Myanmar border guard police patrol the fence in the 'no man's land' zone between the Myanmar and Bangladesh border. Photo: AFP / Phyo Hein Kyaw

“Where’s the middle ground” in ever more polarized and politicized times? To analyze this, we now outline the underlying patterns and dynamics of political extremes pitting against each other, threatening democracy and tearing society apart by accusing each other of being illogical, preposterous, outrageous, conspiracy theories-driven … albeit as both sides neglect logic’s and arguments’ “value basis” (Max Weber), “situational determination” (Karl Mannheim), and “environmental determination” (Montesquieu).

Embed from Getty Images

Many see extreme left-wing ideology opposing borders, order, orders, police, military, structures, authorities, hierarchies, individuality … led by the premise “all are equal” – not only legally. That’s when law becomes ideology. To “feel one with everyone” comes in handy for “we-feelings” and “softening” mental structures. “Relax! Chill! No border, no order!” sounds the war cry of radicalized left-wingers opposing division, discrimination, segregation, and geographic borders as “borders” in people’s minds.

Drawing distinctions creates borders. Where you draw the line, how you frame something determines your perspective. Framing “creates reality.” Systems science describes biological and social (man-made) systems. States are “social systems,” constituted and maintained by borders, border control, and order within states. In order to survive, states need borders (self-organization) – “operational closure.” Keeping borders open throws states into disarray. Radicalized left-wingers strive for keeping borders open to destabilize governmental control for “permanent revolution” – transforming societal structures, classes, norms…. No border, no order…. No order, no border….

Isn’t left-wingers’ “new world order” – the secret plan of communists worldwide, singing “The Internationale,” unified in a classless society without borders – as dangerous for governments as radicalized right-wingers rejecting state authority?

Disorder (chaos) irks especially hardcore right-wingers – associated with strictly obeying the law, police, military, structures, border, order, orders, rules, discipline – discriminating against people by their origin, appearance. Dividing lines are (mental) borders: No border, no order…. No order, no border….

Despite proclamations of non-discrimination, radicalized left-wingers don’t unite with those holding different views, but assess people by appearance, clothes, language … and differentiate between the left and the right, “Us” and “The Other.” Sounds like radicalized right-wingers, right?

Why call left-wingers – fascinated by customs abroad but embarrassed by their “homeland’s” customs – “liberals and progressives” when they defame fellow citizens for their attire, suits, dresses, brands, classic elegance, country-music preference as “backward,” “snobby,” “class enemies”?

Narrow-mindedness is detectable within any party and derives from in-group/out-group thinking. Tribalism is the essence of any group’s ideology. Ideologies make their followers consider themselves “The Good Ones” to legitimize their thinking, behavior, actions, worldview … as “truthful,” “meaningful,” “righteous” … and to group around making a bogeyman out of “The Other” for being different.

Which ideology’s followers don’t consider themselves on the right side of history? Sadly, even leading commentators on “Us,” “Them,” “The Other” neglect self-reflection and what constitutes “We.”

Unlike right-wingers – broadly associated with strict border control, law and order, division, segregation – left-wingers seemingly don’t differentiate/divide people, while in fact differentiating between “Us” and “Them,” shunning “The Other” for being different, and seeming to object to “control” – regarding police, military – unless it’s gun control, environmental-protection control, political correctness (“policing” thoughts, words, behavior, actions … on being “left enough”). Apparently, radicalized left-wingers oppose control only when not in control.

Radicalized right-wingers – portrayed as divisive, hateful, bigoted, fancying border protection, control, order – follow a Manichaean “Us-vs-Them” pattern: “Good-vs-Evil.” What about radicalized left-wingers considering themselves morally superior, fancying open borders to destabilize state authority and order within states while fighting everyone different from their “tribe”?

Right-wingers and left-wingers are divisive when dividing people upon the biblical “Whoever is not with me, is against me.”

As if this weren’t enough, migrants are caught in the middle of this “culture war”: Radicalized left-wingers use migrants to “change culture.” Radicalized right-wingers combat migrants to “sustain culture.” Both camps use the migrant issue to battle one other.

Any extremism is to condemn. While radicalized right-wingers who use migrants for fear-mongering, mobilization and economic reasons get excessive media coverage, radicalized left-wingers fear-mongering against right-wingers use migrants for silencing their conscience and for system change: Destabilizing order, building pressure on rich countries’ structures and borders via migrants – often more conservative than domestic right-wingers. This left-wingers frequently overlook while combating fascism.

Our world is so politicized and polarized that many praise celebrities helping migrants to reach safer ground, which critics consider “selfish photo-ops” of stars not further helping migrants exposed to xenophobia in “unwelcoming” countries of entry.

Today’s world mirrors decades-long radicalization of society “sweetened” by consumerism and sensationalized content. Sensationalism silenced “the middle ground,” considered not “sexy” enough to “sell.”

Did any pragmatists, moderates, centrists survive the radicalization of the public, all the “framing,” “putting-into-perspective,” “putting-in-context” of watchful commentators detecting everywhere “distraction maneuvers” and “There is no there there” without naming US author Gertrude Stein (Everybody’s Autobiography)?

Is the only “middle ground” left the arena wherein right-wingers “meet” left-wingers militantly: Fear-mongering, discriminating against people, unifying, reaffirming via dehumanizing the projected enemy: “The Other”?

Political tribalism goes viral on (social) media – fueled by craving for recognition and belonging to community – by sacrificing virtue in society. Being “digital” has replaced being “decent” in today’s globalized world freed from religious restraints by liberalization. Everyone is to reflect underlying motivations.

Left-wingers battle with right-wingers over cultural identity, radicalized by (social) media propaganda machines, recruiting from disfranchised masses. Karl Marx stated, “Religion is the opium of the people,” yet communism – cultish itself – by eradicating morals formed the framework for boundless turbo-capitalism filling the power vacuum (left by nation-states whose integrity is infringed by globally expanded system borders). Bertolt Brecht’s “Food comes first, then morals” neglects “well-fed” leaders’ questionable morals, while strong morals exist where people have almost nothing.

In today’s globalized world – without religious restraints, but smart as hell – liberalism fuels globalism, science has replaced religion and morals. CNN’s “Go beyond borders” mindset encourages people – “Hurray! Don’t bother, if there’s no border!” – while enabling multinational corporations (“free trade” open-borders profiteers) to eradicate the middle class, recruit a fungible workforce via social media (giving “everybody” willing to forgo privacy a voice), lower standards for everyone, and fill the power vacuum with vertical order, “corpocracy worldwide” fueling inequality, a “global pyramid scheme” powered by unleashed primal instincts, ensuring “anything goes” beyond science, if profitable.

Immanuel Fruhmann

Dr. Dr. phil. Immanuel Fruhmann is an Austrian philosopher and educationist specialized in philosophy of science and language, cultural and social philosophy, as well as adult education, with years of experience in analysis of geopolitics and giving philosophical and educational insights to the public. He is psychotherapist in training and works as coach and consultant as well as writer. Fruhmann is a Knight of the Order of St George, a European Order of the Imperial House of Habsburg-Lorraine,...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *