Being Right: The label ‘far-right’ further radicalizes the right

By Lyndon Lee A

Jair Bolsonaro is considered the Trump of South America. Photo courtesy of Antonio Scorza / Associated Press

In response to political leftism all throughout the world, reactionary right-wing movements have emerged such as Brazil’s election of Jair Bolsonaro. Due to being right-of-center, the media tends to label all of these groups as far-right. This label only radicalizes them and discredits moderate right-wing positions.

Elections where right-wingers have won have been described as unexpected. However, these candidates win elections due to campaigning on reactionary proposals, such as cracking down on crime and limiting immigration. The “far-right” label gives the connotation that they are associated with fascist governance, despite having acceptable political beliefs.

For example, a video investigation by the New York Times about president-elect of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro mentions how Brazil has approximately 64,000 homicides annually, but claims that increased policing has a net negative impact due to mirroring authoritarian governing.

The investigation covers Brazil’s military policing in its poorest neighborhoods and how frisking individuals is painted as hurting the community. According to the investigation, Bolsonaro’s opponents label him as a fascist campaigning on fear and security.

A separate video investigation from the New York Times covering the rise of the Alternative for Germany party claims the far-right ideology and Nazism have grown. In the video, various groups are shown, whether it is protesters against high numbers of migration or Nazis with no connection to the party.

The phrase “hates foreigners” is stated repeatedly in the video and labels all individuals on the right as being far-right, despite varying beliefs. All throughout Europe, it seems that anyone who questions the open migration policy is given that label, whether it is Marie Le Pen of France or the Swedish Democrats of Sweden.

Within the United States, the Tea Party Republicans in 2010 was labeled far-right by its opponents. Vice President Joe Biden claimed they acted like “terrorists.” The Tea Party movement campaigned on lowering taxes and government spending, which are not far-right positions.

Describing moderates as extremists only further polarizes the political debate, as people start to believe there is a binary choice within beliefs, and takes away the feeling of individuality. The media should stop using divisive language and realize there are a variety of valid viewpoints.

Jair Bolsonaro is considered the Trump of South America.