The cardinal sin of activism is to be distracted by peripheral events outside of one’s area of expertise. It seems obvious to me that this unconscious yet largely self-imposed barrier is fundamental to the absence of success encumbering a great majority of radical movements.
The radical left-wing movement is extremely guilty of this, and one can visualise clearly the networks which dangle the bait of distraction and their motives for so doing. A decade ago the “Occupy Wall St.” movement threatened to become a popular mobilisation of the public consciousness against the greed and excesses of America’s moneyed elite; today, those same people march for LGBT rights with “sponsored by JP Morgan” emblazoned all around them.
This doesn’t require a conspiracy. It’s a fairly logical exercise in identifying the radicalism of malcontents and funnelling it down a different path so as to remove any jeopardy from the ruling class.
The right-wing nationalist movement is at present suffering from what we might call “Distraction Syndrome”. The Coronavirus pandemic has really brought this into sharp relief, as nationalists and establishment conservatives alike have developed an obsession with this issue, forsaking all others.
If I were an establishment strategist, in the aftermath of 2016 and the rapidly accelerating success of the nationalist movement worldwide, I would breathe a sigh of relief on learning that the core drivers of these sorts of political insurgencies had decided to pursue an obscure, unpopular talking point.
Leaving the vaccine issue aside for the moment, obsessive and vociferous public opposition to disease control measures is utterly superfluous in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic. In the eyes of those lacking this obsession, it’s considered as peculiar as campaigning against seatbelt mandates – not to mention the reputation for callousness it confers upon the movements in general.
There are those who say such opposition is necessary because Coronavirus disease control measures are a façade for an elite-driven political movement to usher in tyrannical controls on individual freedom in preparedness for the imposition of a one-world government. (If I’m mistaken on this assumption then any apparent facetiousness is unintentional). It is easy to adopt and become convinced of facile explanations like this, but it contains illogical leaps and ignores a vast body of contravening evidence.
Yes, some governments are using, as some always do, the current crisis to requisition new powers for themselves. But this is true of all crises, and is mostly being done by right-wing governments anyway.
It also strikes me as odd that those who bemoan the elevation of rights over duties, the individual pleasure over collective good, are suddenly outraged by the use of state power to impose public duty and a utilitarian approach to public health amongst the citizenry.
I must concede that opposition to enforced or otherwise coerced vaccination is a totally legitimate point of activism on a basic human level. It is a question of human dignity and the fundamental ethics of medicine that vaccination remains unreservedly voluntary for all people, and I applaud those taking up the cause against institutionalised discrimination in this way.
But ranting about face masks, using the sophistry of libertarian ideologues to oppose furlough schemes and the like, is nonsensical for right-wing nationalists, not to mention the optical calamity that it is.
And throughout this pandemic, while nationalists have been distracted by ephemeral policy decisions, all the issues they used to discuss remain, often in greater abundance than before. Now they have no opposition, because their primary opponents have succumbed to the disease of distraction.