677 – A Stranger In Town

Ah, that’s how it looks like. The threat of threats, the downfall of Western CivilizationTM, a Turkish woman wearing a scarf! It’s election time again in Austria, and the two biggest parties, those that were in a coalition for merely two years now, are going to lose big time. At least that’s what the prophets say.

What does this mean? More votes for a democratic, constructive opposition? No, of course not. The extreme right is predicted to be the big winner, and of course they blame foreigners for whatever runs wrong in this state, and of course it’s most of all against Muslim minorities like the Turks. In fact we have quite a strong Turkish minority here in Vienna, in some parts of some districts they are even the majority now. Frightening, huhh??? All those scarves!

Oh well!

The Song of the Day is “A Stranger In Town” by Dinah Washington. I have it on disc 2 of the collection “The Complete Dinah Washington on Mercury, Vol. 7“. Pretty pricey nowadays.

7 thoughts on “677 – A Stranger In Town”

  1. Love that single splash of colour and the message it delivers.

    I shudder every time I hear of another government heading to the ‘far right’. Our present federal government leans that way as well although I’m not sure the adjective ‘far’ applies here, at least not when one considers the government of our neighbours to the south. Of course it’s a relative term.

  2. Yes, what a pity. Only the worst seems to come natural these days. What an irony that left utopia has died with one of its worst parodies, the totalitarian Soviet régime.

  3. Odd that the Left sees anyone who disagrees with them regardless of how modestly as FAR right. Hmm… is there something a tad less than far? Maybe “Just-less-than-far”? A-tiny-bit-far? A-bit-less-than-left? Um… Not-quite-far-left?

    Wonder why to each of us, everything that doesn’t totally fit our pattern of ideas is… well… far?

    Maybe because a man is the sum of his ideas. And when there’s any attack on any idea… well we go into self defense mode. And that kind of means lashing out. I’m guessing that happens to folks at the FAR right and the FAR left. And the FAR center…

    Um…. far center? Hmmmm… wonder where that lives 🙂

  4. Ted, the “extreme right” that I talk about is the FPÖ, “Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs”, normally translated to English as “Freedom Party”. They are the “far right”, because there is nothing right of them and they are by far more right than any other party.

    Well, the last sentence is not exactly correct, because the FPÖ had a split in … 2005? 2004? Anyway. Their former leader, Jörg Haider, a brilliant populist, maybe the most brilliant Austrian politician since Bruno Kreisky, split the party to quit with their financial debts, but his new party is generally regarded as “more of the same”, thus my judgment is not so altogether wrong as it seems upon first sight. Yes, there are two right-wing populist parties now, but for all practical reasons they are the same and they may re-unite at any time.

    The FPÖ began as VDU, “Verband der Unabhängigen”, i.e. “Union of the Independent” right after the war. It was basically a party of former Nazi. There was always a liberal undercurrent, but it was never strong, and when the FPÖ went into a coalition with the SPÖ, the Social Democrats, in 1983, the protest of the FPÖ’s nationalist wing was strong. This was the time of Jörg Haider’s rise, and by 1984 he managed to turn over FPÖ leadership to him. The coalition broke and Haider began his populist war against the establishment.

    Today Haider is “Landeshauptmann” in Carinthia, my home province, a function that’s roughly equivalent to a governor in the US, and throughout his political career he has only called apon the worst in people: jealousy, greed and envy. Most of the time the victims were foreigners, asylum-seekers, and of course the Slovenian minority in Carinthia.

    For me Jörg Haider and his imitators are the worst possible kind of politician. I don’t even believe that he means what he says. I think he is after nothing but power, but in the time of his career he has managed to make the unspeakable speakable, to make the despicable estimable. Mephisto would be proud of his pupil.

    So now, may I please call my Nazi “Nazi”? Thanks.

  5. Andreas, I do fully understand your emotions. Living in bavaria I have more than a full share of politicians that rise only on evoking the most evil emotions, and fear/envy/hate of foreigners is among those. And you are right, Jörg Haider is one of the worst exponents of those, the more so because he is so charismatic.

    You don’t even have to be left to see that disdain of foreigners as something awful – beyond all emotions pro or con foreigners in our societies it would be sufficient to recognize that our states would be helpless without their contribution in form of labor force as well as taxes.

    Besides this, the picture is brilliant and the color of the scarf is just the right one for this depiction, vivid enough to draw attention, reserved enough to sublimely point at the problem. Great.

  6. I am fascinated by the mix that goes into the European ideological stew. As I recall, the word “NAZI” stood for National Socialism. And there are many in my country who think that “Left” politically certainly means, socialist. Ditto the fascist movements which were also central/big government/collectivist/socialist movements and were, until the war revealed the disgusting nature of their ethnic purity apparatus to the West… well they were the darlings of the Leftist movements and leadership here in the states.

    In fact, as I recall, it was only their differences with Moscow over the definition of national socialist as opposed to international socialist identity that resulted in Stalin relegating the fascist/Nazi movements to some sort of right-wing hell. All were proudly red shirt before that schism.

    But apparently the question of nationalism is what is most defining of the various political poles for Europeans, where in the US, nationalism is understood very differently… largely because here national identity is not ethnically based. In Europe, nationalism begins with ethnic identity, a concept that is hard for Americans to totally grasp. Here, any strong ethnic identity is quickly understood as racism, something which has caused us some serious problems over the centuries.

    Oh well, these are the differences which are much larger than nuance when we live amongst them, eh?

  7. Andreas, I’m completely with you on that one. Sadly enough, that type right-winged populism is currently rapidly spreading also in Germany. Small surprise with the German re-juveniled Nazis now holding a substantial fraction of the seats in one of the German local parliaments. If you ever want to spoil your day, just search for NPD at youtube or in recent news articles.

    Ted, we can discuss semantics for a long time, however, I personally have a very simple (maybe naive) definition of “far right”. For me “far right” describes a state of mind and action that violates the spirit of our constitution and consequently fundamental human rights. And yes, sometimes I think politics becomes a circle with “far right” being nearly indistinguishable from “far left”.

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