The fact that the first two of those groups engage in intimidation, racism and overt displays of political violence would ordinarily distinguish them from a peaceful democratic party opposed to mass immigration like the Sweden Democrats. Yet everywhere there is the same name creep. The website Breitbart is frequently called far-right, as is the administration of Donald Trump. So too is Richard Spencer, a self-proclaimed white supremacist who last year whipped up a crowd of supporters doing Hitler salutes. Is nobody interested in the differences?
There was a time when the term acted as a useful cordon sanitaire, marking off actual fascists and neo-Nazis from the legitimate political ‘right’. But across Europe sections of the far-right, like the far-left, became more moderate. At the same time, the short-term political advantages of designating all opponents ‘far-right’ proved irresistible for some partisan campaigners.