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The far right (or extreme right )is a political label used to identify parties and movements based on fascist, racist and/or extremely reactionary ideologies. Officially those on the far right embrace the concept of the "inequality of outcome", meaning that one group is naturally better than another. They also tend to embrace inequality of opportunity as well, favoring concepts such as segregation, or mass deportation of non-white people (or in general, people of other races), or sometimes even genocide - although they sometimes keep these abhorrent views hidden, except when trolling anonymously online (see /pol/). The label "far right" can apply to everything from absolute monarchies to Nazism, meaning that many far-rightists oppose others on the far-right who have a different idea of what the ruling class should be.
The label of "far-right" is a reference to the French Revolution to refer to those who sat on the right-wing of the Assembly and were in favor of an essentially unrestrained aristocracy in terms of the power allocated to them, essentially wanting to either maintain or (later) restore the old order. They also tended to be opposed to the Enlightenment and secularism in favor of more conservative religious influence in government.
From the start of the 20th century onwards more "populist" reactionary political philosophies such as ultranationalism/fascism, racial supremacy (often to a degree that was considered extreme even by the standards of the time), and politically-oriented religious fundamentalism started to overtake the increasingly unpopular extreme pro-Aristocrat agenda that made up what could be considered the former far-right. To what degree there is much of a difference between them in practice is up for debate and usually changes from country to country.
During the Cold War, the political far-right was associated mainly with extreme and violent anti-communist governments and paramilitary death squads; far-right movements of this type (defined less by ideology than by their focus on violent destruction of the Left) were often supported by the United States through programs such as Operation Condor and Operation Gladio. Some still exist in places where there are active leftist insurgencies, such as Colombia. However in the 21st century the far-right in the Western world has increasingly drifted towards broadly authoritarian nativist thought, often influenced by former fascist movements.
Common opinions of the far right
As far right is a neologism used by others than those considered far right, the definition is somewhat subjective. It is sometimes used interchangeably with "radical right", though historians and political scientists draw a distinction between the two.
- Xenophobia and anti-immigration; often combined with Islamophobia[note 1] or other prejudice against the predominating ethnicity and/or religion of immigrants; in many cases outright racism, such as white supremacy and/or ethnic-related conspiracy theories such as Holocaust denial, Eurabia and ideas about "white extinction". Historical far right movements have included everything from anti-Chinese sentiment to anti-Catholicism and even prejudice against Nordic people.
- Anti-rationalism, defending its pet beliefs even from reason.
- Anti-leftism. This includes opposition to anarchism, socialism, Marxism, as well as extreme anti-communism (as in endorsing conspiracy theories surrounding the subject, or commiting massacres against them). However, in some cases they support a limited welfare state and occasionally even "state capitalism" (except in the United States where any sort of welfare is seen as communism).
- Nationalism, nativism and extreme patriotism, possibly including historical revisionism.
- Not strictly pro-life or pro-choice with regards to abortion. Childbirth is promoted with their in-group (see also white extinction scenario). However, abortion can be justified on the basis that those who wish to have them are mostly considered undesirable by the far-right.
- Supporting family values and traditional gender roles (e.g. Kinder, Küche, Kirche), and is virtually always homophobic[note 2] and transphobic.
- Tough stance on crime, probably in support of capital punishment.
- Environmentalism might be prevalent, especially in a "protection home and soil" kind of way, though other far-right groups champion anti-environmental sentiment (climate change denial, etc.) A more Christian Democratic approach to the environment ("protecting God's creation") can also be present in clerical fascism.
- Questioning universal civil rights and human rights (often concerning feminism).
- Reactionary beliefs, meaning beliefs that things were better some time ago (often before some major legislative change, such as civil rights laws). The "evil era" tends to be the 1960s, which were a period of great change in much of the Western World, whereas the "good old times" can be anything from the 1950s to pre-industrial times.
- A far right group without even trace amounts of anti-Semitism is rare - even in places where Judaism is rare and there isn't even Jewish immigration. The exception is, of course, the Israeli far-right (for very obvious reasons).
- Religious Fundamentalism- Religion is often very intertwined with far right beliefs, even if said far right beliefs conflict with their religious beliefs.
- Conspiracy theories- The far right & conspiracy theories go together better than bread & butter.
- Racist and anti-egalitarian views- the belief that groups of people are different and should be segregated. This often overlaps with belief in a racial hierarchy, racial supremacy, and "master race". Therefore, "miscegenation" is highly frowned upon, and racial pride/purity are encouraged (often going as far as to promote ethnostates).
- Opposition to democracy- dictatorships, one-party states and centralised power are preferred.
- Legitimisation of violence- promotes killing and intimidating political dissidents. Can overlap with genocidal views.
In the 21st century, opposition to Islam in particular has also become a big issue for the far right. One can identify certain contemporary points of commonality between the far right and other right-wing or purportedly anti-identity-politics movements, such as: opposition to Islam and/or supposedly high rates of Islamic immigration, opposition to "political correctness" (see Gamergate), etc. The online far right try to exploit these commonalities, frequently by adding in fake or misleading news, "edgy" trolling and meme magic (which has the convenient advantage that memes often aren't actually arguments and therefore can't be refuted as such), in an attempt to recruit more moderate people to their cause. It has also been argued that some apparent online far-rightists don't really believe the horrible things they post and aren't actually far right but simply post them for shock value, but it is generally impossible to tell the difference.
The "realist left" have argued that excessive emphasis on identity politics on the left, and the extreme and postmodernist views of some of the more extreme identity politics practitioners, has driven some people - particularly straight white men - away from the left, and in some cases into the arms of the alt-right, a modern form of the far right.
Gender and racial diversity
The far right in modern times is highly male-dominated, although there are a few Hitler-worshipping women to be found on social media. Far rightists try to downplay this gender imbalance by hand-waving about a supposedly silent iceberg of far right women, and pointing out that far-right activism is physically dangerous because of the risk of violent responses by antifa.
Ironically, in places more hospitable to women (due to feminism of all things), the ratio of men to women in far-right movements is far closer to .5. So much for their anti-feminism...
In majority-white countries, the far right tends to be exclusively white, for obvious reasons - however, the far right does exist in other countries too, such as in Japan, where it is exclusively made up of Japanese people. The far right British National Party was found by the British government to be illegally discriminating against non-white people who wanted to join it in its constitution. As a result, it was hilariously forced by the government to change its constitution (rather than forced to disband altogether, which would have been the more logical thing to require it to do), which it did with extreme reluctance - however, it is still racist in terms of its policies, and now uses more subtle techniques to make sure that its membership is still all-white in reality.
Criticism of the label
- The Alt-Right Carries on Margaret Sanger’s Legacy of Eugenics. National Review. August 22, 2017.
Richard Spencer, the keynote speaker in Charlottesville and the central figure of the alt-right movement, finds abortion useful. He has explained that abortion will help to bring about his vision of an elite, white America: “The people who are having abortions are generally very often Black or Hispanic or from very poor circumstances.” The people whom Spencer wants to reproduce, he says, “are using abortion when you have a situation like Down Syndrome.” It is only “the unintelligent and blacks and Hispanics,” he claims, “who use abortion as birth control.”
On this understanding, abortion is a form of eugenics, helping to shape the population to produce more desirables and fewer undesirables. This is why Spencer supports the practice — not because he believes that it is a moral good or that women are owed the right to choose, but because he views it as a morally neutral tool that improves the American gene pool by making it whiter and richer.