By Wayne Besen
I’m starting to miss the quaint old days when the paranoiacs at the John Birch Society imagined black U.N. helicopters and feared, above all, an overarching international government. Ironically, it is the contemporary right wing that has nefarious global aspirations and is working to install a New World Order. Guided by a twisted version of faith, inspired by the energy of fascism and powered by international funding, these zealots have rapidly transformed their malign movement from insular isolationism to globalist adventurism.
Amoral social media platforms like Facebook made this extremist makeover possible. Authoritarian cells across the world are now able to network, bounce ideas and share resources. The Anti-Defamation League reports, “We are witnessing the internationalization of the white supremacist movement.” Heidi Beirich, who founded the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, told The Times of Israel, “They view themselves as part of a white collective that is transnational and that represents a race, the white race.”
The bogus Astroturf trucker “protest” that has disrupted life and commerce in Canada is a vivid example of right-wing globalism at work. The cantankerous truckers, some who waved Nazi flags, are ostensibly fighting for the “right” to selfishly promulgate a deadly pestilence that has claimed more than 5.8 million lives worldwide. In reality, these “protests” are not organic displays of outrage and concern about COVID policies, but a larger, well-organized, bad faith effort that is lavishly funded by American radicals from upscale zip codes.
This contrived convoy is a deliberate attempt by the global right to decrease trust in Canada’s government and export American-style anger and political dysfunction to our orderly northern neighbor. Regina Anne Bateson, a professor of public and international affairs at the University of Ottawa, is correct to call the situation “… illegal occupation, with heavy elements of extortion.”
The provocateurs included 13 people arrested with a secret cache of war guns. A few of these aspiring terrorists had allegedly planned to shoot Canadian authorities if they tried to disband the protests. In typical right-wing fashion, a crazy conspiracy was cooked up, claiming the guns were planted by the government to frame the protesters. (Yeah right, and Donald Trump won reelection, Sandy Hook was a false flag operation, and Pizzagate was real). Additionally, 400 plus hate incidents were reported to police, while the truckers flooded the 9-1-1 emergency center with crank calls so citizens could not file complaints against the hooligan invaders who were squatting in their cities.
Writer Umair Haque succinctly explains why this is not a normal protest. “There is a very, very big difference between what the ‘Freedom Convoys’ of the ‘Freedom Movement’ are and a legitimate protest. A legitimate protest aims to be heard by democracy. It is an attempt to have what political scientists call ‘voice’. These actions of the ‘Freedom Movement’ are not like that. Their explicit aim is to shut down the government.”
While the motives of individuals who participate in disruptive right-wing disturbances, like January 6 and the trucker tantrum, are mixed, there are two main actors behind the deliberate global campaign to sabotage democracy and replace it with autocracy. The first group behind the division and disorder are dispirited evangelical Christians in the United States who believe that voters can no longer be trusted. They see the majority as sinful, secular heretics who vote against their contorted version of righteousness. They believe that the only way to “reclaim America” is to overthrow government “elites” and replace them with fine Christian men and women, such as Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert.
Right Wing Watch reports that Boebert said the quiet part out loud during a speech to The Truth & Liberty Coalition, declaring that Christians must “speak up” for God to remove “unrighteous politicians, these corrupt, crooked politicians” and to install “righteous men and women of God” in their place. Since, the majority of voters aren’t buying the rubbish they are selling, the only way to accomplish this dystopian dream is to abolish the system where the majority decides who’s in charge.
While there are many terrific evangelicals who love thy neighbor and fervently believe in democracy, it’s unhelpful to deny that a particular strain of the faith is aggressive, toxic, divisive, anti-LGBTQ and virulently racist. Many of these folks have become bitter, as the population and prestige of their once robust small towns has declined with deindustrialization. This has caused formerly sane folks to radicalize, particularly apocalyptic-minded right wing evangelicals, who are angry and looking to tear down the system that they blame for creating their current circumstances.
To drive home this critical point, New York Times columnist Thomas Edsall wrote that Stephan J. Goetz, a researcher at Penn State, found that “for every 10 percent additional evangelical in a county, the number of hate groups in that county increases by 17 percent.”
It’s highly unlikely that this is a coincidence. If America is to heal and prosper, it is imperative that right wing evangelicals have a “Come to Jesus” moment to decide if what they are teaching, and preaching is healthy for democracy and America.
The second major player in the globalized chaos is the authoritarian Russian government. Russia’s goal is to undermine The West and mask their leadership’s insatiable greed with insincere calls to return to God. In order to carry out their misdirection, the Kremlin cunningly deploys corrupt oligarchs to fund fascist movements, particularly in Europe. They also dispatch their crooked Russian Orthodox priests to push conservative family values, so the Russian masses will be distracted and fail to notice that Vladimir Putin is stealing their money to build a luxury palace that would make a czar blush.
The clearest nexus of the American Religious Right and Russian interests is the World Congress of Families (WCF), which was cofounded in 1997 by right wing Christians from both countries. The organization was designed to fuse American culture war expertise with Russian oligarch money to create global havoc.
The poison fruit from this transnational crackpot coalition is on vivid display today in the African nation of Ghana. WCF, labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, helped inspire a bill that could result in a 5-year prison sentence for simply identifying as gay, while advocating for LGBTQ rights could be punishable by up to 10 years in jail. The bill is so heinous that LGBTQ advocates are calling it the “most homophobic document the world has ever seen.”
As a Jewish person I don’t make this analogy lightly, but I would call this monstrous piece of legislation the “Anti-LGBTQ Anne Frank Bill”. I say this because the draconian legislation is so extreme that it creates absolute social death for sexual minorities in Ghana. LGBTQ Nation reports that it would also put straight people at risk for prosecution for simply associating with LGBTQ people. This caused one Ghanaian publication to say it “compels Ghanaians to police gender and sexuality in their homes, workplaces, and everyday lives.” But isn’t policing the goal of those on the right who are pushing for a worldwide network of religiously-influenced police states run by strongmen? Isn’t policing and spying on neighbors a key part of the new Texas abortion law?
If Ghana’s LGBTQ citizens are hunted down like animals, jailed if found, their relatives, co-workers and landlords incentivized to turn them into the authorities, and to survive LGBTQ people must go deep into hiding – the chilling parallels with Anne Frank’s plight are incontrovertible.
Whether it is the Canadian trucker charade, Russian oligarchs funding fascist movements in Europe, or evangelical Christians terrorizing LGBTQ people in Africa, what is occurring worldwide is well-organized, intentional cruelty and chaos. What all these unsavory elements all have in common is a desire to make liberal democratic governance ungovernable. These ideologues are manufacturing crises across the globe, so voters lose faith in their elected officials. They want to exploit the disarray and turmoil of their own making, to justify sweeping in as iron fisted saviors who can restore order. To paraphrase the words of disgraced, twice impeached president Donald Trump, these forces of fascism want to discredit democracy so they can disingenuously claim, “I alone can fix” society.
Of course, these agents of anarchy won’t yet reveal their true agenda. They veil their malevolence with gauzy talking points that misappropriate words like “liberty” and “freedom”. However, the way you can tell a movement is illegitimate, is when they are taking the liberty to exploit the freedoms offered by democracy, in an underhanded effort to destroy the very system that is allowing them to protest. Alas, the extreme right was never opposed to a New World Order, they simply wanted to create an oppressive one where they are in control and in charge.