What Can the EU Do About Euroscepticism

By Liam McCrorie

Euroscepticism has been on the rise in Europe, especially this past decade. Many countries in the EU are beginning to become more Eurosceptic and have more supporters who might be looking for change in the EU or to leave it all together. The UK was probably the most Eurosceptic as they left the EU in 2020, due to concerns over the power of the Euro. And it seems that more and more countries are feeling the same way, even if Brexit didn’t turn out too well for the British.

Many countries in Europe nowadays have a large Eurosceptic party. Hungary has the Fidesz Party run by Viktor Orban, in Italy Giorgia Meloni, an extremely far right Eurosceptic, was recently elected in Italy. But what can the EU really do to combat this rise in far right nationalism and Euroscepticism? They can’t really do much since the EU can’t tell countries how to govern themselves, really all they could do would be impose economic sanctions, but would this even be enough to stop this wave of Euroscepticism.

The Era of Extremes

By Liam McCrorie

The political spectrum has always been made up of the left and the right, with conservatives leaning to the right and liberals to the left, but lately it seems both sides of the spectrum are trying to go as far to their extremes as they can, with neither side really seeming to represent the people, and leaving ordinary people left with nobody to really turn to.

The right has very clearly been turning into the far right for a while now with people like Donald Trump, Giorgia Meloni, Viktor Orban, and others being elected and leading their countries right leaning parties. None of these leaders are moderate conservatives they all lean very heavily into nationalist and sometimes borderline fascist rhetoric. They all talk about wanting to seal the borders to keep the enemies of the state out, and always portray migrants and foreigners as others, and sometimes as the enemy. These far right leaders also usually use Christianity and Christian ideals as a backing for many of their platforms such as banning gay marriage and abortions.

And the left has many issues as well. While the left usually, at least in my opinion, generally is much better than the right in terms of social issues and being progressive, can at times be over sensitive in some areas, which gets us nowhere, and wastes time and resources. Just as a quick example and something I have thought a lot about, gun laws in Canada. Trudeau is trying to pass Bill C-21 which would heavily restrict access to handguns, as well as ban many semi-automatic style rifles. Now this sounds like it would be a good bill except if you look at handgun crime it is nearly always with illegally smuggles handguns so this ban would do nothing other than affect the ability for hunters of target shooters to access what they need. And as for the rifles they would be banning many semi-automatic style rifles such as the Simonov SKS, a semi-automatic rifle she says is commonly used by Indigenous hunters. Now this is a smaller issue but it still shows how the left is trying to ban something because it sounds dangerous, when in reality they aren’t even dealing with the problem. And I do believe hunters should have access to the tools they need for a proper hunt.

The Dangers of Far Right Hate Speech

By Liam McCrorie

I’m sure many of you like me have seen recently the increase in the use of hate speech by people with big followings on the internet, and not just a rise in the use of hate speech but a rise in the tolerance of hate speech. Not even a decade ago it would be crazy and pretty much career suicide for anyone of note to go out and openly spew hate speech about a certain group, and you’d think today with cancel culture it would be even more crazy to spew hateful rhetoric in an open forum, but sadly the opposite is happening.

More and more people with large audiences have seemed to have almost gone off the deep end with some of the stuff they say. Probably most noteworthy and very recent in the news is Ye’s (formerly Kanye West) constant hate speech towards people of the Jewish faith. He has gone on and on spewing his hatred toward Jewish people and the Jewish faith. This has caused him to loose his deals with brands such as Adidas and Balenciaga, and more recently he was recently on the far right conspiracy podcast, Info Wars hosted by Alex Jones, where he admitted he “likes Hitler” and went on to defend the leader of the Third Reich saying everyone has value and he did valuable things as well. This most recent outburst has cost him many fans, but on the other hand, some of Ye’s other followers have decided to agree what he has said and more and more people are spewing hate about Jewish people. It just starts with one hateful person spreading a message and it can spread like wildfire.

The Growth of the Far Right During Covid

Liam McCrorie

Though the right has been on the rise for a while now the Covid-19 pandemic really sped things along. The Covid-19 pandemic opened a lot of people’s eyes to the faults in our system of government in society, it was a major shift in the way things were run and how things operate, but it also opened up the governments of all nations to criticism over how things were being run. This pandemic damaged a lot of people’s relationship with the government, because of a number of reasons, such as lack of transparency, many people started to begin to believe their government was lying to them which pushed people to seek out groups which agreed and validated them. With waves of misinformation, it was hard what to believe on one hand the government was trying to vaccinate people, but a number of notable people spoke out against vaccines, and pushed alternatives. From celebrities like Joe Rogan spreading tons of misinformation about Covid-19 and vaccines, to Donald Trump suggesting that people should inject a disinfectant as a cure people really didn’t know what to believe.

