDIENCE: So this talk has
been about the far right, and I agree, that that
is a rising concern. But maybe you could
address sort of– not only has there been sort of
a rise of the far right, but what I view as a
hollowing out of the middle. Right? So as the right has
pulled right– and again, I have an American lens on this. As the right has pulled right,
the left has pulled left. You know, you’ve
seen the gridlock in Washington– Bernie Sanders,
sort of a personification of that left. My initial sort of thought
is like, well, let’s all move towards the center. But as someone on
the left, I’m afraid that if I move a little
bit to the right, the right us going to move even
farther to the right. And so, how do you
deal with this, again, hollowing
out of the middle. ATUL SINGH: I don’t know
if the left has really moved to the left. Because frankly, it is
starting to move to the left with the rise of Bernie Sanders. But if you look at 1991,
the collapse of the Soviet Union and 1989, the collapse
of the Berlin Wall– Francis Fukuyama, who basically
sits not too far from here, a little bit further
down in Palo Alto, that place called
Stanford, right? He said, oh, the end of history. Right? That’s what he called. And I remember, even as a young
chap, when I was reading it– and I’ve met Francis. He’s a lovely chap. But only an Americano
could write that. I’m sorry. I come from Varanasi, which
has 5,000 years of history. My ancestral city
is a stone’s throw from where Buddhism bagan. When he wrote “End of
History”– history never ends. There is no final
destination that you get to. It evolves. It flows like a
meandering river. Or maybe I’m just Buddhist,
philosophically Buddhism. But anyway, but the
point is post-1991 was the triumph of the
Milton Friedman style capitalism, which is markets
are all, markets are God. Let’s privatize everything. Well, Russia did. What happened? You can privatize if
there’s is a fair auction. But let’s say you own– not you
own, the state owns everything. All of you collectively
supposedly own everything, but you are the Politburo chief. And you say, I’m going to
privatize all the chairs. They are to be sold. The state cannot control it. And it turns out that
chap sitting to your left is your brother-in-law. And you say, OK, the real price
of all the chairs maybe $100, but I’ll sell it
to you for $0.10. And what’s happened in
the move towards market was privatization of
public private property through criminal means. Criminal syndicates
emerged and took charge. And you’ve got to be careful
with things like property rights, because if you have a
very extreme property rights, you only get a society
of czars and serfs. And that’s exactly what
Russia has ended up again. Now, so through the ’90s,
the left moved to the right. It was Bill Clinton,
Slick Willie, who repealed Glass-Steagall. Right? It was what FDR had brought
in after the Depression. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act,
if I get the name right. It was like, yes, banks
should be allowed to merge, and financial services
will be wonderful. Let’s have lots of derivatives. And his Treasury Secretary
was an ex-Goldman chief. And then, of course, the
supremely arrogant Larry Summers was the big boss. And of course,
what’s the difference between Larry Summers and God? Well, you could take what
someone said about Larry Ellison and replace it. And they were
doctrinaire in the belief that you just had
to liberate markets. And it was a
Democrat government. It was a Democrat
president who did that. Now obviously, these
were the excesses, because Soviet
Union had collapsed. Everyone had this naive
belief in the markets. I called Bill Clinton the
stepchild of Ronald Reagan. I’m sure he doesn’t like it. But he was in economics. He certainly was. And so, the left
moves to the right. And then who represents
the working classes? The white working class suffered
as jobs moved, and is angry. And that is why, ironically,
it is flocking to Trump, because Trump is personifying
anger against the system. Because right now,
you’re seeing two forces. One is the establishment. And the establishment are people
who sit in Washington, DC, or dare I say,
even Google– those who have benefited
from globalization. Why? Because everyone
uses Google Maps. Everyone uses Google Search. I couldn’t live without Google. I function off G-mail, and
I function off Google Docs. So I am, whether I like it
or not, in the Google Empire, in the Google Ecosystem. I couldn’t leave it,
even if I wanted. So Google is a big
winner of globalization. But then there are
