Glen Reynolds makes the case of anti-establishment, anti-elite revolution being the driver behind both the Trump wave in the US and the surge for BREXIT in the UK. He has a point.
In America, Donald Trump — who many of the experts thought had no chance — is dominating the polls. In Britain, meanwhile, much of the public seems to be mobilizing in favor of exiting the troubled European Union — a British Exit, or Brexit.
Writing in The Spectator, Brendan O’Neill puts this down to a class revolt on both sides of the Atlantic. And he’s right as far as he goes, but I think there’s more than just a class revolt. I think there’s also a developing preference cascade. O’Neill writes: “In both Middle America and Middle England, among both rednecks and chavs, voters who have had more than they can stomach of being patronised, nudged, nagged and basically treated as diseased bodies to be corrected rather than lively minds to be engaged are now putting their hope into a different kind of politics. And the entitled Third Way brigade, schooled to rule, believing themselves possessed of a technocratic expertise that trumps the little people’s vulgar political convictions, are not happy. Not one bit.”
Well, that’s certainly true. Both America and Britain have developed a ruling class that is increasingly insular and removed from — and contemptuous of — the people it deigns to rule. The ruled are now returning the contempt.
I think this is certainly partially correct. Every attack on Trump has contained a large degree of intellectual contempt, and every such attack has only increased his support. Now we may be seeing signs that the establishment is going to have to get off their superior backsides and treat with the contemptible. Similarly Cameron is being reduced to telling the UK electorate that he knows best what is best for them. He is treating the BREXIT supporters also with a contempt which is now back-firing. I expect that he, too, will have to come of his high horse. It does not help him that the bottom line is the EU will make their real concessions only after the UK votes – if they do – for a BREXIT. So far they have tried to fob him off with cosmetic changes.
This trend is visible across other parts of Europe as well and it has been brought to a head by the refugee/immigration issue. It has become the habit for the establishment, ruling elite to be contemptuous of the far right and in many cases, of avoiding debate with them. Just talking to the disaffected right has been seen as being beneath their interest. That disaffection has now spread to the middle ground and I expect that every election in Europe in the near future will be dominated by an anti-establishment wave.
Political correctness is taken as the child of the establishment elite and has therefore become the target of this new class revolution.