Politics in America has drifted far to the right: Kooky militia ranchers are occupying the spotlight, and tea partiers are occupying state houses and school boards. Nevertheless the media narrative is that both the left and the right are getting more extreme. Which is at best lazy reporting and at worst deliberate propaganda.
Allow me to explain.
The other day I had coffee with a Norwegian friend and we of course ended up talking about politics. Now, by Scandinavian standards I’m slightly left-of-center and my friend is middle-right. In Scandinavia that’s a huge gap—we are far apart in our views.
We’ve both been in America over 20 years each, so we’ve both had plenty of time to adapt and “go native.”
And yet by current American standards we are both progressives. That’s right: The entire political spectrum in Scandinavia takes up a small portion of the liberal side of the American spectrum.
What constitutes mainstream Republican thought these days would be considered extreme right in Scandinavia and the militia surrounding Cliven Bundy, well, they’re right off the charts.
This isn’t to say there are no hard-right views in Scandinavia: We had the tragedy of the Monster of Norway murdering innocent children to satiate his fantasies and there are several nationalist organizations attracting the disaffected, but, and this important: Those views are far outside the mainstream.
By contrast, in America today pointing a machine gun at a federal officer is just something that, you know, happens. Shrug.
As a sidenote, there are few things more ironic than a person who carries a copy of the constitution in his pocket at all times for the purpose of telling people he carries a copy of the constitution on his pocket at all times renouncing the federal government defined by that constitution while waving around his copy of the constitution.
You need to be a special kind of snowflake to do that.
So if there’s anything the Koch brothers’ billions have bought them it’s this: The political compass of America is drifting hard to the right.
If the false equivalency of both sides getting more extreme was correct there would be a senator right now advocating for Bank of America to be taken over by the federal government with the tax payers getting the profits. Then this senator would bring that bill to a close vote in the Senate. It might lose, but it would be close. That’s actual socialism. And it’s not happening here.
No, both sides are not getting more extreme. The far right is getting more funding, more attention, and more extreme.
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