those who are really against the establishment,
who’ve lost out, and they want to smash
it to smithereens, because their concerns
were not addressed. They were never trained. They suffered the
Reagan Revolution, wherein investment in
the criminal justice system in prison
succeeded that on schools. Today, a lot of
Americans are starting to send their kids to private
school, fancy private schools. I know some friends here. So if you’ve gutted
out your public school system, that means
social mobility is gone, jobs are gone. You can, of course,
become a barista. But better jobs
are not available. So you know, there was
this entire abandonment all of the economic interests,
of large numbers of people. So the left moved to the right. And it’s only recently
that the left has started swinging left again. But now Marx is dead. All right? There is no counterpoint,
so they’re confused. They don’t know what they want. So the left is in complete
confusion anywhere you look. Look at England. Jeremy Corbyn. He has no idea of
what he believes in. Right? So the entire politicking, the
opposition, to David Cameron came from his own party. It was Boris Johnson
who sank Cameron’s boat, not of course, the
wonderful opposition leader. So the left is lost. The left, in the memorable
words of a friend who’s a young politician, said
the left has been left out. So left doesn’t
even know who it is. So I think the left is sort of
starting to figure things out, and has moved to the– it’s
starting to gravitate back again under Bernie Sanders. But I don’t think it’s
moved to the right at all. And I think what has happened
is that the right has moved extreme right. The center of gravity
started tending towards far too much insanity. I mean, look at Ted Cruz. He makes Donald Trump look good. I mean, pull up the
video, and watch his video on machine gun bacon, where he
cooks bacon on a machine gun. He fires until it becomes hot. And you know, it’s a
wonderfully incongruous sight to see a chubby middle-aged
man act very macho. I mean, I would much
rather he ran a triathlon to show me how fit he was. But no, he’s appealing
to something very deep. So what is happening? But now, what is happening is
that the economics of the right are turning left. So it’s a very confused time. AUDIENCE: Sir, I
think when you’re looking at fascism
and all these movement in history, you’re kind
of a little bit scratching the surface, making fun of
Italian maybe, and Hitler, and his mustache. But really, those are like,
counter-revolutionary movements against what was happening
in Soviet Russia, and there was a moment of
restructuring for capitalism worldwide. So I think what is really
key is the economic situation in the world that
we should look at, instead of just looking at Ted
Cruz and how ridiculous it is. So I think the key
here is inequality, and it was one of your
three like, main points, but I think it is
the main point. So I want to know what
you think about that. ATUL SINGH: It’s a
very valid point. Yes, inequality is key. But remember that the
Nazi party and, let’s say, Italian fascists, were
strange in the sense they were counter-revolutionaries. But in some ways, they
were also revolutionaries. Because the Nazi Party was not
the upper class Prussian Junker class. Let’s be very clear. The Prussian Junker class
suffered under the Nazis. The aristocrats often got the
boot, often with their lives. It was a lower middle
class, petty bourgeoisie. The lower middle
class that wanted to keep the upper classes and
take power themselves– it was a power grab. But they didn’t want the
workers, their workers, to take over power. So it’s a little complex. You see what I am getting at? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] ATUL SINGH: Pardon me? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] ATUL SINGH: Pardon me? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] ATUL SINGH: It was a
power grab certainly. And certain classes flourished. But parts of the old
elite got wiped out too. AUDIENCE: A capitalistic
restructuring, right? ATUL SINGH: Partly. But it was not
entirely capitalistic, because the state was involved. It was collectivist as well. It’s complicated. That’s what I’m trying to get,
is the state, the bureaucrats, were very heavily involved. And I think you’re right. Economics is key. A long time ago, someone said
it’s the economy’s stupid. And that’s part of
the answer, for sure. But economics is not all,
because you can not just have growth, and
things will be all OK, as China has demonstrated. But at the same time,
