(Your opinion matters, please share your thoughts and comments at the end of this blog)
Until recently, climate change was considered to be the greatest concern for our existence. However, with the recent political upheavals across the world, I see that the focus seems to be changing towards the rise of rightwing assertion and nationalistic populism. It’s a real struggle we all have to live with for next decade or more. Something has gone grossly wrong with the way things have been run for the last few decades for this movement to have gained voice amongst the masses. The intent is to understand and analyze that deficiency in our system of governance. This blog is about understanding the impact and possibly identifying the causes while its genesis is beyond the scope of this blog. This is definitely not a political opinion and I wish to stay away from finger pointing or blame game. This blog is a prelude to another in-depth review where, I will attempt to offer explanations to some of these questions.
Rightwing Populism Defined
Let’s define rightwing assertiveness as ‘a commitment of ideology dominated by brute force of majority based on populist assertiveness to influence and direct the governmental strategies in pursuing an agenda of exclusivity at the cost of mainstream rationalism’.
Approach Towards Understanding
First, let’s look at the emerging global political scenario. Next, let us identify few possible factors and possibly understand their interaction. Of course, at this time, I am brainstorming with like-minded intellectuals and would refrain from making any conclusions.
Happening on the Ground?
The Tea Party or the Alt Right movement in the United States is not an isolated phenomenon. I see isolated bubbles of assertive nationalistic fervor emerging in different parts of the world, from UK, France, Turkey, India, Philippines, Russia, and China, to the rise of radicalization in the Middle East and African continent (Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia etc.) are on the rise. Are these likely to collide or coalesce? Can we identify a pattern?
Large sections of the population have been definitely neglected. Is this an outcome of our democratic system of elections and governance? If that is so, is democracy driving us in the right direction in serving all sections of the population? Is it because of globalization, commercialization and the tsunami of technology engulfing mankind in the last 50 years? Or is it because of the chasm created by the technological and globalization with our ideology, values and rituals? Are we at a point of deflection and is this a transition issue or is it a cataclysmic event? Or, is it because of an increased assertiveness at the individual level? What are the collective impacts on the community?
From a social evolutionary perspective, we need to re-engineer our social structure vis-a-vis the technological/scientific achievements, ideologies and assimilation of cultures and civilizations while a new new world order is emerging.
Possible Causes and their interrelation
Definitely an outcome of neglect, It’s a social phenomenon that needs closer inspection. Several confounding factors are complicating our understanding with this emerging problem. The magnitude of this right wing tilt is so massive in proportion – that it will define our polity, interaction and our collective endeavor in the future. It has the potential to re-prioritize several of our combined efforts such as global warming or climate change etc. By the time we would solve this monstrous problem or seemingly control it, the world would be at the precipice of another set of emerging calamities. It’s a serious burden on human ingenuity and its survival instinct. Future looks more challenging than what we have envisioned so far.
Prima facie, there are several possible factors that confound our understanding of this phenomenon. Some amongst these are globalization, technology advancement, migration, collision of cultures, religion and rituals, ideologies (that are deeply embedded in millennium old value system), an urge for upwards mobility and increasing self-assertion and struggle for self-identity.
Your Opinion Matters
As of now, I wish to collect opinion across my audience and I have set up a few questions. It is possible that I might be blind sighted towards a few issues. I would urge you to provide your criticism and comments and take the poll below. The responses are anonymous and I don’t get to see who voted on which specific options. Also, the technology that also restricts multiple responses from the same device. A simple analysis is provided for selected questions, immediately after you poll.
Please share your perspective in understanding and providing possible options in fixing this problem?
Acknowledgment: I am thankful to Soumitra Sulekar, Graduate Research Assistant at University of Florida, for providing editorial corrections to the draft.