Are we experiencing a Conservative resurge?

There is a tendency in politics to situate opinions, thought-patterns, development-Philosophies and most especially political parties along the lines of either being right-leaning or left-leaning. Fundamentally this categorization takes different shapes as one interrogate political ideologies within the circle of historical epochs as well as geographical regions of the world. This means that the right/left divide in political thinking are not unbreakable walls, but rather political positions taken in relation to particular circumstances a country face at a definite time.

For example during the world war one era, what defined the left was pacifism and their denunciation of militarism which was usually accredited to the political right. The dividing lines also changed during the cold war era with the political left being defined by a policy of de-escalating tensions with USSR and reducing Nuclear armaments, whereas the political right favored a more tougher stance towards the USSR, and had huge skepticism for any quest at nuclear disarmament.

In more recent times the political right in western politics have been know to favor more rigid immigration policies, prioritize the Nation’s economy even in the face of worldwide threats like global warming, lay emphasis on a strong military as well as a believe in retaining religious understanding of social life, amongst others. However the political left have been defined by more open immigration policies, a desire for curbing global threats even if it affects national economy, a dislike for anything arms, whether it be military expansion, paramilitary expansion or gun rights (an extreme aspect of which we see in the “defund the police” slogans shouted by the United States Political left) and a quest to redefine society beyond the limits of religious explications. Mostly in terms of political affiliation, the ‘right’ have been associated more with Nationalism and Conservativism, whereas the left have been associated with ideas of Globalization and Liberalism.

We are beginning to see the full extent of Liberalism and Conservativism play out in certain layers of western politics, ranging from the Conservative high handed immigration policies to the Liberal extreme desire to explore any loopholes in the content of ‘rigid National laws’, in a bid to achieve their policy plans.

In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s clampdown on loosened immigration policies, demonstrates an obvious replica of what Donald Trump had wanted to do in the United States. Technically between 2019 when Boris Johnson assumed office and June 2022 when he survived the vote of no-confidence, over 10,000 immigrants have been deported from the UK, either over immigration offenses, misdemeanor, et al. However the fact remains that Johnson may go on record as being one of the toughest Prime Ministers on immigration in recent times. What’s most alarming is his signing of a deal to deport migrants to Rwanda who are judged to have entered the UK illegally. In the same vein similar deals have been said to have been signed with the West African countries of Nigeria and Ghana, and just yesterday about 13 Nigerians and 8 Ghanaians were deported back to their respective country of origin; amongst whom are reported to be a gay asylum seeker and an aged woman.

Whilst questions are being raised on the morality of these policies, the answers to these questions becomes even more problematic than the questions in itself. One may see this as an obvious trend amongst Conservative politicians. For example former US President Donald Trump, often cited the large train of migrate caravans as his excuse for building a wall, as well as Islamist extremism was cited as the reason for his early travel bans. In the same vein former Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu’s 2018 push for the deportation of illegal immigrants also raises crucial points as to the full extent Conservatives could go in pushing through their policies.

While the above problematics could be attributed to Conservativism, Liberalism’s extremes has also been brought to full gear in recent times.

In the US, Liberalism has brought to full glare it’s love for constitutional workaround as a faster means of enacting laws mostly in controversial situations wherein it is hard to get sufficient legislative votes. Furthermore the Liberal usage of the media and her penchant for censoring opposing viewpoints, as well as (if possible) a total or near total desire for control of information circulation, are obvious points of worry for the extent at which liberalism actually permits freedom.

Now liberals have more recently began a push towards socialist tendencies, and would almost generally favor a very powerful center government even at the expense of freedom for each state to make independent decisions. We can see this more recently in the verdicts passed on abortion; wherein what the United States Supreme Court did was simply to return the case to the state legislatures in line with the principles of federalism. The Supreme Court decision pinpointed the reality that the liberal pattern has been to exploit the agency of the Supreme Court in making laws over crucial issues of which they lacked the required votes to scale through Congress. This pattern; which is an obvious constitutional workaround presents how liberalism attempts to exploit loopholes within a Nation’s rigid Constitution in a bid to ensure the enactment of their policies.

However, despite the foregoing, if we look critically at the recent surge in populism we may affirm the need to reinterpret our Political binaries and accept that more recent trends in Liberalism leaves it as being conservative in nature. This is based on the very fact that the obvious lines of demarcation between Conservative Methods and Liberal Methods are becoming blurred with both layers beginning to ride on populist waves (which they once derided), as a means to getting voters.

The emphasis in this regards has shifted from a desire to get loyal voters committed to their ideologies into being a desire to ride on popular fury about policies and translating such into electoral votes. We can see such trend in the present stoking of political fury over the United States Supreme Court abortion verdict.

Here the very point of liberal methodology, has been to retain simple a commitment to their own ideological stand, while seeking to draft in as many voters as possible through populist fury. Thus the question remains how best can liberalism’s commitment towards a return to a former status quo (especially as it relates to the abortion debate) be interpreted? Isn’t this very idea of a longing for the erstwhile status quo conservative in nature?

If this then is the case isn’t it proper to view this very renewed conservative nature of liberalism as a conservative resurge?

About the Author
S Ovwata Onojieruo is a Theologian and Political scientist, with major interest in Political theory, Middle-east politics (especially as it affects the Jewish state), and international relations. He currently works as an High school tutor/debate coach, and can be reached on twitter @OvwataS
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