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Getting It Right: The Role of Intellectuals in Contemporary Far-Right Populism, With James McAdams

Where do intellectuals fit within the recent resurgence in right-wing populism? What differentiates European and American far-right ideologies? How internationally organized is today’s far right? 

A. James McAdams, William M. Scholl Professor of International Affairs, University of Notre Dame, talks to Ralph Bunche Institute Director and Graduate Center Presidential Professor John Torpey about trends in far-right thought that are growing in influence in Europe and the United States, and various tactics and ideas that have been instrumental in that rise.

Subscribe to International Horizons on SoundcloudSpotify and Apple Podcasts. A lightly edited selection of the transcript follows below. 

International Horizons - Ralph Bunche Institute · Getting It Right The Role Of Intellectuals In Contemporary Far - Right Populism With Jim McAdams

Transcript:

 

John Torpey  00:05

How important are right-wing thinkers in shaping the drift toward right-wing populism in recent years? What role do these thinkers play? How do they interact with right wing organizations and groups? And how does this differ from the way that these relationships work on the left?

John Torpey  00:23

Welcome to International Horizons, a podcast of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies that brings scholarly and diplomatic expertise to bear on our understanding of a wide range of international issues. My name is John Torpey, and I’m director of the Ralph Bunche Institute at the Graduate Center of The City University of New York. Today we discuss the role of far-right thinkers in the contemporary political landscape with Jim McAdams of the University of Notre Dame.

John Torpey  00:54

A. James McAdams, I’ll call him Jim, is the William M. Scholl Professor of International Affairs at the University of Notre Dame. For 16 years, he was also director of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies. He’s written widely on European affairs, especially on Central Europe, on Germany more particularly, as well as on global communism. His numerous books include Germany Divided, Judging the Past, and Unified Germany — a book he was working on around the time, I first got to know him some years ago (perhaps 30 or perhaps neither of us wants to remember).

John Torpey  01:34

And he’s also author recently of a book called Vanguard of the Revolution, the Global Idea of the Communist Party, which first came out in hardcover from Princeton University Press in 2017, is now out in paper, and was named by Foreign Affairs as one of the best books of 2018. It’s the first kind of global look at the history of the communist party starting way back in the 1840s and carrying the story all the way up to today. He’s also recently published a volume on contemporary far-right thinkers in the future of liberal democracy, edited with Alejandro Castrillon. And that’s the book that we’re probably going to focus more on today, but his lifelong interest in and research on radicalism is important background for the conversation we’re going to have today. So thanks so much for taking the time to be with us today, Jim McAdams.

Jim McAdams  02:34

Thanks, John. It’s a pleasure.

John Torpey  02:36

Great to have you. So as I’ve just said, you’ve recently published this book, it’s an edited collection, it’s not all yours, but the book is about far-right thinkers and the future of liberal democracies around the world. Maybe you could start by just telling us a little bit about some of the people that the book addresses, that the book is about.

Jim McAdams  02:56

Yeah, sure. What we tried to do with the book was to think about why a group of pretty articulate thinkers are significant for the future of liberal democracy, as well as contemporary affairs. And we were very deliberate about choosing them because we wanted to draw a distinction between the sorts of far-right extremist intellectuals like Aleksandr Dugin, who are essentially backward-looking people. And it’s very easy to, when you’re speaking about far-right thinkers, to say, well, they’re all Neo-fascists, or variations on that, Nazis. And I think that is misleading.

Jim McAdams  03:52

And in many cases, it’s a mistake to approach these people that way because the intellectuals that we’re interested in, are the people that are speaking within liberal democracy, that is to say, most of them are still alive. This is not the 1930s liberal democracy; you know, it’s not a project that’s beginning in the Western world. But it’s an idea of politics that is well established, although on shaky foundations these days. And what makes a lot of these individuals significant is they take concepts that we associate with liberal democracy and kind of twist them so that they end up supporting ideas: racist ideas, nationalist ideas, in the name of democracy and that makes them quite significant.

John Torpey  05:04

So, you know, one of the major kind of preoccupations of what we, I think would agree, is the far right today is the role of identity. I mean, identity seems in some ways to have become a kind of master concept for politics on the right and the left, or at least part of the left. But it’s been a very significant part of what’s going on in Europe, certainly, and certainly in the United States, sometimes it’s referred to as identitarian, you know, movements or politics. Could you talk a little bit about how that idea has been developed? And you know, how it may resemble or differ from, you know, the stress on identity and group belonging in the past?