            But all this led to large groups of people abandoning their trust in the government and seeking groups which spoke out against the government and spoke to people who wanted a change in leadership. I’m sure everyone in Ottawa remembers the Freedom Convoy which was a far right led protest against Covid mandates and travel restrictions. Many people who might not typically be far right were supporting this far right movement because they masqueraded as a workers movement. I personally knew a lot of people who supported this movement which came to Ottawa and held up downtown Ottawa for what seemed like forever. This movement led to similar organizations trying todo the same thing all over the world. But this is just one far right group which gained traction.

Many other far right political parties gained traction over the pandemic promising to fix economies and the countries that have been ruined by the liberal governments in charge, when in reality the whole world is going through hard times because we just went through and are still somewhat going through a global pandemic

Putin and Europe’s Far Right

Liam McCrorie

The far right and Russia have always had a strange relationship. After the cold war many nations and citizens were still wary of Russia but things have gotten a bit better, but with their recent international actions its hard to want to trust Russia or support them. If you think to a few years ago the far right were probably the most against Russia, especially the far right conservatives in the States, but now if you go down to the states it wouldn’t be strange to see Russian flags and people supporting Putin even while he’s invading Ukraine. It’s weird to see far right Americans supporting a Russian leader even more than their current President Biden, but you see people like this all the time nowadays in the States.

            Putin also has a lot of friends in Europe and they are making themselves heard. Lately the far right leadership in Europe has been aligning themselves closely with Putin. Politicians like Viktor Orban are clear supporters of Russia and he and his government have not been quiet about criticizing the U.S. and NATO for their involvement with the Russo-Ukrainian War. Even though Hungary is a part of NATO it stands closer with Russia than to its Western allies, which signals big problems if NATO can be divided like this. Orban and his government are now planning on not giving and aid to Ukraine, and to try and block NATO from giving aid. If NATO stays divided like this with dissenters like Hungary how can it act effectively against nations like Russia.

The Normalization of the Far Right

Liam McCrorie

Fascists are bad right? That’s something I’ve known all my whole life. We should always avoid hate speech and try to be inclusive of everyone. Seems pretty simple, right? But then why has it become more common to see people overtly push far right hate fueled rhetoric with little to no consequence. And we aren’t just seeing this kind of far right speech on fringe internet chatrooms, we now see high profile politicians and influential figures in society openly pushing hateful ideas on the population.

            The far right and their ideas have always been somewhat taboo topics which were only seriously discussed in more fringe groups or at least not so much in the mainstream. But lately the far right has become part of mainstream society just like any other political group. And with society becoming more polarized this poses a big problem. Politicians on the right are no longer just conservative they embody many fascist traits, focusing on race and religion as major issues. People like Giorgia Meloni and Vikotr Orban, two far right politicians who pride themselves on defending Europe’s borders from immigrants. They are both Christian as well and want to protect Christian values in their respective nations, which means anti-LGBT, and stricter control over womens rights. And in the states of course there is Donald Trump who was extremely anti-immigrant and used a lot of fascist rhetoric. It’s becoming clear that all over the world the biggest and most popular right leaders are the ones who are the most extreme such as the ones I’ve mentioned.

            This normalization of extremist hate speech is a huge problem for society as it makes it seem normal in society to speak like this. We have been seeing a growing number of hate crimes all over the world which corelates with the hate speeches people are hearing on TV from politicians. And its not just politicians, celebrities such as Kanye West, Andrew Tate, and Kyrie Irving have all been publicly spreading hate. If this normalization continues it will make people think its okay to talk like this which needs to stop.

Is the Right Falling Apart

Liam McCrorie

Lately everyone has been worried about the rise of the political right, we’ve seen many right leaders take control over the past few years such as Giorgia Meloni who was recently elected Prime Minister of Italy, and she is the furthest right politician elected in Italy since the father of fascism himself, Mussolini. But since then, not much has happened with the right, they have been losing elections and seem to be losing some of their base, something that seemed impossible only a few weeks ago.

            But now all over the world far right and populist leaders are beginning to lose support in their countries. In France Marine Le Pen was beaten again by Emmanuel Marcon in the most recent Presidential election. And the same thing is happening in Brazil where Jair Bolsonaro the far-right leader of Brazil has lost the Presidential election and will be giving that position to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who will take office in January 2023. Even in Britain, the conservative leadership is falling apart, Brexit is a clear failure in the eyes of British people and the world, and Liz Truss showed the world the incompetence of the conservative party.

