A new dawn for nationalist parties?

October 4, 2022

For many, the brutal geopolitical awakening caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – and China threatening to invade Taiwan – means freedom is back on the political agenda. They argue that the battle of liberal democracies versus dictatorial autocracies will define the time ahead of us. As we focus on protecting freedom elsewhere and strengthening European borders, we lower our guard when it comes to another and perhaps equally important purpose of the liberal democracy: preserving safety and stability for its domestic citizens. These endeavors don’t necessarily have to conflict with each other, but tensions are always lurking.

In the years ahead of us, themes such as inflation, rising energy bills, climate disasters and (climate) immigrants will determine elections. Populist and rightwing parties are often masters at framing and appropriating these themes. Rightwing parties in Sweden have won the election by making a case against the recent surge in domestic crime and linking it to immigrants, claiming in their victory speech they plan to restore safety within national borders. In France, hardliner Marine Le Pen came closer than five years ago, Trump is back in town and won his election with “law and order” rhetoric, and far-right leader Giorgia Meloni won Italy’s 2022 elections. Their parties revolve for a great deal around providing safety and stability to working class people that suffer from the destabilizing effects of globalization.

It might seem a provocative statement at a time when a European country is literally fighting for its freedom, but in most European countries, the biggest enemy of the liberal democracy (still) comes from within.

Burning questions:
  • Have leftist parties lost their electorate to the far right as a consequence of their preoccupation with identity politics?
  • How can individual nation-states restore trust when parts of the electorate seem to live almost fully in a transnational digital environment?

Series 'AI Metaphors'

1. The Tool
Category: Objects
Humans shape tools.

We make them part of our body while we melt their essence with our intentions. They require some finesse to use but they never fool us or trick us. Humans use tools, tools never use humans.

We are the masters determining their course, integrating them gracefully into the minutiae of our everyday lives. Immovable and unyielding, they remain reliant on our guidance, devoid of desire and intent, they remain exactly where we leave them, their functionality unchanging over time.

We retain the ultimate authority, able to discard them at will or, in today's context, simply power them down. Though they may occasionally foster irritation, largely they stand steadfast, loyal allies in our daily toils.

Thus we place our faith in tools, acknowledging that they are mere reflections of our own capabilities. In them, there is no entity to venerate or fault but ourselves, for they are but inert extensions of our own being, inanimate and steadfast, awaiting our command.
Read the article
2. The Machine
Category: Objects
Unlike a mere tool, the machine does not need the guidance of our hand, operating autonomously through its intricate network of gears and wheels. It achieves feats of motion that surpass the wildest human imaginations, harboring a power reminiscent of a cavalry of horses. Though it demands maintenance to replace broken parts and fix malfunctions, it mostly acts independently, allowing us to retreat and become mere observers to its diligent performance. We interact with it through buttons and handles, guiding its operations with minor adjustments and feedback as it works tirelessly. Embodying relentless purpose, laboring in a cycle of infinite repetition, the machine is a testament to human ingenuity manifested in metal and motion.
Read the article

About the author(s)

Economist and philosopher Sebastiaan Crul writes articles on a wide range of topics, including rule of law in digital societies, the virtualization of the lifeworld and internet culture. He is currently working on his doctoral degree on the influence of digitalization on mental health and virtue ethics, having previously published dissertations on the philosophy of play and systemic risks in the finance industry.
Pim Korsten has a background in continental philosophy and macroeconomics. At the thinktank, he primarily focuses on research, consultancy projects, and writing articles related to technology, politics, and the economy. He has a keen interest in the philosophy of history and economics, metamodernism, and cultural anthropology.

You may also like