During these last few years several curious phenomena have been occurring and spreading globally, mainly due to media, the internet and perhaps memes. No, I’m not talking about Trump being elected. It’s not like Clinton was a viable option.
I am talking about the surprising popularisation of past ideologies together with the normalisation of infamous conspiracy theories. Such attention is being generated by both their opponents and their startlingly large followership, mostly thanks to memes and ironic posting online. Such topics include the upsurge of Communist propaganda, the repopularisation of Nazism, accompanied by the rise of far right rhetoric as well as a more common interest or belief in the theory of a flat Earth and more.
These have survived decades since their commencement, losing popularity at some point, as counterarguments gain popular advantage over them. This is however changing as they are regaining greater recognition, once again, despite being around for a long time. We must recognise the change taking place in relation to these arguments. As their recognition grows, so do the arguments in favour of them, worryingly for many.
What may be the reasons for such a revival of such beliefs? Generally speaking, a significant cause would be the yearning to be different, edgy and unconventional. We can see this through the choice of ideologies, fashion, music taste and lifestyle in general, so as to mould their own individual identity. It is often perceived as ‘cool’ to form part of smaller groups which don’t associate themselves with the drove of common people and to hold different values from the rest. The norm is absolutely unacceptable! Democracy is for the normal, conformist masses. Bring back Communism! The Holocaust never happened! Also, what do you mean earth is round? NASA is the epitome of travesty. Earth is obviously flat!
The first of these which I will tackle is that of the flat-Earth theory, where it must be acknowledged that several people treat this trend ironically. The preponderance of flat-Earthers simply enjoy joking about it with their friends, or relish the fact that they can stand out by defending such a bizarre speculation, that they are challengers to Western cultural orthodoxy. Those who genuinely believe in this theory often do so out of irrational fear of certain authorities or simply out of dogmatic belief, which is not really based on actually proven facts.
This hypothesis should, however, not be entirely mocked. Rather than completely supporting this piece of Ancient Greek natural philosophy, which is endorsed by seemingly viable ‘proof’, or completely disregarding round-Earth and NASA-supported theories, one should always question the truth. One shouldn’t be gullible for all the matter that authorities push down our throats, since officials are often corrupt bodies who deceive the masses for their own benefit. Political systems have left us cynical, and rightly so, with their never-ending streams of lies. What proof do we have that the pre-eminent NASA isn’t sharing falsehood? What if the Apollo landing isn’t truly a hoax?
The upswing of Neo-Nazism’s popularity is a peculiar phenomenon, which is linked to the rise of the far right in predominantly Western Europe. One would think that after such a gruesome massacre, no one would hesitate to condemn such abhorrent acts of hate and violence towards minorities. This is not the case, as several people revere Hitler’s work, or even negate the Holocaust, despite the presence of proof. Neo-Nazism has strayed away from solely anti-Semitism, incorporating all the other non-European races. In this period of social development we have still managed to hold on to the concept of Eurocentrism. This might be caused by the acute influx of non-European immigrants that have come to inhabit this continent. These may cause fear due to experiences of terrorism and simply cultural diversity, where drastic differences feel foreign and can shock individuals. The integration of people with disabilities, Romani people or people of different sexualities in society has also caused these neo-Nazis to react with repulsion, since they are unable to accept such differences and wish to create a Utopic state of uniformity and perfection. Due to advancement in things such as civil rights and acceptance of diversity, such acts of injustice shouldn’t want to be repeated, but they still are.
Howbeit, who are nations of the world to judge neo-Nazis, such nations being warmongers who spread and inflict violence through wars all around the globe? Why should they antagonise or criticise such people when these authorities are no better? Who are we to point fingers, or rather, why do governments not allow the practice of Nazism in their respective countries and condemn it when so many are themselves warmongers. This certainly does not imply that Nazism is a good belief, far from it since it is implicitly immoral, but one must analyse one’s own actions thoroughly, before judging others.
Conversely, some millennial trends or ideologies are not completely faulty, or rather, one can’t be blamed for assenting to them. For example, can one merely praise democracy, the governance of nearly all the world? Democracy has been intrinsically flawed since its very birth in Ancient Athens, but it is still very much revered by the general public. This is understood, since it is probably the system that has best worked in this regard. However, democracy, a principle of social governance, has led to the supreme economic potency of capitalists who grow evermore wealthy, with the working class working ceaselessly and paying taxes to have an adequate standard of living. Is this the justice that the perfectly depicted principle of democracy originally wanted to engender? Definitely not.
Therefore, several leftist politically knowledgeable or socially interested people have tried to come up with solutions. Ditch democracy. All hail Communism. Maybe a reading of ‘Animal Farm’ gone too far or rather, misinterpreted? Maybe not. Communism, as theorized by Marx and Engels, is a beautiful but naive concept, to prevent the economic dangers brought by capitalism- democracies’ usual economic system. Economic equality between all and the annihilation of capitalism! Finally an acquisition of social justice and the solution to poverty? What these what these, most probably youths, are missing, is that they never actually experienced Communism in its applied form. They didn’t live through the poverty in the Soviet Union or the dictatorship of the ‘Democratic’, but ironically inherently Communist, North Korea. To clarify, this is not exactly a trend, since Communism is quite recent and obviously still exists till this very day. However, recently, several people seem to be showing support for this ideology. The idea that Communism is bad, as our teachers and parents often tell us, is slowly being less radicalised, as more people try to abolish its stigma. It is not perfect when executed, but it teaches us that we should read better into democracy and not label it as the perfect system and settle for it, if a better solution can be found. We should strive to find a better system, for society to thrive.
To finally conclude, one might ask: is it really a case of oddity that such ideologies are resurfacing? Or should it be understood and humbly accepted? The reasons don’t have to be accepted, however one must acknowledge that they are rekindled reasonably, despite a disaccord with such persons’ views. Whether the views may seem irrational or not, it is finally still a rational way for such a phenomenon to be occurring.
Written by: Michaela Pia Camilleri