if you have no growth, and you’re like France, you’re
stuck in over 10% unemployment since 1980, and you’ve
got massive unemployment in your [INAUDIBLE],
which is where you’ve got all these Arab kids
unemployed and unemployable, then they start
getting radicalized, as you can see on
the Cote d’Azur. Cote d’Azur, which is a
place where the rich stay, is also a place where the
radicals come and flourish. And the radicals grow. So it’s complex. But I agree that you
have to figure out how do people find jobs and
how do people earn a living? If they cannot, if we
have so much automation, then maybe it’s time to think
seriously about what Keynes said. Maybe we should all be writing
poetry and debating philosophy. Build a greater sort
of Athenian Republic, now that we don’t need slaves,
we can have robots instead. AUDIENCE: This question is not
about the global far right, but instead about the media. And it’s rather an
incongruous time to be setting up a
media organization, and particularly with
the likes of Google News to compete with, for example. I wondered if you
could comment on what you see as what’s necessary in
terms of the evolution of media going forward, and how “Fair
Observer” fits into that. ATUL SINGH: Thank you. Thank you for that question. That’s an almost
entirely different talk. I gave a talk at MIT
earlier this year. And that was on the rule of the
fourth estate in the New New World. And the New New
World is a riff off from Michael Lewis’s
book about the internet. And fourth estate is what
Edmund Burke, an Englishman, called the press,
which was sitting in the Parliament
for the first time and watching the three estates–
the royals, the clergy, and the commons. And so we have lots of blogs and
lots of noise on the internet. That’s one. And we have huge
media conglomerations, which through mergers
and acquisitions have become concentrated
in basically numbers that you could
count at most on two hands. And so, a monopoly of sorts,
or an oligopoly of sorts. And the profit-driven
model in the US means that everyone’s
chasing the headline, and you have a
dumbing down of news, and attention spans
have gone down. And so, discourse has vanished. I’m of the firm belief–
not opinion, but belief– that democracy needs discourse. If you don’t have discourse,
you won’t have democracy. And so why am I setting this up? We are a nonprofit for a reason. I don’t want to be beholden
to a venture capitalist who has a target on
my back and says, hey, why aren’t we at 5
million uniques a month by now? So my idea of a media
organization now, particularly with the change
in political circumstances, is that it has got
to be independent. It has got to be fair. It has got to be diverse. It has got to be truthful. It has got to be credible. It has got to have this
identity that brings together people across cultures. And yes, it is hard competing
against Google News. Yes, it is hard
targeting people, and getting them to read
in-depth about, let’s say, Turkey, and examine it
historical or philosophically. But where I see “Fair
Observer,” frankly, as this New Age
intelligent readers, or intelligent audience’s home,
where people are cosmopolitan, people have an interest
in issues of importance, people are globally
minded, where people are willing to question
assumptions, where people want to be informed, and educated,
and in turn, informally educate others. And it is very much in keeping
with the great tradition of, let’s say, Benjamin Franklin
running his own newspaper, or Gandhi running his paper,
or any of the leading lights. And the funnel is really wide. You can see wild too. And the filter is really strong. So everything goes through
a quality check, and a fact check, and a language check. And what we aim to
be is independent. And that requires donations
from some of our readers, if not all. That requires grants from
certain organizations. That requires philanthropy. That requires
over-time monetizing through various
activities, whether it is organizing events,
or conferences, or selling premium
subscriptions, or for that matter,
doing workshops, delving into the
education space. Because one of the
things that is lacking is this civic education–
looking at things in context, looking at things across time. And that is why one
of the things we do is the Voices of the World
Program, where we go and train people how to critically,
express themselves clearly, and engage with the
great issues of our time. And with that, I think I’ve
come to the end of my time. Thank you so, so much. You’ve been a
wonderful audience. Thank you. [APPLAUSE]


