Fintan O’Toole: The far right gives power to the most obnoxious little gits

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People who cheer the great leader will soon find themselves under the thumb of the neighbours and workmates they most despise in day-to-day life, Fintan O'Toole writes of the far right (via IrishTimesOpEd)

Ireland News, Ireland Headlines

These types are “the very people who for years have been rotten with unsatisfied vanity, gnawing envy, and haunted by dreams of cruel power. Let the Nazis in and you will find that the laziest loudmouth in the workshop has suddenly been given power to kick you up and down the street and that if you try to make any appeal you have to do it to the one man in the district whose every word and look you’d always distrusted.

The people who are drawn to protests in Ireland against asylum seekers and refugees are mostly those who feel powerless and frustrated in their own lives and communities. I get that: if you don’t feel powerless and frustrated in Ireland at the moment, it’s either because you’re rich or because you haven’t been paying attention.

A successful quasi-fascist movement has to generate a paradox of power. Most people who are drawn into reactionary authoritarian movements have a complex and contradictory relationship with the idea of empowerment. They seek power through abjection. Most of that bullying is, of course, directed at Them – Jews, Catholics, blacks, asylum seekers, immigrants, sexual “deviants”, nomads: whatever out-group is closest to hand. The movement gives its followers the opportunity to assuage their own powerlessness by exercising power over groups that cannot hit back.But there is also a secondary outlet for those “rotten with unsatisfied vanity”.

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