Jim McAdams  05:53

Yes, the identities are a very elastic concept. And that’s what makes it attractive to these people. They don’t necessarily refer to identity, but in a context in which politics is polarized, they use various tropes, like homeland, like Josh Hawley has this concept of the “Great American Middle”. Identitarians in Europe, who are basically exclusionary folks, they use appeals to the idea of a kind of common group, a commonality of interests that will bring people together. And like I said, that ultimately are based on quite dubious foundations.

John Torpey  06:49

Indeed, so I mean, one question I have, and I know that you’re thinking about this as well, is the question of the relationship between these thinkers, which we generally regard as people somewhat abstracted from everyday life and everyday politics, and  their connection to ordinary people who don’t really ever, who never read these people that you’re writing about, maybe you’ve never heard of them, but yet, you know, their influence is felt. I mean, how does that work?

Jim McAdams  07:22

Yeah, that’s precisely the point that they don’t necessarily talk to each other. Some do. Most don’t. But the way that these ideas work, and seem to travel is based upon the fact that people in positions of power, people with wide audiences, I particularly think about Tucker Carlson, whom I find quite frightening, are able to borrow concepts from these thinkers without ever having had to read them. Or if you just – I’m focusing on the United States now – but if you think about somebody like Steve Bannon, he’ll suggest that he has read these people. And he’s an intelligent individual, he may have read some of them. But none of that really matters. What does matter is that people in positions, who can influence wide numbers of individuals and, let’s take Tucker Carlson as an example, are able to use the the tropes of people who are basically intellectuals who were in ivory towers, to push ideas that are inimical to liberal democracy.

Jim McAdams  08:51

And I’ll give you a good example, which is Carlson is now propagating this idea of the Great Replacement. And among the most radical circles in Europe, what the Great Replacement means is that people of Caucasian birth are no longer having babies, they’re threatened with extinction soon. The masses of the unwashed people of color from North Africa, from the Middle East, and elsewhere, will take over. So what Tucker Carlson does with that idea, is he says replacement, but he refines it in a way that basically is meant to achieve the same goals. So he’ll say “well, the problem with America today is that you can’t use the word white.”

Jim McAdams  09:03

And so he’ll say “if you’re white, you should be just as proud as if you’re African-American or Hispanic or whatever”. But what he, what he really means by that, and where he has immense power, is to create an audience or tap into an audience of aggrieved people — particularly white males, and this is true in Europe as well — to justify or legitimate a kind of new language within liberalism that what simply wasn’t acceptable before. It was always there in the extreme right groups, like Neonazis in the United States, was always there. But now it’s refined so that he and others on cable news can say, “Well, look, we we believe in democracy, and we believe in equality. And we because we believe in these concepts, therefore, we want majorities to be taken seriously, too, not just minorities who get all the benefits.”

John Torpey  10:59

Interesting. So I want to pick up on something you said, which was that these figures that you’ve written about, or that your colleagues have written about, don’t really talk to each other necessarily. I mean, some of them do, but for you said, for the most part, they don’t. And, you know, I’m curious if you could talk a little bit about why that’s the case. I mean, I remember somebody kind of making the joke that there would be no such thing as a Nationalist International, right? The International idea was something that was associated with communism and the working class, and as you well know, from your book on the Communist Party, is that the reason they don’t talk to each other? Or is it the politics in each country is so different? Or what what is that about?

Jim McAdams  11:45

Well, I mean, you’d have to make some distinctions here, because some of them do talk to each other, but they have different purposes. So if you look at Steve Bannon, for example, he has spent a lot of time trying to create a kind of community of far-right thinkers and far-right politicians in Europe, and he hasn’t been as successful as he hoped to be. But he’s trying, he’s trying to set up his own institute of far-right thinking, and I think they actually have a building in Italy somewhere. But now he’s also turning his attention to the United States. So he’s one example of a person who is trying to legitimate his views by seeking the support of others.

Jim McAdams  12:42

And another example of the kind of person he’s trying to recruit is [Viktor] Orban in Hungary. So Orban, you know, who’s a very clever politician, is not so much interested in the ideas, he’s interested in the attention. And so he’s glad to invite Bannon to have a meeting with him. And they can pretend that they’re, you know, exchanging learned thoughts. But the important thing is that there is a core to these people’s ideas, a core of elements, you get back to the issue of identity for example, which in some way, is different, but in other ways, is quite the same. I mean, the attempt to build up a particular identity, any group of ideas that that helps them influence people or seem to influence people that brings them together. And so, you know, I’d mentioned the case of Orban is quite interesting. You find activist intellectuals like Bannon in Western Europe, you find them in the United States. But curiously, in places like Hungary and Poland, you don’t need them. So the leaders become the articulate spokespersons for these ideas.

