While doing the three readings for this week and preparing for the discussion lead, the theme that stuck out to me the most was how universal the ND’s features were in their application. Specifically, the use of the “scientific truth of differences and inequalities in nature, and the sense of belonging and hierarchy that, in the animal world, is the origin of a genetic disposition to defend one’s territory.” Personally, I believe that comparing animal’s base instincts to human’s is misleading, dangerous, and while I am not a biologist, scientifically incorrect. We as humans are far too complicated, unpredictable, and evolved to use animal instinct to explain popular movements and political orientations that span the entire globe. There are simply too many other variables to dumb it down to this degree.
However, just because I disagree with these ideas, does not mean they are not powerful. Wanting to belong somewhere and defending what you love and cherish are feelings most if not all humans experience. Individuals who struggle to find this sense of belonging or who have been victims of loss or slight, perceived or real, can easily buy into this rhetoric. These are universal principles that people will connect and relate to regardless of their country of origin, the colour of their skin or any other perceived differences, and that is one of the strengths of the ND, regardless of how critically we view the movement. As we are academics who study populism and authoritarianism in detail, we can easily identify the flaws and shortcomings of these ideas, but we often forget that we are the minority, and most people do not have the education and analytical skills we do.