Tag Archives: elite

It’s Exploitation, Stupid!

A consensus has now emerged as to why Donald Trump is president, why Britain voted to leave the EU, and why Marine Le Pen is ascendant in France.  Some thoughtful analyses have come from the left.  If you are a Democratic Party strategist and you attribute the “Trump disaster” to racism and xenophobia, you are hopelessly behind the curve.  This is not a strategy that will prevail in 2018.

Indeed, if you have been reading anything at all on the topic, you know that the relevant new divide in politics is between rural and urban voters.  In America this might have something to do with racial politics, but the phenomenon is global.  Points for originality go to David Wong, who spotted the shift a month before the election – writing in, yes, Cracked and strongly recommend for youth readers.

The rural folk with the Trump signs in their yards say their way of life is dying, and you smirk and say what they really mean is that blacks and gays are finally getting equal rights and they hate it. But I’m telling you, they say their way of life is dying because their way of life is dying. It’s not their imagination.

With the benefit of hindsight and some classical history, Wong might have written this analysis in City Journal or this one in The Guardian.  Read one or the other if you identify as right or left, respectively.  They say the same thing.

And what I am here to say is that the Midwest is not an exotic place. It isn’t a benighted region of unknowable people and mysterious urges. It isn’t backward or hopelessly superstitious or hostile to learning. It is solid, familiar, ordinary America, and Democrats can have no excuse for not seeing the wave of heartland rage that swamped them last November.

The really interesting part, though, is the intersection of liberal values with urban life and the global economy.  Humanity has now produced a strain of pure liberalism, combining classical liberal laissez faire economics with “social liberal” values in the American sense.  If Trump supporters are the losers from global trade, these urbanites are the winners.  You may have seen this map depicting the archipelago of Clinton voters.

You could draw the same map of Europe, and someone has – a geographer by the name of Christophe Guilluy.  The mayors of London and Paris have more in common with each other than with ordinary British or French workers.

Charles Murray would have you believe these people are the “cognitive elite,” blessed with superior intellectual gifts.  Jeremiah is not so sure.  Maybe some are internet entrepreneurs, but it seems more likely they are simply attached like leeches to lucrative sectors like banking and government – what you might call the “ruling class.”  Here is Victor Hansen again, from City Journal:

The elite in Washington and Menlo Park appreciate the fresh grapes and arugula that they purchase at Whole Foods. Someone mined the granite used in their expensive kitchen counters and cut the timber for their hardwood floors. The fuel in their hybrid cars continues to come from refined oil.

For people who think about public policy, this is a conundrum – how to enjoy the benefits of global trade without producing a society that looks like The Hunger Games.  On the other hand, the beneficiaries of this new economy are not losing sleep over it.

French elites have convinced themselves that their social supremacy rests not on their economic might but on their common decency. Doing so allows them to “present the losers of globalization as embittered people who have problems with diversity,” says Guilluy. It’s not our privilege that the French deplorables resent, the elites claim; it’s the color of some of our employees’ skin.

Thus it transpires that social liberalism is congruent with economic liberalism, i.e., exploitation.  Sure, we love to give immigrants a chance.  Whether they’re migrant farm workers or H-1B engineers, immigration drives down labor costs.  The same goes for offshore jobs.  Everyone must have a fair shot at driving down labor costs, while the urban elite reaps the profits.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Economy, Trade

Up the Establishment

This election season provides further evidence, if any were needed, that our two political parties are merely two prongs of the same pitchfork.  Let’s start with the Republicans.  The Republicans, through laxity or inattention, failed to smother the insurgency of Donald Trump.  This prompted the hilarious spectacle of Republican pundits like George Will bailing out of the party, averring they would rather see a Democrat in the White House.

There are plenty of reasons not to like Donald Trump, but – not if you’re a Republican.  If there are really such important differences between the parties, then surely Will, Krauthammer, et al. would prefer to see their guy win, no?  Maybe you disrespect him in the primary, because maybe he can’t win in the general, but once he wins the primary, you shut up.  Trump, furthermore, did not merely win the primary, he crushed it by a margin unprecedented in party history.

The Democratic establishment did a better job of rigging their primary, with the help of party hack “super” delegates.  At the appointed time (and long before the votes were tallied) friendly media called it in Hillary’s favor.  Not for nothing is it called the Clinton News Network.

This was supposed to be another Bush versus Clinton contest, with either outcome safe for the ruling class.  We would have been treated to the usual non-debate about reforming our so-called capitalism and reining in the welfare state.  Now, the pundits are stymied.  What is Bill Kristol going to say against Sec. Clinton, when she is as much a neocon as he is?

On foreign policy, Clinton is somewhere to right of Sen. John McCain.  She has backed all the Mideast wars, including the utterly indefensible bombing of Libya.  She supports all the international trade agreements, except for her poll-driven epiphany on the TPP, and she is the darling of Wall Street.  If you think she is out of step with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, you’re right.

Clinton is basically a Republican or, more to the point, this distinction between Republicans and Democrats is a sham.  There is only the establishment.  Without a candidate of their own, establishment Republicans will have to support Hillary.

Leave a comment

Filed under Center Field