            But probably most indictive of the right beginning to fall off was the 2022 U.S. midterm elections, in which predictions where stating that a red wave would take over America, but when it came to voting day the red wave amounted to little more then a splash. The republicans were able to take control of the House but were not able to take the Senate from the Democrats. This election had a massive turnout from young voters and maybe this is the trend that will continue especially with the Republican party being torn apart by Trump. Almost everyone he supported failed miserably like Dr. Oz for example. And with Trump announcing his bid for the 2024 presidential candidacy, republicans have never been more divided, with Trump supporters on one side and Republicans who want to distance themselves from him and his craziness on the other. Either way Trump is not looking as threatening as he did back in 2020, he and the rest of the Right have begun to fail.

Putins Foreign Policy

Liam McCrorie

Over the past few decades Russia has been going through a phase of reinvention. The dissolution of the Soviet Union changed the way international politics and foreign policies play out all over the world. With the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia was left weakened and not the international powerhouse it once was. Once the Cold War ended the U.S. had thought they had won the war, which in a way they did, but it gave them the freedom to undertake more foreign missions without the worry of angering the Soviet Union, essentially the States were free to do whatever they wanted internationally, and they did. Immediately after the dissolution of the Soviet Union the EU emerged and rapidly expanded, pushing Western ideals further East and closer to Russia’s borders. Following this the U.S. led a coalition of Western allies to engage in the Gulf War. Without needing to worry about Russia, the U.S. and the West have been able to push their new world order on any nation that resists, which has continued over the past 30 years in many nations, especially in the Middle East, where the U.S. many times has left a nation in a state of total destruction.

            But as time has gone on Russia under Putin has begun to become a player on the international stage once again. And there is clearly one goal in mind for Russia and Putin, to push back against the West encroaching on their borders. With NATO continuously pushing nations to become more Western oriented Russia has been pushed to the brink and when in 2014 Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was removed from office by pro-Western forces, Russia had had enough and Russia has felt it needed to respond with an Iron Fist. This prompted the Russian annexation of Crimea, and since then Russia has backed opponents of Western allies in places such as Syria.

            Putin wishes place Russia back into its place of power it held for a majority of the 20th century and he is doing that by his military campaigns and proxy wars to install pro-Russian leadership, the same way the U.S. has been doing for the past 30 years. But unlike the Soviet Union, Putin is much more proud and less willing to back off from his goals when it angers the West. With the current war raging in Ukraine, Putin is clearly showing he is ready to push back against the West and recreate a buffer zone around Russia.

Op Ed #2: Modern Far Right Extremism

By Liam McCrorie

The Far-Right has been around for a very long time but lately we’ve seen a rise in new tactics used by the Far-Right which is leading to the rise of the Far-Right groups and to a rise in Far-Right extremism. The Internet has given rise to the ability for people from all over the world to connect and share ideas and for people who otherwise would never have gotten the opportunity to meet one another to form online groups. This has led to a new wave of Far-Right extremists finding groups on social media and websites like reddit and 4chan. This is leading to a much more dangerous version of Far-Right extremism the likes we haven’t seen before.

The Far-Right are very different from what they were, say 20 years ago. It used to be very easy to see who was a Far-Right extremist and who wasn’t. But gone is the Skinhead look of shaved heads, combat boots and swastikas, now replaced by people who dress just like everyone else, dressed in nice suits or dresses, or regular everyday clothes. Brands like Thor Steinar capitalize on making Far-Right shirts that fit in with everyday life, even if their shirt was hateful its so hard to tell with all the secret coded language like having a shirt with ’88’ on it since the 8th letter of the alphabet is H and so 88 stands for HH which stand for Heil Hitler. The Far-Right is no longer a fringe group on the outskirts of politics they are now front and center and gaining a lot of support all over the world.

The Far-Right wants to be as mainstream as possible and always be in the public eye which is why the Internet and its far reach is invaluable to them. With more and more Far-Right politicians and groups using the internet and other platforms to spread their hateful messages the more normalized it gets in society and especially on the Internet. As the Far-Right tries and spread their message online they use many platforms which will pick up parts of their hate speech and will repost or share this message in other forums through the use of memes and various other means. This makes this type of speech seem normal and for some people especially youths this can be enough to persuade them to come to the Far-Right. This normalization of Far-Right hate speech can be very dangerous as it can and has many times led to hate motivated crimes against women or Muslims or immigrants.