61 thoughts on “Atul Singh: “The Global Rise of the Far Right” | Talks at Google”

  • Nothing on your website about the declining quality of life in Europe because of the many refugees…nothing on your facebook profile either…how can you consider yourself to be relevant? Start here…Google Angela Merkel…

  • The immigrants are rupturing the social contract. Good. There's a real issue. Too bad he never actually discussed how this is not a problem or how it is a problem and how the left is addressing it.

    Unless the left actually takes these and various completely ignored issues seriously they will go nowhere stopping "The Global Rise of the Far Right".

  • Excellent job. Now if only there were some way to enlighten people! Education is our most important and ignored resource.

  • I have learned nothing from this talk. Basically a conglomeration of anecdotes, banalities and superficial folk analysis.

  • Philosification says:

    (6:42) Ironically he quotes George Orwell's animal farm "Some are more equal than others" when Orwell was talking about the corruption of the leftist revolutionaries. It was the corrupt leftist pigs who claimed some are more equal than others and kept the best food for themselves. It was a story about the Russian communist revolution.

  • Sorry, but this was the worst "Talk at Google" I've ever seen — and I'm a fan of them. The introduction built him up as an expert in many things, but then he spent an hour repeating wikipedia-level facts about widely known situations, no real analysis or insight into anything.

    The rise of the far-right is definitely a problem. The invasion of Europe by millions of refugees, and the pathologically bad response by European governments to the problems which arise, is also a problem. Something other than superficial mentions of some troubling things and then standard leftist dogma would be appreciated.

    I hope FairObserver is better content than this talk.

  • Sovereign borders aren't cruelty. Cruelty is forcing all nations to live under a singular system that most never wanted in the first place. The plethora of different ideologies, religions and cultures of man were never meant to exist under one rule. Globalism is the greatest tyranny in history. We would rather die than allow this vision of global homogeneity and enslavement come to pass. The Right is only beginning.

  • Awakening Humanity says:

    either each human has value and deserves a chance at happiness-far right or we all become slaves to enrich the rich -utopian leftists-their utopia will be just for them every one else can suffer

  • Fuck everything about "collective identity." It is nothing more than a ruse to displace people and rob them of their nation, heritage, and culture.

  • Jesper Andersson says:

    I am fairly politically neutral but why is the far left never criticized in the same way that the "far right" is in this video (which by the way for some irrational logic claims that everything that is not "left" is "far right" and therefore atrocious), will "Talks at Google" ever criticize any degenerative leftist movements?

    Also, what Atul Singh and alot of other liberals or leftist don't seem to understand is that the world is NOT black OR white, its black AND white, one classic example is immigration, the left is famous for claiming that the right hates immigrants and want to create a nation of closed off policies. Thats not true at all, the only difference between left and right immigration policy is that the left (as noble as it may be) want to let anyone and everyone in to a country, they don't care at all how foreign cultures will fit into their current society, this creates a nation with even more division and regression, everyone is pulling in their own direction, cultures divided and creating cultural enclaves (we can see this already and it will even get worse), people blaming eachother, people cant get along, people cant agree on the best cause of action going forward, tensions between groups and no real direction on how the new and future society will create a better future for mankind. The right on the other hand, yes they want stricter immigration policies but they are NOT opposed to immigration, they just want controlled immigration from cultures and values that is similar to the current society with the same goals and direction, they want a society from which every member pulls in the same direction. In some countries you can clearly see the division between people, wasting time and resources at being at odds with eachother, resources and money that could be better spent on the progression of the human race, not social tensions. (And yes, diversity of ideas are good for a nation if they have the same end goal but different ways of getting there, that is still pulling in the same direction, what you don't want to create is a nation with trillions of end goals and cultures fighting in what the direction of the nation should be)

  • It's a mess of terms of current American society.
    left, right are firstly mental biased concept, and when you extend it to practice domain, you get brain cancer. you can't label what democrat presidency as "right-moving", simply you can't understand it, you must understand the intention of the policies.

  • I share Mr. Singhs concerns about the political right. But one must not forget huge failures of the left in the last decades.

    First: Culture. The left, especially the social sciences at the universities and more of less the entire mainstream media, are preaching inferiority of their own. They are engaged in white ethno-masochism. I am from Germany and I am far from wishing back Adolf Hitler. But I have had enough of the cultural suppression of, what should be called, the ruling far left. I'd rather be left alone than told that I am superior or inferior.

