Economist Thomas Sowell once said that the word ‘racism’ is like ketchup: it can be put on practically anything. Today, since Robin DiAngelo et al have decided that all white people are racist, it could be argued that the word has lost some of its power; if we’re all racist, then calling us just that isn’t particularly effective. And if we’re all unconsciously racist, perhaps we’re all victims, and thus should be the target of sympathy, not anger. Or not: Ms. DiAngelo’s and her anti-racist disciples’ claptrap has been brilliantly taken apart by the esteemed linguist and author John McWhorter.
But the term far right hasn’t been watered down nearly as much as the ‘r’ word. And when most people hear far right, they likely think of Nazi flags, white supremacists, ultranationalists, etc. So, if you are eager to wound an individual’s or a group’s reputation, the term is most certainly a useful one.
Indeed, like its close cousin – the neologism ‘alt right’ – far right has become an effective tool for those in the media and politics, used to discredit and smear people who they consider a threat, or with whom they merely disagree. A recent example of this is the anti-lockdown protests that took place in Dublin, Ireland on February 27, 2021.
Reports have varied, but anywhere from 400 to 4,000 people took to the streets of Dublin to demonstrate against what have been considered the most draconian lockdowns in Europe. This third Irish lockdown has been enforced since late December and may last until June. When one reckless individual at the protest decided to point fireworks at the Irish police (An Garda Síochána, or ‘the Guards’), unfortunately further violence broke out. Predictably, the ugly scenes that followed dominated the news headlines, rather than the core issue: people protesting against their de facto mass incarceration, and the collateral damage caused by continual lockdowns.
Papers pounced, using loaded language like “anti-lockdown protesters stormed Dublin city centre.” One elected Irish official referred to the protest as a ‘riot’. And the always-effective smear would soon be utilized, too. Extra.ie proclaimed “far right thugs attacked frontline Gardai policing an illegal protest.” The Irish Mirror declared “far right anti-lockdown protesters thronged the city flouting Covid-19 restrictions.”
How reporters managed to sit down with protesters and learn about their respective political leanings is not only incredibly admirable – it is journalism of the highest standard. Of course, these journalists did no such thing. Were some of those in attendance right wing? Yes. That a) doesn’t necessarily make them far right, and b) doesn’t warrant labelling the protest a ‘far-right demonstration’ like some Irish politicians have. A significant number of Irish citizens decided to stand up and speak out against what is widely considered a cruel lockdown. That doesn’t make all of them extremists. Quite the opposite: it is likely that many are desperate and feel that protesting is their only option….[ ]