Last year I posted an article on my website saying that it seems the Right Wing is on the rise in Europe. I do not follow European politics closely and so this trend stunned me, especially as Socialists were busy sewing up the European Union. It seemed the Left had Europe in its pockets.
However, this victory by Le Pen in France is very interesting. It does not mean he will beat Chirac, but he has nevertheless caught everyone by surprise.
I have been toying with the idea for some time that maybe Conservatism is going to make a big come-back across the world. The reason I say this is because from my perspective, I think it is becoming clearer and clearer that the Leftists and Liberals have failed to deliver. Once upon a time people voted for them in the hope of trying something new. The days of the Flower Children were fun and cute. But around the world, the people on the Left of the Political spectrum have failed. Bit by bit I wonder if, at a grassroots level, the world is going to return to conservatism.
The world’s leaders and intellectuals are largely leftist and they have driven the world towards embracing variations on socialism and towards changing society. But it seems to me, many of their promises did not pan out, and people at a grass-roots level may be forming their own opinions and edging more towards conservatism.
It had always seemed to me as if the inevitable trend was LEFT. The first time I ever considered that the trend may go the other was was when an American friend of mine, Jeff Nyquist, predicted in his book “Origins of the Fourth World War”, that a future America might actually be extremely conservative. Jeff is a sociologist. Jeff believed that in time to come, communism, Marxism and the Left would lead the USA to ruin and the left would be discredited. He believed that in the long run, decades away, lay a conservatism which would be far more extreme than today’s conservatives. Jeff predicted the rise of an Ultra-Conservatism which would make todays conservatives look like the Left Wing. And Jeff might just be right.
Since then I have watched trends in the world, and have grown curious about this possibility. Seeing it in Europe stuns me. A friend of mine who is heavily into politics in South Africa told me of the extremism she has seen brewing in places like Britain - with the British National Party. But they are not alone. Ultra Right Wing parties are springing up everywhere and it stuns me.
There was a time in my life when I was open to all sorts of influences and I even pondered the merits of communism once. But my own interests led me to a path of conservatism. I think also, an interest in history naturally causes one to lean towards being conservative.
I have often wondered if Africa won’t perhaps play a big role in pushing the world towards the Right. I say that because it is evident to me that post-Colonial Africa is a big failure and more and more people in the world are perceiving it as such. It seems to me, bit by bit, aid to Africa is drying up and more conditions are being placed on what aid comes. Even here in South Africa, since 1994, there has been a dearth of investment. Considering the opportunities here, and all the pro-South African rhetoric since 1994, the truth is investment here is nowhere near what people expected. Foreign investors have lost money in Africa for decades and nobody is keen to try their luck here.
The post-Colonial African experience might just play a role in pushing the world to the right. I’ll tell you why. Everybody has been pumping a lot of money into Africa. The First World Nations have put lots and lots of money into projects here - with dismal results. And it seems as if people are tiring of throwing good money after bad.
Indeed, I heard a fascinating story some weeks ago. I was told of an American businesswoman who came to Africa with brand new technology for a wireless telephone system. She raised over $30 million to install it in Tanzania. She experienced a myriad of problems mainly with government officials who stood in her way. Eventually, her project failed. Not to be deterred she raised new capital, this time in Europe I think, and she tried the same thing in Ghana. And there too she lost about $30 million. She went back to the USA disgusted by her experiences in Africa and I am told she is now working on a book explaining why, in her opinion, Africa will not survive the 21st century.
She is not alone. I live in Johannesburg. Johannesburg is the “New York” of Africa. I have lived here since 1985. During that time, as a consultant, I move around and meet people. Time and again, people have dreamt up schemes of moving into Africa, developing Africa, etc. Indeed, it is not just in Johannesburg, but also Harare, Zimbabwe, that many companies have launched initiatives deeper into Africa. I have seen many attempts - MYRIADS of attempts actually - by all manner of businesses - with whites only, or blacks only or blacks and whites - as they try to get things going in Africa. 90% of them fail.
In fact, I consulted to a company which has just gone under. It was a group which was getting agencies for its products in Africa. They ran for about 18 months before folding. Among the countries they targetted were Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda. Eventually they did so badly that they ran out of cash and folded. I lost my job. I had been there from the beginning when they were making bold plans to go into Africa. I had been skeptical because of many other failures I’d seen before. But this is the biggest blowout I’ve been involved in personally.
It seems to me that slowly, people outside Africa are waking up to the fact that the Marxist/Leftist Africa isn’t going to make it. Consider this letter which I quote from Chapter 15 of my book: Government by Deception:
"Consider this letter which was published in the Zimbabwe Independent on 21st December 2000 which demonstrates how even the most liberal people get sick and tired of being taken for fools: -
“I hope you will let Zimbabweans know that there are people outside Zimbabwe who once supported Robert Mugabe and his so-called ‘land reform’. In the process of his anti-white sentiment, he has completely lost my support.
“I am a citizen of Norway, one of the countries that have contributed millions of dollars to Zimbabwe that cannot be accounted for. One can only wonder where the money, machinery and equipment went.