    Second: Economics. The left is currently reallocating ressources like they have won it in a lottery. In Germany I currently pay 70% taxes. Meanwhile the German government has its own media with an annual budget of 9 billion euro. They tell me what the weather is every 20 minutes. They make film after film. They interview young people about their party life. And they pay millions for sport. All while not calling Bush a war criminal for the illegal Irak War and not criticising Obama for still having 8400 troops in Afghanistan. I'd rather be left alone than educated by uneducated clowns. In Germany we now have three times the number of people working in social and integration work than the car industry. While the costs for every (!) refugee are set at half a million euro, hardly anyone is left to do the jobs that would actually pay for it.

    I could go on and on about this. Like sugercoating the bank bailouts by the political class while not telling us that it was the central banks and the monetary system itself that created the financial crisis of 2008 (as well as the coming crisis). Like the bureaucrats that used that sweet central bank money to pay themselves while leaving future generations in debt. Like the european judicial system that refuses to speak law (and thereby breaking the law). Like the corruption within the highest ranks of the political class. Like the intelligence services serving that police state instead of serving the people. Like the over-bureaucratization of the school system; making the whole damn thing so uncreative that I had trouble staying awake during my school years. Like centralizing political power while there is not reason to feel more secure knowing that the fate of the europeans is now in the hands of a couple hundred bureaucrats in Bruxelles; half of them are not even elected.

    Currently in Germany I am not free to do the following things: keep my kids out of public school and teach them myself or with private teachers. / negotiate my salary without the government interfering (that includes a 3 year mandatory education if you want to cut somebody's hair). / use my complete right of free speach. / trade freely with people from other countries / travel without passport. / use gold as money. / buy my own health insurance. / inherit money without paying the state / argue for the abolishment of NATO, even though the Sovjetunion has been out of business for a quarter century. / Creating my own business that would act independent of the overall 150.000 market regulations set by the lobbyists and bureaucrats.

    When aware of these failures, rise of the right (in a few cases the far right, but especially the very interesting alt-right) then becomes clear that these movements are merely a realignment of the cultural zeitgeist. They are filling the gap of what the left bragged they would do but partly did only marginally.

    One could, of course, be thankful for all that the left has done in the past decades. But that would be setting the bar pretty low.

    The best system, by the way, would be libertarianism. Google, by the way, has helped my quite a lot in finding people that just speak with common sense on this topic.

  • Not being reactive but the description says "Philippines" and then "nationalism is on the rise" and that this might lead to right or to the far-right. However, it is not the case right now— nor a decade ago. Filipinos don't know how to foster ultranationalist sentiments, not even a nationalist philosophy. The election of Duterte is not an evidence. I am not vindicating his and his people's actions nor am I vilifying his and his people's actions but if the reason why "The Philippines" is included in the description as having a rising nationalism is because of them, then the description is wrong. ๐Ÿ˜€
    Anyway, I am just a guy who believes there is a need for a positive ultranationalist sentiments for the Philippines to really rise up as a diverse and strong nation. ๐Ÿ˜€ Peace to all

  • This is cringeworthy. Clearly he doesn't have an answer so he's rambling on, throwing out unrelated ideas and the occasional insult. Would be better if he lost the 'jokes' and was more honest about his own ignorance.

  • This guys definition of "the right" is all wrong . if you make a graph with 100% government on the left and 0% government on the right, NAZIS and fascists would be on the left not the right. Along with socialists, communists, ect. Also, dude needs to read some Milton Friedman. He's totally lost.

  • Lots of broad strokes and very little substance. Globalism is the greatest threat to mankind, not some imaginary "far right". An increasingly assertive and weaponized globalism is spreading death and destruction as we speak and this talk about some "far right" bogeyman is used to divert attention from the real danger and to quash any emerging opposition to globalism by labeling it as "far right" after which it becomes legitimate to censor, exclude, harass, fire from work, and eventually also jail those opposing this militant globalism.