John Torpey  14:26

Right. So I mean, your mention of Bannon and the building in Italy, I think that’s right. (I can’t remember exactly where it was or where where it is, but I do believe it is in Italy.) And it reminds me that there’s a kind of not just a racial element to some of this thinking, but also a religious one. And I wonder if you could talk a little bit about that. I mean, I think Bannon, you know, conceives himself as a kind of a Catholic who’s, you know, trying to save ordinary people and put an end to poverty and things like that. I mean, he saw himself as a kind of class revolutionary, I think, in effect and saw Trump is his stalking horse. And I wonder if you could talk about those aspects of Bannon’s thinking, but also about the role of religion more generally in these far-right thinkers’ ideas?

Jim McAdams  15:28

Yeah, this is quite interesting, because one would expect religion to play a greater role than it does, particularly in Europe. I certainly am not in the position to question whether Bannon is a sincere Catholic or not. But I see, what he does with Catholicism is to create a tool, it’s one of many tools that he can use to make his case. In Europe, many of the supporters of the far right are not religious at all. In fact, many of them are anti-religious, or, to the extent that they’re religious, they have kind of romantic conceptions of a religion that isn’t at all like what we would call religion. So it can be an amalgam, it can be, you know, borrowing from Zoroastrianism. So, religion, again, I’d emphasizes is more of a tool, and less of a true guide to their behavior and interest.

John Torpey  16:43

So you’ve mentioned Europe for obvious reasons, a number of times now, and I thought maybe this would be an opportunity to ask a question about a country that you know very well, that I know somewhat, namely Germany, which just had an election, and finally Angel Merkel has come to the end of her very long period in the chancellor’s office. And there’s a new player on the block. And that, of course, is the Alternative for Germany (AfD). And it’s not brand new, it’s been around for a number of years, but really came out of the woodwork with the so-called refugee crisis of 2015, 2016. And has now become a fixture on the German political scene, much to the chagrin of really, basically all the main parties. But it’s getting like more than 10% of the vote in the country as a whole, and 20% and more in some of the states of the former East Germany.

John Torpey  17:47

So, I mean, the AfD really started as a kind of anti-Brussels movement or party, but saw this immigration issue as something to grab onto in the refugee crisis, and it has become something quite different from what it was before that time. But in any case, it’s sort of the flagship, if you like, far-right party in Germany today. So maybe you could talk a little bit about you what you think is going on there? And, you know, who are the influential thinkers that maybe we wouldn’t have heard of? Or is that really not part of the scene in Germany?

Jim McAdams  18:26

Yeah, I think you needed to draw a line, in most respects, not all respects between the far-right thinkers that we cover in our book and AfD in Germany. Because well, first of all, it’s a very worrisome development. It’s a shock to anybody that has studied Germany that finally, an extreme right wing party has taken hold electorally, that it is, has got a lot of votes in the Bundestag, the new one that will be formed. And, but that’s quite different than the thinkers and so, in fact, the thinkers try to distance themselves from parties like this, in that the thinkers will say, ‘Well, you know, we’re serious about, our intellectual claims, and we work within the realm of ideas.’

Jim McAdams  19:31

Some of them, the most prominent German one, is a guy named Götz Kubitschek, and he’s been glad to advise the leaders of the AfD and particularly to keep people off the streets. His argument is that, it doesn’t help the party if its members of the Bundestag are out in the streets with extremist radicals. But a deeper reason for this is that the thinkers do not view themselves as part of the political scene. This is a, you know, an area where [Pat] Buchanan is, is quite different because he would like to be a part of both worlds. In contrast, people like Götz Kubitschek are sort of vanguardists. They’re they’re almost, they are like Leninists. Despite what I just said, Steve Bannon has called himself a Leninist. And many of the Europeans do as well.

