Nigel Farage, Britain’s Donald Trump character, is by far the most significant man in British politics. In just a few weeks he has gathered huge political momentum. In tomorrow’s European Parliament elections he appears likely to score more votes than Labour and the Conservatives combined. Farage stood up against the entire political establishment, including the media and the commercial elites and has promised to change British politics once and for all. So far, it seems he is winning on all fronts.
How it is that once again a Right wing populist has won the minds and hearts of working people? How is it possible that Jeremy Corbyn, who was perceived by many of us as the greatest hope in Western politics, has managed, in less than three years, to make himself an irrelevant passing phase? How is it possible that the Right consistently wins when the conditions exist for a textbook socialist revolution?
Unlike political commentators, my explanation for this reoccurring political phenomenon is of a metaphysical nature.
The Left’s vision of temporality is a linear structure of historical progress that proceeds from ‘a past’ to ‘a future.’ Left ideology is structured around an ever progressing time line. The Left always promises to make things better in the future, to fight austerity, to care for the many not the few, to bring about equality and tolerance, etc. None of this is happening at present. This leaves the Left as a promise that is supposed to fulfill itself in an imaginary ‘tomorrow.’
But this is not how the Right’s political argument is structured. In fact the Right and Fascist argument is far more sophisticated from a metaphysical perspective. In my recent book, Being in Time, I contend that the Right ideologist understands that for the working class, utopia is ‘nostalgia.’
Trump won his voters’ trust by promising to make America great again. He vowed to plant the past in the future, reversing the time line. He promised to march America backward. Nigel Farage is using the same tactic, appealing to the same sentiments. He promises to make Britain a kingdom again not just a corner island in a dysfunctional globalist setting, a.k.a the EU. Farage is riding on the longing for a better past. Corbyn was a political star only because he is a nostalgic character, an old lefty. For a time, he also reversed the time line, but neither he nor any of his advisers were clever enough to grasp the secret behind the ‘Corbyn revolution’. They let a magical moment of popularity evaporate. Corbyn has become a cliché. His approval rating is 25%, not exactly promising for a candidate for prime minister.
Within the context of Left thinking, past, present and future are chronological, set to follow each other in consecutive order. Within Right wing philosophy, time’s tenses change positions irregularly. Trump and Farage put the ‘past’ in the future. They promise to march us back. They appeal to the masses because the human spirit, in its search for unity, transcends linear chronology. The Right wing ideologist capitalises on the human search for essence, for a logos and for transparency. In this regard, humans are historical creatures. They are capable of seeing the future in the past and vice versa.
Can the Left, in its current from, win the trust of the people? I think it is unlikely. The Left, as I describe it above, is removed from the human spirit. It is in a state of detachment. For ethics, equality and tolerance to prevail, we need a profound study of the human spirit not lame discussions of dialectical materialism.
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To learn more about the Post Political condition read Being in Time-a post political manifesto