Lone Nordic nutbar Anders Behring Breivik kills nearly 80 people in a terrorist attack linked to his frustration with growing multiculturalism. Suddenly, media reports around the world are mistakenly calling it an alarming trend and a sign of far-right extremism sweeping Europe.
Meanwhile, in America, a 21-year-old U.S. soldier of Muslim Palestinian origin, Naser Abdo, is arrested for planning a terrorist attack on Texas' Fort Hood military base, with police finding enough material in his hotel room to make at least two bombs. Had he succeeded, he would have been the second American military member of Muslim origin in as many years to attack the same base -- the first being Nidal Hasan, who murdered 13 people there in 2009.
If one incident is enough to constitute a "trend" of violent far-right extremism, then why aren't we hearing the same concern about attacks on military bases and elsewhere by people of a certain common cultural and religious background?
Despite what the media says, far-right extremism isn't significantly on the rise in Europe. People can be legitimately frustrated with imposed societal re-engineering by leftists, and want to conserve the social and cultural cohesion that has traditionally made Europe a nice place to live, without being considered extreme. To suggest that increased support for legitimate political parties is dangerous is nothing more than an attempt to stigmatize real and valid concerns.
For example, about 25 percent of the French at any given time over the past several years could be considered "far-right," and French President Nicolas Sarkozy was able to win the 2007 election by tweaking his policies to specifically target these voters. And as with other European nations, if center-right leaders like Sarkozy appear to be suffering from waning popularity, it isn't because their right-leaning policies have failed -- it's because they haven't been implemented as promised.
Leftist policy and thinking has so horribly permeated every aspect of society and daily life that the results of a rightward correction are feared for the mayhem they might cause, from strikes to riots. So Europeans end up looking for a bolder, more fearless option in the form of a leader or party that will make the necessary reforms without fearing the fallout. Is this phenomenon violent or radical? Not in the least. If anything, it's just a sign of rejection of leftist extremism.
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