The term, new right, has been used to describe a broader movement in the English-speaking world: socially conservative proponents of the night-watchman state, such as Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, or New Zealand First. British Prime Minister Thatcher and US President Reagan speak at The South Portico of the White House after their meetings in the Oval Office in Washington DC on September 29, 1983.

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New Right

New Right is a descriptive term for various right-wing political groups or policies in different countries. It has also been used to describe the emergence of Eastern European parties after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Communism. The word “New Right” appeared during the 1964 US presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater to designate “the emergence, in response to liberalism, of an uninhibited right: ultraconservative, imbued with religious values, openly populist, anti-egalitarian, and intolerant of racial desegregation.”

Popularized by Richard Viguerie, the term became later used to describe a broader movement in the English-speaking world: socially conservative proponents of the night-watchman state, such as Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, or New Zealand First. However, as Jean-Yves Camus and Nicolas Lebourg point out, this leaning had only a few in common with the “European New Right” that had been emerging since the 1960s, more inspired by the conservative revolutionary Moeller van den Bruck than by the classical liberal Adam Smith.

New Right is also defined as grassroots coalition of American conservatives that collectively led what scholars often refer to as the “conservative ascendancy” or “Republican ascendancy” of the late 20th century. Dubbed the New Right partly in contrast to the New Left counterculture of the 1960s, the New Right consisted of conservative activists who voiced opposition on a variety of issues, including abortion, homosexuality, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), the Panama Canal Treaty, affirmative action, and most forms of taxation.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the “newness” of the “New Right” refers both to the reinvigorated and redefined forms of conservative political activity and to the youthfulness and mobilization of a previously disorganized suburban middle class. The New Right grew rapidly during the 1960s and 1970s, thanks in part to organizations such as Young Americans for Freedom and College Republicans. These organizations shared demographic characteristics (white, middle-class, Protestant, suburban) and were frustrated with a perceived decline in morality during the 1960s and 1970s, including rampant drug use and more-open and public displays of sexuality as well as rising crime rates, race riots, civil rights unrest, and protest movements against the Vietnam War. Additionally, New Right conservatives often blamed the nation’s ills on liberalism, which they saw as contributing to the mismanagement and corruption of the federal government.

According to a related article, not everyone was happy with the social changes brought forth in America in the 1960s and 1970s. Antifeminists rallied against the Equal Rights Amendment and the eroding traditional family unit. Many ordinary Americans were shocked by the sexual permissiveness found in films and magazines. Those who believed homosexuality was sinful lambasted the newly vocal gay rights movement. As the divorce and crime rates rose, an increasing number of Americans began to blame the liberal welfare establishment for social maladies. A cultural war unfolded at the end of the 1970s.

In this climate, the New Right emerged as a combination of Christian religious leaders, conservative business bigwigs who claimed that environmental and labor regulations were undermining the competitiveness of American firms in the global market, and fringe political groups. “The New Right contained also some extremist elements. Racial hatred groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party joined the outcry against American moral decline. Ultra-libertarian militia groups formed in many states dedicated to attacking the American government they believed had become far too invasive. They steadfastly supported the right to bear arms as a means to defend themselves from tyranny. Some groups began stockpiling arsenals. These organizations interpreted the term “cultural war” in the most literal, ominous sense,” to the article.

On the other hand, according to an article by Athanasios Grammenos, the economic crisis in the Eurozone and its dire consequences for Greece terminated the post-1974 political consensus, which was based on a pro-European and democratic concord. The collapse of the social-democratic Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) in 2012 allowed space for the radical Left to become the new pole of the political system. To this advancement, the conservatives, being the other pole, responded with a prompt enlargement attempt to the populist right-wing, engulfing several elements of the New Right. This new political order had had evident effects on the party’s social and economic agenda, escalating the political debate at the expense of established liberal principles… The political platform of the Greek New Right, which has embedded authoritarian attitudes cultivating an anti-liberal sub-culture to the party’s voters, is in accordance with several European conservative movements like in Hungary, Austria, or Czechia.

John Feffer states in an article that “an international reaction to economic globalization has been key to the right’s success. Unlike the internationalist left, the New Right has been more effective at channeling discontent into political success at a national level. According to him, key to the New Right’s success has been a story that can be applied effectively across borders: the ‘great replacement.’ The argument that minorities, with help from ‘globalists,’ will usurp the privileges of the dominant group has proven appealing to both an extremist fringe and more mainstream conservatives.

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“The New Right in West Germany: The Transformation of Conservatism and the Extreme Right,” Michael W. Minkenberg. in European Journal of Political Research, vol. 22, No. 1 (July 1992), pp. 55-81.

Ucen, Peter. (2008). Seán Hanley: The New Right in the New Europe: Czech Transformation and Right-Wing Politics, 1989–2006.

Rethinking the French New Right: Alternatives to modernity, Tamir Bar-On, (Routledge, 2013).

The French New Right: Neither Right, Nor Left?, Tamir Bar-On, Journal for the Study of  Radicalism, vol. 8, no. 1 (2014), pp. 1-44. 3.

The French New Right‘s Quest for Alternative Modernity, Tamir Bar-On, Fascism: Journal of Comparative Fascist Studies, 1 (2012), pp. 18-52. 5.

Is the New Left today’s French New Right?, Tamir Bar-On, Retos Internacionales, 5 (Fall 2011), pp. 85-105. 6.

European New Right, — Globalization, — Gramsci, and – GRECE entries in Cyprian Blamires (ed.), World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia, (ABC-CLIO, 2006), pp. 211-214; 280-281; 286; 290-291.

“Consolidation or Second Revolution? The Emergence of the New Right in Hungary”, András Bozóki, Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, Vol. 24. No. 2. June 2008. 191-231.

De Koster, Willem, Peter Achterberg and Jeroen van der Waal; ‘The New Right and the Welfare State: The Electoral Relevance of Welfare Chauvinism and Welfare Populism in the Netherlands’ International Political Science Review34(1), 3-20.

De Koster, Willem, Peter Achterberg, Jeroen van der Waal, Samira van Bohemen and Roy Kemmers; ‘Progressiveness and the New Right: The Electoral Relevance of Culturally Progressive Values in the Netherlands’ West European Politics 37(3), 584-604.

Reinhard Heinisch, F. Hafez and E. Miklin  The New Right: Austria’s Freedom Party and changing perceptions of Islam REPORT Commissioned by BROOKINGS published online Wednesday, July 24.

Macklin, G. (2015). ‘The “cultic milieu” of Britain’s “New Right”: Meta-political “fascism” in contemporary Britain’ in Copsey, C. & Richardson, J. (eds.), Cultures of Post-War British Fascism. Abingdon: Routledge.

“The New Right in Germany: The Transformation of Conservatism and the Extreme Right”, Michael W. Minkenberg. in Ferdinand Müller-Rommel/Thomas Poguntke (eds.) New Politics The International Library of Politics and Comparative Government (Brookfield, VT: Dartmouth Publishing Company, 1995), pp. 561-587.