Jim McAdams  20:41

They’re elitists who see themselves as standing above the masses as not wanting to engage in the compromise that political parties do. But of course, the AfD and other extreme right parties are drawing on the same discontent, modern democracy, the same polarization, to get both, and particularly in the old East Germany, the East German lander, the states of the modern, the contemporary German Federal, Federal Republic of Germany. They look for votes where they can find them, and they find them among the people who are unemployed, people who are uneducated, people who are are simply angry, they’re filled with rage over what they perceive to be the injustices, the injustice of the unification process. Even though what’s fascinating is, while these people argue that unification has treated them badly, most of these young people weren’t even alive when the Germanies were divided. So all they really know is the current Germany.

John Torpey  22:04

Right. So I mean, leaving aside perhaps the thinkers and their role in all this for the moment, there are certain circumstances that would seem from recent experience to be auspicious for the emergence of these kind of far-right movements. And if you look at Germany and the United States, one part of this may be that Merkel kind of tiptoed towards the center, and even into the left to some extent, and kind of corralled their issues, and thereby kept herself in the chancellor’s office for 16 years. But she left her right flank, so to speak, sort of open, because she thought all the votes were basically to her left. And that made a lot of sense and worked for a long time. But it also left this the right flank open. And you could perhaps say the same thing about Donald Trump’s rise, right, that the two party, or a lot of ordinary people came to see the two parties as essentially one party. You know, to some degree, this kind of thinking was also around on the left and provided support for Bernie Sanders to some extent. But do you see that as a dynamic that is important?

Jim McAdams  23:27

Yeah, absolutely. And for a lot of these people – I mean, it doesn’t really matter what they read – and you know, if you think about the identitarians in Europe or the Proud Boys to the Boogaloos in the United States, they don’t do a lot of reading, particularly in the United States. But what has happened is that both in the United States and in Europe – and to an extent in Canada and Australia – this language of anti-elitism has paid off really well. It’s paid off, because it has allowed groups that were always angry at the system and extremists to link arms with people who in other circumstances, simply would have voted for the middle of the road. So this is this is what Trump did in the United States, and he was very effective. And in this case, Bannon’s counsel was extremely important.

Jim McAdams  24:35

And so there’s the anti-elitism. Of course, the difference between most European or all European states and the United States is that (maybe I should make some of the East European states and maybe Italy an exception) but the general difference is that the right, the extremist right, has penetrated American politics. And if you look at the Republican Party, it’s not your grandfather’s Republican Party or even your father’s because it’s become so successfully brought to the extreme right by organizations like the Tea Party. The great benefit of European elections, and particularly proportional voting is that there is the possibility, a greater possibility, to counter right wing or extreme left wing attempts to penetrate the system.

Jim McAdams  25:44

So, if you look at Germany today, a lot of the coverage of the German elections has been not really negative, but people seem to be worried because of the Germans difficulty in forming a coalition. I’m not worried at all about Germany, because what I see in Germany is the fact that a bunch of parties that are middle of the road parties will in some way form a governing coalition, even if it takes a long time. In contrast, in the United States, the Republican Party has gone so far to the right. And the politicians who want to keep getting elected as representatives of the party have been cynically and opportunistically gone to the right. That it’s going to be hard to have a politics of the center politics, of the middle of middle of the road, in the United States. I don’t even know if it’s possible at this point. It’s quite, it’s very worrisome. So I’m much less worried about Europe than I am about the United States.

John Torpey  27:06

Right. Well, I guess I share that concern. You know, Trump, it seems to me however inept, and perhaps incompetent, I think there was a serious effort to overthrow the constitutional system, or that he was not prepared to live within any constraints because he has hasn’t had to do that for his entire life. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and could do all kinds of things that other kids couldn’t possibly have gotten away with. And he’s spent his whole life, you know, as he apparently did yesterday, you know, telling people not to respond to subpoenas and delaying tactics and countersuing and all this stuff.

Jim McAdams  27:52

Every day, there’s a new concern. Yeah, and the contrast with Europe is that the Constitutions of these countries really are not under threat. And, you know, the other thing about Europeans is that they have somewhat less of a problem with truth than than we do. You know, I always talk with my students about the fact that you could meet, you could get together with somebody who has all of the accoutrements of, you know, neo-fascism, and it’s quite frightening, and, you know, bring up the subject of climate change. And they would say, “Well, of course, there’s climate change, we need to do something about that.” In many cases, they would embrace vaccines, whereas in the United States, we’re prepared to, American citizens, many American citizens, are prepared to believe that whatever is thrown their way. And so that’s a huge contrast. And naturally, as you know, and all of your listeners know, this is rooted in American history, this kind of anti-intellectualism. And whereas it doesn’t exist in Europe, at least, to the extreme extent that it does in the United States.

