November 3, 1999


The globalizers were all ready to declare victory, a few short months ago – but for every action, we are told, there is an equal and opposite reaction. First in Austria, then in Switzerland, and even in the belly of the beast, right here in the imperial heartland, the backlash against internationalism is gathering force. And the elites, I'm happy to report, are running scared . . .


For a while there it looked as if the very idea of national sovereignty would be overwhelmed by the assault of the acronyms: the EU, the UN, NAFTA, NATO, WTO, MTV, CNN, IMF – suddenly the ancient power of sovereign states was being superceded by supra-national entities of one sort or another. "Globalization" became the buzz-word of the moment. We were inundated with economists, journalists, and politicians of the right as well as the left solemnly declaring the inevitability and desirability of One World: free trade, free immigration – free, free, free of the ancient monsters that wreaked such havoc in the Dark Ages of our planet.


No sooner had Francis Fukuyama ushered in Hegelian Chic and declared the "end" of History, then it wasn't long before US government officials were joyfully proclaiming the end of the American nation. A recent New York Times profile of deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott [September 21, 1999] revealed his belief that the US may not exist "in its current form" in the coming century because the idea of the nation-state is on the way out. As Talbott approvingly predicted in Time magazine [July 20, 1992, "The Birth of the Global Nation"]: "Within the next hundred years . . . nationhood as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority... A phrase briefly fashionable in the mid-20th century – 'citizen of the world' – will have assumed real meaning by the end of the 21st."


But not everyone is resigned to being a citzen of everywhere and nowhere, and before our globalist elites in the West consign national identity and independence to the dustbin of history they had better look over their shoulders – because the backlash is already upon them. As I pointed out in a column on the recent electoral triumph on the pro-market, anti-EU, Freedom Party of Austria, the alleged "racism" of the Freedom Party was based on their opposition to immigration – a view also held by the majority of Americans. That anyone should suggest that the EU, unlimited immigration, and the welfare state were not ushering in a utopia, but instead were destroying the economic and cultural foundations of Austrian society – why, it was unthinkable. The Freedom Party was naturally denounced as a vile manifestation of – what else? – anti-Semitism, "xenophobia," and (the epithet of the hour!) "isolationism." Joerg Haider, the leader of the Freedom Party, was vilified as the second coming of Hitler – and now the Swiss People's Party, following its stunning election victory a few weeks later, is getting exactly the same treatment.


The tone of the news stories covering the Swiss election picked up the same three major themes that permeated the anti-Haider propaganda blitz: Hitler, Hitler, and Hitler. It was naturally a coincidence that the Voice of America, the Western media, and the endangered Swiss elites were singing in three-part harmony. The complete text of VOA's October 24, 1999 radio commentary in the days before the recent Swiss elections, presented in full below, makes for fascinating reading, as a textbook case of how the propaganda of vilification works.

"Opinion polls indicate the right-wing Swiss People's Party is gaining at the expense of its less- radical opponents. This is causing a fair amount of angst among conservative ruling politicians. They have been working hard to rehabilitate the country's image, which was tarnished by evidence of Switzerland's collaboration with Nazi Germany during World War II. The politicians are concerned a strong showing by a party – which wants to curb immigration and espouses isolationism – will once again put Switzerland in the eye of an international storm."


What a masterpiece of innuendo and smear! Here, packed into four sentences, is an object lesson in how to destroy an idea without ever having to discuss it. Note how intimately "isolationism" and proposals to curb immigration are intertwined with Hitlerism: the words "radical" and "right-wing," practically the first words out of the announcer's mouth, set the stage and the tone for the rest. And since this is directed at the Swiss people, there are undertones of an implicit threat – you will be thrust once again into "the eye of an international storm"! Crude, and, given the election results, not all that effective.

"For the past 40 years, Switzerland has been ruled by consensus under a so-called "magic formula." This system involves a four-party coalition. Until now, the three main parties have been given two seats each in the cabinet and the right-wing Swiss People's Party has been given one. Concern is rising that a strong win by the Swiss People's Party in Sunday's election could upset this fine balance and send shock-waves through Switzerland's normally staid political scene."


Oh, what a shame if we upset this "fine balance," for then, things would not be "normal" – and what could be worse than that? But what does political normality mean in a country which voted, in 1996, to give heroin addicts free supplies of their drug of choice?. The proposal passed, 63 to 37 percent, in a popular referendum. The "isolationist" Swiss People's Party was the only political grouping to make an argument against this surrealistic proposal. How dare they want to isolate themselves from the worst dregs of Europe – which soon came flocking to their door.


