The recent European Union (EU) elections came as somewhat of a surprise to pundits and politicians across the pond and throughout Europe. While European politics are an anathema to our brand of politics, with coalitions that do not always make sense to us Yankees, something can be said about the undercurrents that are circulating throughout Western nations toward a populist movement against the status quo.

More and more, people are growing wise to the prevailing wisdom that has brought debt cycles, wars and global schemes which have amounted to gigantic games of winners and losers, invariably leaving the middle class behind… no matter whether it is of the left or right variety.

Mainstream parties are losing. Both at home and abroad.

What does it really mean, though?

Are we on the verge of a far right fascist takeover of Western civilization, as many claim are on the rise in countries like Italy, Hungary and Poland? Is the rejection of the status quo expertise or something more?

In Europe, both the far left and far right made gains against the center-right and left parties. Regular people should definitely pay attention to what is happening all along the political spectrum, because the battle for what the future of Western civilization will look like is happening right now.

Old governing coalitions, where “conservatives” align with “socialists” to form a governing majority to pass globalist programs that enrich those who are connected and benefit people across the globe while citizens sleep in the streets, have lost the argument. Instead of enacting government that works to improve their nations, politicians have created fiefdoms of corruption and grift.

In many ways, the old guard has already lost. The vote for BREXIT and Trump was the death knell for those who say “this is how things are done.” Further wins, and upward gains by political leaders on the right like Matteo Salvini, Nigel Farage, Viktor Orban and Marine LePen, are more nationalist in nature. Grounded in immigration policy and nationalist common sense, these movements wish to subdue the influence of the EU over sovereign nations looking toward their self interests and citizens.

Germany has used the EU to enrich it’s citizens, lecturing Europe and the West on climate change and carbon taxes while making sweetheart deals with Russia and China for infrastructure projects. Merkel and her coalition government, with the EU’s blessings, enjoy the benefits of NATO and American military defense while refusing to pay even the minimum toward their share of the financial responsibility. Prevailing wisdom has told us that the United States and other member nations paying their full share should continue to allow an ally to work with the stated enemy of NATO without even a discussion, because… reasons.

I wonder why people are mad?

In every country, their version of the “forgotten man” is standing up and stepping forward, quiet no more. The men and women who go to work, raise their families, pay their taxes and live decent lives have started to notice the system is not meant for them. They kept their head down and did what needed doing, quietly and in the background. And they are getting pushed from all sides.

Common sense says that subsidized housing shouldn’t shelter those in our country illegally as long as homeless Americans are on the streets, especially when so many of our homeless are military veterans suffering from mental illness.

Common sense says that instead of funding wars that our leaders never intended to win but prolong so long as the checks clear, maybe it would be better to fix our broken society and allow sovereign nations to police their own back yards.

Common sense says that maybe generational welfare is not the best solution to the war on poverty, and that government intervention has caused more harm than good, but of course our politicians’ answer is to expand programs to those in the county illegally.

Common sense says our politicians should quit using our military and governments like pieces in the game of Risk, upending governments to shape the the world in their own image while creating unrest in society that everyone else pays for.

Our leaders blow up the world, import huge numbers of refugees who understand none of the culture, insulate them in areas that become ghettos and no-go zones, recreating the society from which they came in the midst of working class neighborhoods, and then don’t understand when citizens will not accept being displaced out of their own lives and livelihoods.

It is utter madness that such practices have been allowed to continue for as long as it has, practically unabated across all Western governments.

Calls of white privilege, misogyny and all the other -isms are less than a joke when your straight “A” student didn’t get accepted into college because its diversity score is lacking, or your niece or nephew has died of an opioid overdose.

And the government’s answer when you do finally step up and say something… well, in Europe the answer has been the passage of hate speech laws which magically amount to curtailing any speech that questions the miraculous UniParty government or any of it’s benevolent prevailing wisdom. Politicians on this side of the Atlantic have already suggested these types of laws in the United States, even with our First Amendment protections. And we have all seen Macron’s answer to the Yellow Vest protests in France where police were instructed to fire on protesters.

In a time where throwing milkshakes at politicians is considered brave speech against fascism, but actual political speech and disagreement against favored norms is deemed unlawful, is it any wonder populist movements are on the rise?

The shaking up of the status quo is not for the faint of heart, as evidenced by the Trump presidency, but for those who can stand firm in the face of the “progressive” movement.

The western world is on the precipice of a decision that will play out over the next 20 to 30 years. Will we follow our history of individual freedom over global order?

The populist movement is here, to be sure. The real question is which kind of populism will ultimately win.

Staff columnist Toni Butero can be reached at tbutero@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 862-2222.