  • Here and there there were a few sidetracks, but I found this quite enriching. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

    Will definitely check out the fair observer. I struggle quite a bit trying to get left sympathizers to see the reasoning of right sympathizers and vice-versa. I think more airtime should be given to talks like this, which seemed to me to take a step back and show the bigger picture… the current polarization worries me ๐Ÿ™

  • AxebeardHammerdick says:

    The gilded class of totalitarian, globalist kleptocrats are finally on the defensive now, and that can only be deemed to be a good thing. The grand globalist vision of bureaucratic world governance by self-appointed, self-serving technocrats has inevitably led us to a dangerous world looking like something straight out of a George Orwell novelโ€”after all, Hitler & Stalin failed while trying to build a very similar new world order. We've already allowed a vast amount of regressive Orwellian changes to take place in Western society, but there's still enough time left to reverse course and liberate the West without needing to resort to some form of violent conflict. It's in everyone's interest to stand up and reclaim individual liberty from the globalist thieves who seek to deprive us of it.

  • To make this simple and straight to the point: the far right has risen as a result of the far left going too far in their antics and being a centrist cannot stop the far left

  • He's way to full of himself and totally diconnected from the reality of the common man, makes him look rather foolish. The typical ivory tower intellectual.

  • This snake called Atul Singh is a Goldman Sachs advisor, worked in finance and law, notably as a corporate lawyer in London for Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
    You have to go back to India, leftist boy. We don't want to have more Indians here. You don't understand the European spirit so stop telling us what to do or think. These are OUR problems, not yours. Look at your own corrupt country and the mess it always has been and growing worse by the day. Millions more Indians will starve to death because of Modi's insane policies.

  • The idea that blacks built America is so ridiculous. Blacks can't build anything and live in their own filth in Africa.

  • Albionic American says:

    The Alt Right are the new humanists, in that they have a vision of human flourishing and the good life in line with the humanist tradition, but oriented towards white people.

  • oh fuck off we just want the same immigration policy that India has. Why the fuck is no one calling out India for being xenophobic isolationist who is "afraid of change"? You import 100 million Chinese and then we'll talk.

  • About the middle… it will shrink…If the Americans wake up, the right and left will have it out, all in the center… will be sucked up by the winner.

  • the enlightenment, particularly the French revolution, was the beginning of this catastrophe that is cultural Marxism

  • Please! If you going to propagate your ideology, make it a bit more subtle and professional. After mentioning the nazis and Hitler at least 5 times in 24 minutes and then dragging on with Mississippi burning, all my propaganda warning bells went off. You are not speaking to a kindergarten crowd…

  • The pencil invented in Cumbria UK. The so called far right is Islam. The left have created a fascism . Hence the emergence of the right. How absurd that tradition is described as the right. The so called new 'hard' left are a type of fascism. We saw what they did in socialist regimes.

  • its far right to those who are on far left communism….what communist call far right i call common senses-ism fuck globalism

  • This idea of inclusive identity is a difficult thing to define, because of the simple action of oxytocin on the brain. Oxytocin builds trust between people but also strengthens perceptions of ingroups and outgroups. Parents and young lovers understand that these things go together. If you are going to get the shared identity in any meaningful way, it will inevitably be exclusive, because it is mediated by oxytocin. Religions that are open to all are perhaps the least defined by race or language or whatnot, but they can still provide a strong sense of shared identity and mutual trust. I challenge you to find any form of shared identity creation that does these things in such an open and inclusive way that doesn't create the strong ingroup / outgroup distinctions between those who are in and who are not in this inclusive identity group. If there were an obvious way of doing it, don't you think human beings would have discovered it after so many centuries of civilised existence?

  • This clown talks about 'ridiculous' leaders but he's ridiculous, it's also alarming that these are the kinds of opinions that are openly being advocated by private institutions like Google that have soo much power. Just look at the comments. It's AMAZING how out of tough these people are with huge portions of the populations. Times are changing & people are going to start resisting this push for extream globalization, that's cats out of the bag & people increasingly don't want what people like this & google are advocating for.

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