Hans-Georg Betz

Hans-Georg Betz is an adjunct professor of political science at the University of Zurich. Before coming to Zurich, he taught at various universities in North America, including Johns Hopkins University's School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC, and York University in Toronto. He is the author of several books and numerous articles and book chapters on radical right-wing populism. He holds a PhD in Political Science from MIT.

Intellectual Enablers Carry a Responsibility for Mass Shootings

Aug 05, 2019

Another day, another mass murder. This time in El Paso, Texas, leaving scores dead, scores injured. This time the targets were Hispanics. Last time, Muslims — or Jews. Next time it may be the (white) “racial traitors” responsible for the current “invasion” from all corners of the earth. Republicans in...

American Liberals, Beware of Your Enchantment With Sweden

Aug 02, 2019

For most Western Europeans, Sweden is nothing exceptional — a relatively small country, in terms of population, on the periphery of the continent. In the 1960s and 70s, Sweden was notorious for its sexual permissiveness. In Germany, for instance, in the 1970s, “erotic” movies had instant success when they included...

Romance Novels Are a Weapon Against Misogyny

Jul 26, 2019

Contemporary romance novels are big business, and they empower women in a number of ways. In the United States alone, romance novels account for about one third of the fiction market, about the same as mystery and fantasies combined. The vast majority of romance writers are women, and so are...

Australia’s Own Brand of Radical Populism

Jun 20, 2019

Unlike radical right-wing populism in Western Europe, Australia’s “Hansonism” is largely a one-woman show, almost completely dependent on Pauline Hanson’s personality and appeal. She has been called a “mischievous troublemaker, an “embarrassment” to the country, and just a plain racist. The referent of these diatribes is neither France’s Marine Le...

Making Sense of the Christchurch Terror Attack

Mar 18, 2019

For terrorists like Brenton Tarrant, acting in the name of “racial survival,” human life has no value unless it is the life of their own ethnic group. Very few people probably still remember William Luther Pierce. Even in the United States, he is largely forgotten, except perhaps on the fringes...

A Populist's Path: From Advocate of the People to Inspiration for the KKK

Jan 17, 2019

Tom Watson promoted himself as a leading voice of Southern white supremacy, nostalgically evoking images of the “Old South” that drew legitimacy from its grounding in a combination of Jeffersonian political theory and cultural agrarianism. In 2012, I had the opportunity to spend a few weeks in Georgia, the most...

Winston Peters: From Populist Maverick to Elder Statesman

Nov 19, 2018

Winston Peters’ New Zealand First has been a textbook case of how to combine populist rhetoric and nativist discourse in the service of political mobilization. Some 20 years ago, I coedited a book on The New Politics of the Right. The focus of the volume was on the adoption of...

What the Mesut Özil Affair Tells Us about Contemporary Germany

Aug 15, 2018

The affair might have passed relatively quickly had it not been for the success of the far-right Alternative for Germany party in the 2017 federal election. Germany’s performance in the FIFA World Cup in Russia was nothing short of a disaster. The 2014 champion came in dead last in its group,...

What Drives the Politics of Rage?

Jul 19, 2018

In the past, emotions in politics were too often negatively defined, dismissed as symptoms of immaturity and irrationality.  “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” shouts news anchor Howard Beale in the 1975 movie Network. Thousands of ordinary people follow his lead, raising their voice...

The Roots of Nativism: Banking on the "Deplorables"

Apr 17, 2018

Although originally an American phenomenon, nativism has become central to the understanding of the contemporary radical right.  They arrived by the thousands in the mid-1750s, immigrants from Württemberg, the Palatinate and Switzerland. Often they were so poor that they had been obliged to sell their children. Wretchedly sick and destitute, they flooded...

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