John Torpey  29:18

Right. So appropos the comparison of Europe and the United States, I guess I want to ask a question that connects with your book Vanguard of the Revolution, about the history of the Communist Party. I mean, you know, one interpretation of fascism was always that it was a response to the communist threat, essentially. And I would say certainly since the collapse of the Soviet Union, communism has not particularly been a threat on the world scene, and yet we’re having this kind of extreme right wing reaction, the kind of transformation of the Republican Party in the US that you’ve just described, but also the efflorescence of these right wing thinkers and movements in various places in Europe and elsewhere. What do you make of that? I mean, how is the historical situation today similar to or different from the one that led to, you know, historical fascism?

Jim McAdams  30:16

Well, I mean,the biggest difference, I guess, is that in the period when fascist parties developed also on the extremes on the left, you were building states, you were building democracy, it was all about building. Whereas today, it’s about taking down. And,  so again, back to the people that we’re studying, and that’s why I keep coming back to this idea that they’re contemporary, these people are manipulating the levers of or the imperfections of liberal democracy to suit their purposes. And that’s quite different.

Jim McAdams  31:04

And so, you know, if you were to say “Well, then, you know, are they truly democrats, because they say they’re democrats?”, I would say no. Their ideas are not consistent with liberal democracy, but still they work within it. And what makes their arguments so dangerous, is that, in the past, many people, racists in the United States for example, would have been quite concerned about expressing their views publicly. I’m not speaking about Neonazis, but I’m just speaking about ordinary voters. Now, what has happened is that the space has been created for them to express these views, even if, even if they have no idea, any sophistication to the right wing intellectual critique.

John Torpey  32:07

So, I guess, as a perhaps a final question, I mean, you’ve drawn a rather stark comparison, I guess, I would say, between Europe and the United States. There are those who have joked that, you know, historically, the eventual destination of European countries is always a kind of fascism, and the United States has been relatively immune from a serious, you know, militarized movement that abrogates the constitution rules by fiat, etc, etc. That’s not to say it’s been a model democracy necessarily, but that’s a big kind of switch, it seems to me in the ways in which you’re framing the United States, and Europe. So, you know, well, do you see a way out?

Jim McAdams  33:01

Do I see a way out? You know, naturally, this is the big question. I see a better way out for Europeans, because they have multi party systems. And it is possible to pull people back toward the middle. In the United States, we have extreme polarization. One of the ways in which I see a way out is simply in having leaders like Joe Biden, for example, who can make the case for the middle. And I can’t possibly read what’s in people’s heads. And I don’t know which surveys to take seriously or not. But I think Americans basically want to be in the middle. And so my guess would be that many people that support Donald Trump are probably a little relieved that they don’t have to wake up to the turmoil. They have other reasons for supporting Donald Trump. And as I emphasize to my students, it isn’t like he appealed solely to, you know, unemployed, lower middle class Americans. He appealed to a lot of very smart, wealthy people who saw advantages, particularly financial advantages in having him in the White House. So at this point, I’d say the real challenge is for people like the moderate Democrats, to embolden more and more Republicans to return to where they were before. And so that’s where my goal applies.

Jim McAdams  34:53

So, but I would also emphasize that when you think about the extreme right, both in the United States, and in Europe, there are a lot of similarities. They have different ways of expressing their views: Americans are more focused on race and nation; Europeans, the European right, is more focused on ethnicity, and in many cases more internationalist than the United States. But they’re both very similar in that they borrow on the general concept of identity and the fear that people’s identities are being threatened. And no matter how they define the the aspects of their critique, that’s very much the same.

Jim McAdams  35:45

In the United States, in particular, here I get back to a difference, the Republican Party is a dying party. It’s getting smaller and smaller. And it’s not the bastion of moderate views that it had in the past. So to a great extent, it has become in the interest of the Republican Party, and again, I would emphasize, not everybody, but I would emphasize the people on the right, Tea Party types, they do everything that they can to stay alive. And so these aren’t, when you talk about support for Donald Trump and Steve Bannon and American extremes, it’s very differentiated. The advantage of the European electoral system is that people can find bits and pieces of of what they want in different parties. That’s very difficult today in the United States.

John Torpey  36:59

You know, I think all that is right. But I wonder what is it that’s really driving these kinds of movements, these kinds of concerns, uncertainties on the part of various populations, I mean, it’s not just an American phenomenon. These are, you know, things as you’ve been pointing out, that are happening in in Germany, in Poland, in France, I mean, new parties are sprouting up in Italy, that have no real ideology. They’re just the 5 Star Movement or La République En Marche in France and things like that. There’s this kind of a political response to the political landscape, because obviously, people are not happy about the politics.

