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2/12/17

Are narcissists taking over politics ? - Trump in the White House, with Geert Wilders, Marie Le Pen and Frauke Petry waiting in the EU wings

Xenophobia is growing in Europe
Xenophobia is growing in Europe, with France, the United Kingdom, Austria, Greece, Denmark and Sweden all electing far-right nationalist candidates.

Like Trump did, they unite voters with a platform of blocking migrants from the Middle East and Africa. More blatant demonstrations of anti-Semitism flared up in Greece, with its Golden Dawn party donning Nazi-like uniforms and symbolism.

Cas Mudde, a political scientist at the University of Georgia, commented on the parallels between European and American politics. “I see the phenomena as very similar. Trump is the functional equivalent of the far right in Europe; he performs the same functions in the political system, and attracts the same kind of support… white, nativist, lower-educated and those very unhappy with the establishment.”

Looking at Europe we see that also there a narcissists group of populist political personalities have benefited from the great disparity between the "have and have's not" and distrust by  the people of political parties who are not serving the people, but rather corporate interest.

Following focus is on three countries which will be  holding national elections this year where ultra-right narcissist  politicians have made major inroads. 

In the Netherlands: Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician who founded the right-wing Freedom Party, also endorsed Trump, tweeting, “Make the Netherlands Great Again.”

Wilders, who also bears a weird physical resemblance to Donald Trump, applies similar nationalistic rhetoric with confusing undocumented statements, sprinkled with vague plans.

France: French Jews who also hold Israeli citizenship will have to give up one of their nationalities if Marine Le Pen, the far-Right French Presidential candidate, wins the presidential election this spring.

The leader of the anti-immigration Front National said she would bar the French from holding the citizenship of countries outside the European Union, except for Russia, which she described as part of “the Europe of nations.”

Germany: You can tell well in advance when Frauke Petry, the leader of Alternative für Deutschland, a burgeoning new right-wing party, is going to give a speech. AfD members put up posters all over a town’s main streets declaring, “Frauke Petry Is Coming.” As the appointed hour approaches, police assemble, and usually demonstrators, too, protesting against a woman known to her enemies as “Adolfina” and “die Führerin.”

More than a century ago, philosopher George Santayana reminded us that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

His words ring true today.  The growing rise of Nationalism on virtually every continent should give cause for great concern.

Following World War II, the global goal was to create political and economic structures and forge alliances like the UN, EU, IMF, WTO, NAFTA and the recently signed Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership to bring peace and prosperity to the world.

In many ways, these efforts succeeded. More people than ever now have the means to travel outside their native countries.  Global investments have given rise to vastly improved living conditions in poorer countries.  Political structures like the EU have led to the creation of powerful new markets for global commerce.  Modern communications now transcend borders in Nano-seconds, bringing the world ever closer together.

But, achievements like these have come with a price: The re-emergence of Nationalism throughout the world was also caused by the disruptions brought about by globalization.

Global Trade must become Fair Trade again, not one controlled by large corporations who get unfair tax breaks and special favors from the local governments where they operate.

Nationalism is a powerful force and can at times work positively. It can be the glue that holds people together especially in challenging times.  It celebrates a country’s culture, history and religion.  It instills national pride and a sense of strength, but also, unfortunately, at times, creating scapegoats, real or imagined. The latter is happening today

Don't be fooled by the "nationalistic talk" of Wilders, Le Pen, Petry, and many other so-called nationalists - they definitely are not true nationalists and will sink all of us in Europe into a deep hole if they ever are elected and allowed to rule by you the voter. Worse of all, if you do elect them, you might never again get the power to vote them out of office.  Just look at Turkey today and see what  has happened there. 

Or see how Donald Trump has performed the first weeks of his Presidency. Scary stuff.

For example, the common US belief today exposed by Donald Trump that China has claimed the bulk of jobs lost in America since 2000 is not true. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, roughly 700,000 of the six million US manufacturing jobs lost in the first decade of this century went to China. The rest disappeared because of decreased consumer demand after the 2008 global financial crisis and technological advances that made many jobs obsolete.

Job losses aside, perhaps the biggest impact of the 2008 global financial crisis is that it intensified a worldwide backlash against globalization and the ever increasing disparity between poor and rich that had been festering for decades, further bolstering the steady global tilt toward Nationalism.

But not all is lost - if you get involved. Staying at home and complaining will not work. Go to local government, city and town meetings, ask questions, protest if you don't like what you hear.

Don't vote for politicians and parties who have not delivered what they promised.

Support parties which focus on your needs: more jobs, better education, health care, a clean environment, alternative energy  and cutting military spending' 

For it to succeed, real European integration—of which much more will be needed if Europeans want to retain stability and current levels of economic well-being—needs to learn a crucial trick from the nation. In much the same way that the power of the nation made people look beyond the blood bonds of family and tribe and elevate solidarity to a higher level, so European integration needs to surpass citizens’ attachment to the nation and raise it by one level. 

The trick is not to dismiss the lower-level identity and try to make it superfluous. The way to go is to leave the nation undamaged by adding another layer that can become politically and emotionally meaningful.

This rising nationalism in Europe also demands that leaders on the left look beyond austerity to a more robust economic policy built on investments in infrastructure, jobs, and education.

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