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Surge of Support for Right-Wing Politics in Functioning Democracies

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By Soumya Sundar Chowdhury

In the last few years, the functioning democracies around the world have seen an uprising of right wing political parties. Be it the popularity of the Conservative party in the United Kingdom, upswing of Bharatiya Janata Party in India, Union Solidarity Development Party’s support for Ashin Wirathu in Myanmar, the French people’s strong support for the Union for a Popular Movement, the assertion of Christian Democratic Union of Germany, support for Conservative Party in Canada, one thing is common between all these democracies: a considerable number of people are slowly moving towards right-wing ideologies. The right-wing ideologues are usually seen by the liberals as anti-humanitarian, pro-rich, and anti-poor. While the endless liberal propaganda is one thing, the ground reality seems to be quite different from the media-hyped perceptions.

For our purpose, it’s very important to define what I mean by ‘functioning democracies’. People have every reason to agree or disagree with me regarding my definition of a functioning democracy and why I consider some of the democracies as functioning. But the definition will necessarily determine the course of this article.

To me, a functioning democracy is one which functions on the basis of popular support, in which every political party, irrespective of their size, may aspire for a shot at the top post, and in which the general intention of the government and judiciary is to keep the decision making away from the ambit of religious arbitration. Now, on this count, most Asian countries barring India and very few South East Asian countries cancel themselves out of the scope of this discussion; most of the European, Oceania, and North American countries walk in; and most of the Latin American and African countries don’t qualify as functioning democracies.

As we all understand, the huge distinction between the right-wing and left-wing ideologues does not merely reflect in their diametrically opposite economic policies but also in their socio-political orientations. The right-wing politics is mostly about majoritarian politics. It bases itself on the support of the conservative portions of the majority population, and it is often perceived to be the sworn enemy of all modern humanitarian theories. Although majoritarian, the right-wing views are often shunned in favor of liberal views. In a way, the functioning democracies have always entertained the leftists or the so-called liberal ideas. It is an irony, though, that the communist-ruled countries are not very tolerant about their citizens’ opinions.

The main flaw of the left-wing ideology lies in the fact that it considers every agitating class an oppressed class. The left-wing ideology views the unruly behavior of the agitating class as the direct result of their feeling that they have been repressed. It is also said that the peace-loving majority section of the society is not bothered about the oppressed class because they themselves are the oppressor. As if, their price of peace is being paid by the pain of the unruly section.

In the functioning democracies, where the majority has always been a peace-loving class, the beneficiaries of all rights-based issues have been the minority unruly section of society. The rights and the difficulty of the majority have been either ignored or overlooked for the sake of the right of the minority. Because of this unequal treatment, whenever there is retaliation from the majority, it has been readily ignored without looking into their sufferings. In reality, a large part of the unruly minority section is unruly because of their nature and oppression played a very little role to inflame that. As a corollary, a large section of the peace loving majority is naturally peace-loving.

But the liberal ideology always caters to appeasing the unruly minority section, even at the cost of peace of the majority. Take, for example, a huge but quiet guy in your neighborhood. He hardly creates any fuss about anything. Then there is a small unruly guy, who threatens to disrupt life in the neighborhood. To keep him calm, you let him run amuck; you give him everything and even let him bully the big guy for no reason. If the big guy complains, you just simply ask him to tolerate it for the sake of peace in the neighborhood. The unruly guy never stops; his regular torments eventually make the peace-loving big guy an unruly bully, too. This is what happened to all these functioning democracies: the tormented majority reached a point, where they couldn’t take it anymore. The liberal voices of the majority got lost in the process.

The right-wing ideology has always tried to keep the minority unruly element under control. The right-wing ideologues oppose the very idea of being soft on the unruly elements. Cause-assessment comes later to them. Their priority has been taking stringent action for disciplining the unruly elements. While it had all the good intentions, it couldn’t effectively convey its perspective. In the process, it lost out on popular support.

The Internet boom has aided in the spread of right-wing views. Since the print media is filled with the liberals and their aides, the right-wing views are drowned out by the media. With information explosion, the right-wing views are reaching people with ease and other like-minded right-wing people are coming close to each other for a common cause. Slowly and surely, people are getting to know that liberalism and right-wing ideologies are not at odds. The right-wing view can also be pro-humanitarian; it simply views the system from a different angle. The left-wing propaganda is losing ground and remains relevant through scare-mongering.

We must understand that crackdown on the unruly sections of the society is the need of the hour. Failing to do so will only encourage other unruly sections in the midst of the presently peace-loving majority. Since the left policies have miserably failed to do justice to people’s aspirations, the surge of support for the right-wing policies was inevitable.

Photo-credit: Here


Soumya Sundar Chowdhury is a Civil Engineer by profession. He completed undergraduate degree in Construction Engineering at Jadavpur University, Calcutta, and graduate studies at West Virginia University in Civil Engineering. An avid follower of Indian and world politics, his opinions are personal and mostly right-leaning.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are author’s own. Café Dissensus Everyday doesn’t necessarily endorse these views. However, we are committed to giving space to all ideologies and perspectives for a meaningful debate. 

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2 Responses to “Surge of Support for Right-Wing Politics in Functioning Democracies”

  1. mosarraphossainkhan

    While this is an honest polemic in favor of the majority views, there are a few things that must be explained further:

    1. Are the majority necessarily right-wing (in the sense of being conservative)? Would the author consider the electorate that votes in favor of a left-leaning party not a majority (as the majority voted for the Congress for two terms. Congress is generally believed to be centrist to left-leaning to rightist, with a tilt to the left.)?

    2. Is right-wing belief a static entity or does it change with specific socio-economic determinants? Is right-wing belief a commitment that remains unchangeable over time? If not, then who are the right-wing people?

    3. If democracy is about ensuring rights of each and every individual, why should the majority view (even if there is one) get precedence over small numbers? Isn’t it paradoxical to praise ‘functioning democracies’ and then claim that the minority views shouldn’t be given any importance?

    4. Are all minorities unruly? Even if they are, what makes them unruly? Is their unruliness static like the supposed conservatism of the majority? Or the unruliness is the product of specific socio-economic grievances?

    5. What about the unruliness of the majority, as evident in India for last 25 years or so?

    Finally, let’s look at what Gandhi said about democracy and the place of majority/minority in it:

    “Claiming the right of free opinion and free action as we do, we must extend the same to others. The rule of majority, when it becomes coercive, is as intolerable as that of a bureaucratic minority. We must patiently try to bring round the minority to our view by gentle persuasion and argument.
    (Young India, 26-1-1922, p. 54)”


    “The rule of majority has a narrow application, i.e., one should yield to the majority in matters of detail. But it is slavery to be amenable to the majority, no matter what its decisions are…. Democracy is not a state in which people act like sheep. Under democracy, individual liberty of opinion and action is jealously guarded. I, therefore, believe that the minority has a perfect right to act differently from the majority. (Young India, 2-3-1922, p. 129)”


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