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Saturday, 23 April 2016

Creeped out by the masses

Penetrating article from Brendan O’Neill in spiked. In his view the political left now favours the EU because it has become in O'Neill's words radicals for the status quo.

The thing driving these radicals for oligarchy is distrust and even disdain for the living, breathing practice of democracy. The further removed the left becomes from ordinary people, the more it sees aloof institutions or cliques of experts as the best guarantors of progressive change. The story of the modern left is one of utter disappointment with the little people. It is creeped out by the masses, whose passions and interests it simply does not understand. Where the left is increasingly identitarian, anti-growth, eco-obsessed and sneering about modernity, ordinary people remain stubbornly interested in jobs, growth, making ends meet, having more and more stuff, and seeing people as people rather than as identities. This chasm between the left and everyday people explains the left’s move towards being pro-state, pro-welfarism, pro-expertise and pro-Brussels: it doesn’t trust Us, and so it turns to Them, to try to secure a few social reforms.

5 comments:

Sam Vega said...

That's a good article. There might be a reason as to why the modern left are obsessed with identity politics, ecology, Europe, and multiculturalism; perhaps these apparently random ideas cohere in some way so as to constitute a systematic ideology and set of viable policies. But I can't for the life of me see how they do. Half a dozen PhD theses and several books are probably being written which would attempt to explain all this to me. But personally, the easiest way to look at it is that these are unrelated ideas all of which give someone the opportunity to wield power over others. That's all they have in common. Not so much an ideology or political programme, more a disturbing psychological aberration.

James Higham said...

The thing driving these radicals for oligarchy is distrust and even disdain for the living

Immediately, from the first line, I was hooked.

Roger said...

Well, Brendan O'Neill and Spiked do have a certain 'flavour'. Here we have the idea that the Left are plotting some kind of wicked takeover - as if. Certainly there are some nutters there but the real-politik is they will never get their hands on the levers. But what about the Right, held up as some kind of noble representation of 'Us'. Currently we are offered Gove, Redwood, IDS and Boris, does anyone think they care about 'Us' - no way - a bunch of mid-career chancers on a last gasp for power.

More widely I feel 'democracy' as we know it is becoming unfit for purpose. The world is changing and I do think those who play the voting game are starting to look over the fence at China possibly as a model for the long term. They dare not say so, but long term I am sure the Left/Right Punch-and-Judy show has had its day.

Demetrius said...

1945-1951, I remember it well. "We are the masters now". In 1950 J.B. Priestly, a Labour supporter was saying much the same thing about the way the Attlee government operated.

A K Haart said...

Sam - strange isn't it, but I think you are right about it being the opportunity to wield power over others. It is the language of control which is also the language of security.

James - good stuff isn't it?

Roger - I don't see "Right, held up as some kind of noble representation of 'Us'" but merely a comment on how the UK left has found its undemocratic soul mirrored by the EU.

I agree with your second para "'democracy' as we know it is becoming unfit for purpose". To my mind voters can't be bothered with it and aren't prepared to put any effort into pursuing it as an ideal. Something else seems to be evolving.

Demetrius - and "We" primarily meant the Labour party and the unions.