“Most of the machinery is sitting unused and deteriorating in open space. The Norwegian people, including myself, are questioning if aid is wasted on Zimbabwe in its economic crisis. As a travel agent I can no longer recommend Zimbabwe as a safe destination. The anti-white mentality is frightening even to a non-colonialist country like Norway. It’s a ‘kick in the face’ and a case of ‘biting the hand that feeds you’.
“It looks to me like Mugabe has to go and hopefully be replaced by someone with a more global outlook.
“Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is in the process of being destroyed by Mugabe’s propaganda and ignorance.
G. Halvorsen, Norway”
Here in Southern Africa, I can clearly detect that underneath it all, there is a lot of conservatism fuelled by the failure of the Marxist nations around us, and by the policies of the current ANC government. While in South Africa the Right Wing as a force is virtually non-existant, conservatism exists inside people.
Conservatism may be spat upon by the media, and the intellectuals and all the world’s trend-setters - yet, it seems to me, conservatism is natural and is making a comeback now that it is obvious that leftist ideas are not panning out.
Jeff Nyquist also wrote in his book that conservative societies throughout history were the longest lasting of all.
In the article below about Le Pen, it mentions a wave of conservatism which is sweeping across Europe. This is very interesting.
It appears to me that massive Third World immigration may also have played a role in moving people towards the right - be it in Europe or America.
I was chatting with a friend some weeks ago. We spoke about whether the world was changing. The Left has moved in everywhere and controls most everything. The Mass Media panders to the left, and so forth. Yet, deep down inside the hearts of ordinary people things may be changing. And maybe events like September 11th will help to accelerate the process? She said to me she thought that the world was changing but it was happening very quietly, and it was happening at a grassroots level across the world. She might be right.
I note too, from an African perspective, that Liberalism may yet be buried here in Africa as it becomes obvious that Liberal Democracy in Africa is a complete failure.
Zimbabwe is to me one of the examples of the failure of liberalism. A very strange thing happened in Zimbabwe which commentators do not mention. When Mugabe came to power in 1980, 2/3rds of the white population left the country by 1985. I was among those who left. Those 2/3rds represented the “Rhodesians” - in other words the CONSERVATIVES. The remaining 1/3rd represented the liberals - they were the whites who were happy to call themselves “Zimbabweans.”
This split among whites was interesting. While the two groups kept in touch with each other and there was not much friction, they did nevertheless differ in their attitudes towards Mugabe and his Marxist ZANU(PF) party. The Liberals believed if you worked with Mugabe and were an obedient subject that things would work out. The Conservatives believed it was a waste of time.
Mugabe was busy taking farms long before 2000. And he made life tough for them. It was an interesting situation. The events of the last 2 years have caused the conservatives (Rhodesians) to turn around and say that they were right. You never could work with him and the only correct course of action was military resistance.
Indeed, last week I heard from an old friend, a liberal, whose family is now packing their bags and leaving Zimbabwe for good to return to Wales.
What has happened in Zimbabwe is a victory for conservatism.
But here in South Africa a similar trend exists. The rich whites in South Africa were normally liberal. They were normally English-speaking and they wanted Apartheid scrapped and the ANC unbanned. But they only numbered 40% of the white population and so could never have things their way in the days of Apartheid.
Since 1994, and the collapse of Apartheid and the National Party, the Liberals in South Africa have been having a field day. They believed they could even come to power and get blacks to vote for them.
But an interesting transformation has occurred. The Liberals, the ones who were always squealing for the unbanning of the ANC and for co-operating with them are now in fact the biggest critics of the ANC. Nobody lays more into the ANC than the Liberals nowadays.
Among the wealthy, I have heard of a general trend towards the right. Everywhere I go in South Africa I hear various sentiments expressed by whites and they generally are becoming more and more angry with the situation here. But the most stunning about-turn, as I say, lies in the Liberal Whites. It is they who have moved by far the most to the right. It is very hard to distinguish between their views and the views of traditional conservatives.
So as I view Africa, from my perspective, close at hand, I think I am clearly watching the death of Liberalism.
There is a saying to the effect that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged. My belief is that Liberalism was nice and cute as a theory, but in the real world, which is a complicated world, conservatism became the order of the day due to various realities which set in. There are certain cultural, religious and racial conflicts which arise as a normal part of life and this is what causes all societies to eventually become conservative. It may be that what we are seeing is a natural change in human consciousness and perceptions. No professor, no politician and no newspaper will be able to stop it.
Leftism was a nice experiment for the last century, but its time may be up.
Here is the article which triggered my thoughts above. Note the mention of a trend to the right in several European countries:-
Extreme Rightist Eclipses Socialist to Qualify for Runoff in France
By SUZANNE DALEY
April 22, 2002
PARIS, April 21 - In a major upset not predicted in weeks of opinion
the extreme rightist Jean-Marie Le Pen qualified today to face President
Jacques Chirac, a conservative, in the runoff for the French presidency
[Copyrighted text deleted. – MEB]