Through the normalization of hate and hate filled speech by the Far-Right they have motivated people all over the world to commit horrible hate motivated crimes, fueled by Far-Right conspiracies. Many hateful groups have begun to spring up online all usually a bit different or targeting their hate towards a particular group but they are all essentially the same just following Far-Right conspiracies and using them to justify committing horrible acts. Groups online like Incels mix their sexual frustration with traditional Far-Right conspiracies, such as the Great Replacement Theory, to spew hate against women and immigrants, who they perceive to be taking women from them. People like Elliot Rodger who went on a killing spree in California in 2014, Rodger went on this spree because of his hate for women since he perceived himself to be the “ideal magnificent gentleman” and couldn’t understand why women did not want to have sex with him. Another notable Far-Right extremist is Brenton Tarrant, the man responsible for killing 51 people in two Mosques in Christchurch New Zealand in 2019. Not only was Tarrant’s attack fueled by hate towards Islam which was fostered in online chat rooms, he then proceeded to live-stream the shooting to further promote the hate towards Islam.

There are so many other examples of Far-Right extremists I won’t get into but it just shows how this hate is growing and is growing fastest online, where small groups of people with fringe ideas can meet and discuss and fuel one another’s hate. It used to take large groups of people all with the same ideas to form a strong group with the power to affect modern politics and society, but that’s what’s so dangerous about today, a small group or even a lone extremist can be motivated by online forums and videos of Far-Right politicians and Far-Right mouthpieces, people like Andrew Tate, and these small groups can do unprecedented damaged through domestic terrorism and hate motivated crimes.

Op Ed #1, The Resurgence of Fascism

By Liam McCrorie

If I were to tell you 10 years ago that fascism would be on the rise again soon, I am sure you would not believe me, or at least have a hard time believing me. I would have a hard time believing that as well, 10 years ago I would have said that we are living in one of the most progressive times in history. People in marginalized groups were getting more rights and gaining better standings in society. But with all this progressiveness, came push back from the far-right. And by today this has manifested itself as fascist and far-right groups popping up all over the world. These groups that seem to be all about taking rights away from people seem to be gaining a lot of traction, but why?

Fascism, and fascist parties have always had their supporters, but not to this degree. Typically, far-right groups would only have small followings of mainly white men, but now we can see men and women of all nationalities supporting far-right movements. For example, the Latinos for Trump movement, a large group of Latinos who supported and voted for Trump, even though Trump had so many anti-immigration policies which affected many Latino people in a negative way, such as building a wall across the Mexican-U.S. border, and separating families at the border. Women are also supporters of these far-right movements, typically Christian women who want to block other people from access to rights, to be more in line with the Bible. Think of what happened with the Supreme Court back in June when they overturned Roe v. Wade.

By now far-right political parties are part of the norm and are seen everywhere, we can definitely say that there is a rise of fascism sweeping the world. Lately we have seen the Italians elect the first fascist leader since Benito Mussolini. Giorgia Meloni leads the Brothers of Italy party a far-right political party with neo-fascist roots. Although she denies the party is fascist, her policies and actions speak otherwise. The party is fervently against same-sex marriage and for LGBTQ couples to adopt children. They are anti abortion and hold up other Christian values they believe to be important. Meloni is also extremely anti-immigration, just like other right wing parties, and she even is a believer and spreader of the Great Replacement Theory, which many fascist parties rely on to attract a base of white nationals who hate immigrants.

Meloni is just one of many far-right leaders who are gaining a lot of popularity, and in her case becoming leader of her nation. There was Donald Trump a few years ago, who was extremely far-right and used populism to gain popularity with the voters, promising to ‘Make America Great Again’ by fixing the economy and getting rid of immigrants and ‘others’, who are a threat to society. And in Sweden the Sweden Democrats are one of the biggest parties, and they have Neo-Nazi roots, and have similar policies to Meloni and Trump, mainly to stop immigrants from coming to their country and ruining it for the white people who already live there. There are many other far-right populist leaders like Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, and even in Canada far-right groups are beginning to get some traction. The Peoples Party of Canada is a fairly new party, only founded in 2018 by Maxime Bernier, who is also their current leader. While not as extreme as some other parties, they are still looking to reduce immigration in Canada, as well as doing less to combat global warming, all in the name of a better economy.

The economy seems to be the biggest factor in why people seem to be attracted to the far-right, and if the economy is working good for them then they can look past the more extreme policies some of these parties want to implement. This is seen everywhere like the Latinos for Trump, who by all means should hate Trump, but instead will look past all his racist and anti-immigration rhetoric, because he is building a better economy which could help them as individuals, even if it is damaging to Latino communities as a whole. These far-right leaders are on the rise all over the world for a variety of reasons and are gaining more and more popularity by the day. Its hard to say what will happen in the coming years but the rise of Fascism is making the future look very worrying.