Jim McAdams  37:49

The main driver is communications. So today, it’s a question of who has the monopoly on or who’s trying to get the monopoly on the circulation of information, true or false, and in the case of these extremists generally false, to the greatest number of listeners and viewers. This is why when you look at somebody like Tucker Carlson, I’d say, you know, he is one of the greatest threats to liberal democracy in the United States, and perhaps in the world, because he has an enormous following. And he’s very clever. Tucker Carlson would never attack democracy. He would never say that, you know, he in any way questions rights, he’ll say that he believes in equality. And he does so frequently. But he makes the makes his case for extreme positions by taking advantage of the ambiguities and imperfections of democracy.

Jim McAdams  39:03

But you know, he has the most viewers, and in a climate — you know, where it’s bad in both places, but particularly in the United States — in a climate where people buy into the idea that it’s up to them to create their own truth, or that they have somehow natural rights to do what they want. That freedom means your freedom, as in the case of unvaccinated people, your freedom, to get other people sick and to give them COVID. These are tropes that are incredibly dangerous. And again, a lot of it is based upon the technology. However, I emphasize it isn’t the technology that is the problem. The problem is the individuals who have arguments, in both continents, also in Australia, too, that are very appealing to people.

Jim McAdams  40:11

The other thing that they do that’s very clever is, and so if if you listen to Tucker Carlson, for example, his whole pitch to his viewers is “the elites think that you’re smart. And I know that you’re not. And so think about this, and because you’re smart, and because you have good sense, think about this issue, I’m just gonna present it to you.” And he makes people feel good. And then he presents them with absolute nonsense. You know, he will, he will say something like, I’m not against vaccines, I’m all for vaccines. But then he’ll suggest, I mean, he said, several months ago, he said, “Well, 5000 people who got vaccinated have died”, which is a ridiculous correlation. I mean, there are many ways of dying.

Jim McAdams  41:12

But he’ll, he’ll just throw it out. And he’ll say, “So here’s a fact. You make your own choice.” So he’s not, he’s telling people, I’m not going to say what you should believe I’m just going to present you with facts. But of course, what he is doing is he’s creating a world in which he can in fact influence them. I mean, that’s why he’s talking about replacement theory, and very few people are objecting. It’s crazy. Replacement theory is racist. It’s racist plain. It’s just absolutely indefensible. But he’s getting away with it. And every day he introduces a new theme, which is designed to influence his viewers.

Jim McAdams  42:04

And I would say, what’s really sickening about all this is he’s doing it for his ego, and he’s doing it for money. This is about money. The more controversy, the more money. And so it’s just quite selfish. He got vaccinated. I’m positive that, you know, he goes home, he tells somebody in his family, you wouldn’t believe what those fools bought today. And then he’ll think of something even more controversial. Just for money.

John Torpey  42:38

Well, on that cheerful note…

Jim McAdams  42:41

But back to my other point, isn’t necessarily the we’re not at the end of liberal democracy. I’m hopeful that more just more respectful, more sane, more sensible, politicians, other leaders will gradually bring people back to a sense of normality.

John Torpey  43:05

Well, I can only share that hope and look forward to it happening.

Jim McAdams  43:12

We don’t have any choice. John, I think when it comes down to, you know, possible worlds in the future. I mean, you mean, it doesn’t come down to optimism or pessimism, it comes down to hope. And so hope is a good resting point, a good foundation, we hope that we’ll be able to save a great political system.

John Torpey  43:36

Well, I’m a little pessimistic certainly about the near future, but I hope things turn out, you know, for the best, and I think there are possibilities of that, but I think there are also some pretty bad potential outcomes, which makes me nervous.

John Torpey  43:51

But in any case, that’s it for today’s episode, I want to thank Jim McAdams for sharing his insights about far-right intellectuals in the contemporary political landscape. Remember to subscribe and rate International Horizons on SoundCloud, Spotify and Apple podcasts. I want to thank Hristo Voynov for his technical assistance and to acknowledge Duncan Mackay for sharing his song “International Horizons” as the theme music for the show. This is John Torpey, saying thanks for joining us and we look forward to having you with us for the next episode of International Horizons.

Submitted on: OCT 11, 2021

Category: European Union Studies Center | International Horizons | Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies