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The Intersection of Far-Left and Far-Right – Aditya Chaturvedi

The Horse Shoe theory of politics says that there is much in common between the far-left and the far-right.

Despite being on the polar opposite ends of political spectrum, there is an uncanny intersection between them.

This similarity stems from their unflinching ideological rigidity, demarcation of strict no go zone’s, creation of an us vs them binary which can be manifested as either True Nationalists Vs Anti nationals or Socialists Vs Bourgeoisie revisionists and labelling dissenting opinions as either ' enemy of the people/ renegades of socialism ' or ' anti-national and foreign intelligence operative '

Ends justifies the means, is a classic strategy in both the playbooks. And both project themselves as the champions of the humble, righteous masses against the crooked, corrupted and an abominably decadent, deracinated and self serving elite.

Mass mobilisation and galvanising vast swathes of support base is again a commonality which is not coincidental.

Purported self-abnegation, exhorting for sacrifice for a greater collective good — could be re-strengthening nationalism or solidarity with a socialist international — are again common features.

Trapping on public resentment, injustice, disenchantment, canvassing on the plank of an incorruptible, disciplined and accountable government, banking on mass unrest and exploiting the fickle public sentiments, invoking the romanticised imagery​ of either an utopian future or a picture perfect glorious past and selling the idea of a nationalist/ socialist vanguard that is the best arbitrator of the mass interests, are the modus operandi.

Resort to populism, sensationalism, and offering simplistic solutions to complex problems is another converging ground.

Both also rely on the excessive use of disinformation, propaganda, fudging data & statistics, calling for stringent measures, and curbing civil liberties in the name of combatting ' external threats’.

What Noam Chomsky calls " Manufacturing Consent ".

It would be simplistic to rail against the corporate media for propaganda and having biases while condoning state-owned media of authoritarian regimes.

Stifling and muzzling public opinion, absolute apathy towards any contrarian opinion, and subtle othering and dehumanization are again common tactics.

At the core is authoritarianism​ and an uncritical, almost dogmatic, belief in their ideology, which renders the non believers, sceptics and those who have any reservations, as enemies in the grandiose project.

It is not much difficult to channelize and mould public opinion and relegate some as disposables for the regimes.

Extrapolation of wrath, hyphenating integrity of person with the degree of his servility and docility to the incumbent systems ideology. And a cold, deterministic logic bereft of human considerations or the yearning for liberty and individual autonomy, is at work.

While the motivations and the model differ totally, but not the innate approach.

This can be attributed to the ideological state apparatus of the models, notwithstanding whether it is left inclined or right inclined.

Authoritarian centralism and brooking no dissent, criticism, alternative viewpoint or political pluralism.

No wonder the ‘Legitimization of Violence ' and 'Circulation of Myth’ of Georges Sorel, a French thinker, had an influence on both the Fascists and the Communists.

Heavy militarization and regimentation of society was again on quite similar patterns.

Anti Intellectualism is usually associated with the far-right, but this is only one side of the coin.

The far-left has been equally intolerant of any intellectual pursuit or spirit of enquiry which goes against its worldview.

‘Art for art’s sake’ is an anathema to both. And every scholarly, artistic pursuit must either be totally devoid of any politics, or be an appendage of the ruling ideology.

There is no scope for out-of-box thinking, criticism of the dominant narrative, or offering an alternative opinion.

" Let hundred flowers blossom, let a hundred schools of thought contend " campaign in Maoist China remained at best only a slogan.

In reality during the cultural revolution, it was the exact opposite and anyone who was labelled as a western sympathiser, or a comprador, was harassed, beaten by the Red Guards, forced to apologize and made to sign a self-confessional letter.


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