"The Swiss People's Party's biggest card is Christoph Blocher – a charismatic billionaire industrialist. His populist low-tax, tough-on-immigration stance has struck a resounding note with many people. In the final days of the campaign, Mr. Blocher came under attack for allegedly condoning a revisionist view of the Holocaust. He strongly denies these charges, saying he was the victim of a well-planned smear campaign by opponents."


Now, I know this will type me as one of the dreaded "conspiracy theorists," but can't you just visualize the New World Order School of Smear-mongering, where the scriptwriters for the various countries all sit around comparing notes, sharing helpful tips, and thinking up new synonyms for "xenophobe"? A typical conversation might go something like this:

"Gee, you know I'm really really stuck for some new stuff on Buchanan – I'm mean, now many times and in how many ways can you compare someone to Hitler? It gets old."

"Yeah, well, in Austria, fortunately, we don't have that problem: but let me see what I can do for you. Ah, yes, here's something! What about comparing him to Karl Lueger?"


"The mayor of Vienna at the beginning of the last century: a Christian Socialist, not really a Nazi but certainly anti-Semitic – I have a file on it, if you'd like to see it."

"That would be great. I know the Wall Street Journal would just love it, especially the part about how Pat is a socialist. If we can get David Brooks or John Judis to do it, that would be great. But if they're too busy, we can always have Geoffrey Wheatcroft crank something out." What a hack!"

A third voice, with a distinctly Swiss accent, interjects: "Yeah, but what about this guy Blocher? What are we going to do about him? The guy's one of those goddamn self-made billionaires, a former farmer who is now worth roughly 2 billion dollars. With money on the scale of Ross Perot, and a Buchananesque charisma, Blocher is beginning to be a real problem! Why, if not for him, Switzerland would have long ago been absorbed by the EU."

The Boss (is that an American voice, or do I detect a slight British accent?): "Look, you guys, if you're ever stuck for an angle, just go back to the original script, which as you know is basically the same for every country. Just give him the old Hitler Treatment – it helps if they're Germanic, or at least European, but we don't discriminate – Third World countries (especially those with rich oil reserves) qualify, too. Well, what're you guys standing around for – get to work!"


Surely I'm not alone in seeing the irony of all this. Here we have the "Voice of America," born as a bulwark against Soviet propaganda, now eerily coming to resemble its old antagonist – and not only stylistically but also thematically. For here is how the VOA writer, Lisa Schlein, ends her vicious tirade against Blocher and the Swiss People's Party:

"Mr. Blocher and his party oppose closer Swiss ties with the European Union and the United Nations. the three main conservative and socialist parties are in favor of bringing Switzerland out of its isolationist cocoon. Analysts here are afraid a swing to the right would invite comparisons with the recent electoral success of Austria's far-right freedom party. They are afraid it would send a powerful message that Switzerland still harbors a politics of self-interest and greed above all else."


God forbid any nation should act in its own self-interest – and as for greed, we'll leave that to the blackmailers who are draining the resources of the Swiss people. From the perspective of the VOA, however, it is greedy to resist extortion. The Swiss must be made to pay for the unforgivable sin of remaining a beacon of peace and a haven of relative prosperity and freedom in an era dominated by totalitarianism and war.


The VOA is expounding the same line abroad that the Clintonian spinmeisters are broadcasting for domestic consumption. It is the same crusade against "isolationism," albeit from a European angle: the evil Swiss "isolationists" will not be a doormat for the EU and will not abase themselves before the guardians of international political correctness for having successfully maintained their neutrality during World War II. Switzerland's foreign policy of commercial relations with all, entangling alliances with none, was the foreign policy of the American Founders: Switzerland followed their sage advice, even if, after the Spanish-American War, the US did not. Switzerland became a byword for the policy of neutrality that preserved the nation's freedom and independence through two world wars and a possible third. It is therefore a perfect target in a political campaign against "isolationism" – a symbol of everything that is "obsolete" in the international monoculture that is being carried into eastern and southern Europe on the wings of NATO: bourgeois values, independence, and most of all the sense of Switzerland's uniqueness, a nation somehow elevated above the others, geo-politically as well as geographically.


A nation exempt from the vicissitudes of war, conquest, and imperial ambition – such an example, in Switzerland or anywhere, cannot be allowed to stand. The sight of a happy prosperous people, untroubled and untempted by the unnatural pleasures of imperialism, might serve as an example to be emulated, a permanent reproach to the War Party, and a constant reminder to Americans of what they lost when they took the road marked "Empire."

Check out Justin Raimondo's article, “China and the New Cold War”

“Behind the Headlines” appears Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with special editions as events warrant.

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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (forthcoming from Prometheus Books).

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