Running Out of Saviours

Nigel Farage, the relatively well-spoken, relatively reasonable, and relatively principled British politician — I eschew the word “statesman” and its accompanying concept, as that species went extinct decades ago — who is commonly identified as the hero (or villain) of the Brexit movement, has, on the eve of a British election, reasserted his ideological alliance with the worst elements of the worldwide “far right,” i.e., the progressive collectivist protectionist sub-tribe that occasionally, for purely pragmatic reasons, pretends to have something in common with conservatism and individualism. Specifically, he has reiterated the most common and the most twistedly amoral argument about the war in Ukraine that has emerged from the Putin propaganda algorithm, namely that Putin’s all-out invasion of a neighboring country with which Russia had previously signed a non-aggression pact, and whose territory (subject to the aforementioned non-aggression pact) he had already illegally occupied eight years earlier, was somehow “provoked” by NATO and the European Union.

To state what ought to be obvious, and indeed would be to anyone whose mind had not been melted into the populist, statist, demagogue-infatuated mob that pretends to be “the right” in Europe and America today, sovereign countries pursuing their own national interests in peaceful, non-aggressive ways, and entering into official or unofficial alliances with their neighbors aimed at protecting themselves from a long-term, increasingly assertive tyrant with the world’s largest military at his disposal, who has already openly declared his resolve to regain control of the countries that his tyrannical predecessors were forced to relinquish after decades of brutal occupation, cannot be held responsible in any way for the aggressive actions of said tyrant. If you buy an extra large lock for your front door after noticing a threatening gang of thugs patrolling your street, you cannot be blamed as the instigator if the gang decides to break into your house first before you get that new lock installed. On the contrary, their crime against you only vindicates your decision to install a better lock.

Farage and his ideological kin, from Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen in populist politics, to Tucker Carlson and Russell Brand in popular media, to Jordan Peterson and Noam Chomsky in pop intellectualism, are either falling for or actively embracing the Kremlin model of propaganda and moral inversion. Taking steps aimed at prodding and unsettling the West, Putin then uses the West’s natural response to his actions — reinforcing their commitments to mutual protection and their own national interests in discouraging the aggression Putin is openly threatening — as a rationalization for his eventual aggression, claiming that he is only defending himself against their provocations. But when the action he is claiming as merely defensive is an all-out military invasion of Ukraine, costing tens of thousands of lives and millions of displaced citizens, one must ask whether there is not, even in the hearts of the most thoroughly committed populist demagogues and sundry self-promoters, a breaking point in one’s credulity. 

So far, judging from the latest reiteration of that key propaganda point by none other than Nigel Farage, who appears to be more politically intelligent and savvy than all the rest of the names noted above put together, the sad answer is that apparently that breaking point has not yet arrived. And if not yet, then when? The answer is all too obvious. The world must work around these clowns, for they will not wake up and join reality until it is too late, so lost are they in their private dreams of power, money, applause, and a deep-seated desire to feel needed — by anyone, for anything, regardless of right or reason.

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