Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a speech during a visit with the police in West Yorkshire, northern England, on September 5, 2019. - UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called Thursday for an early election after a flurry of parliamentary votes tore up his hardline Brexit strategy and left him without a majority. Johnson was on a campaign footing on September 5 as he launched a national effort to recruit 20,000 police officers in Yorkshire in northern England. (Photo by Danny Lawson / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANNY LAWSON/AFP/Getty Images)
In recent years, many countries have selected more nationalistic, conservative leaders over progressive ones: President Donald Trump in the United States, the growth of right-wing populist parties in Europe, and iron fist rulers in other countries such as the Philippines and Turkey are all examples of such. By characterizing liberalists as traitors who sell the nation to foreigners rather than their own citizens, nationalistic leaders come with a promise to make their nation at the top of the hierarchy of needs.
But why are nationalistic leaders becoming popular again? Didn’t people learn from Nazi Germany that extreme nationalism may not be the best route to take? People currently are debating whether the nationalistic trend seen globally is due to economic or cultural reasons, but the answer might lie in that nationalistic leaders are just like Hitler, but in a more mellow way. They often times tend to find a problem with seemingly “undeserving” groups in their opinion — people such as immigrants and minorities, who are often belittled. Nationalistic leaders blame them for the woes; after all, was it not President Donald Trump who stated that Mexico is sending “bad hombres”?
Also seen is the rise of nationalism from their graves, after requiem has been sung for a prolonged period of time. The rise of nationalism has consequently lead to the rise of authoritarian populism in brick nations and developing nations, where cheap labor, technology, and state-directed resource allocation is leading the way for extremely fast growth of their respective economies. However, unless miracles happen like those of the four Asian Tigers — Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan — countries will soon begin to face corruption which leads to an inefficacious outcome. Liberal reform is often not included in the minds of many, and countries’ economies seem very destitute. Liberal reform may be the only long term solution, but nationalistic leaders blaming something else, saying that that other group is creating poverty, is a sugar-coated story that desperate people might want to believe.
However, is a compromise possible between the far right and the far left? It seems unlikely due to political polarization. Both sides have chosen to push forth one-sided solutions, where the ideas often lead to cacophony rather than in harmony. For example, President Trump calls for hard-liner solutions such as building a wall or banning certain races of immigrants, while liberalists propose that immigration and policies regarding refugees are just moral commitments a free America must facilitate. Meanwhile, in Europe, conservative, nationalistic right-wing supporters contend that the restrictions the European Union (EU) puts on them is a direct violation of their respective nations’ autonomy and sovereignty.
Looking at historical events in the past century, it is evident that democratic accountability is of paramount importance for economic and political stability. In this time where liberalists are losing the fight in democratic nations, they should be adapting their institutions to better suit the needs of citizens.