With Brexit and Trump, the world is witnessing the bonfire of the liberal elite


Blackleaf
+1
#1
Here is a widespread populist backlash against a political class whose liberal assumptions ignored and sometimes openly deplored many of the basic principles — patriotism, belonging, community and security — on which our nation states were built.

Now, it seems, the voters are making plain just how much they've come to feel forgotten and abandoned by the men and women who, for the past three decades, aspired to lead them.

Only a few years ago, nationalism seemed to be heading for extinction. The future, we were told, lay with international organisations and economic globalisation. The U.S. was working on ever more intricate free-trade deals with its neighbours, while the EU was heading for ever-closer union.

Yet as the events of the past year have shown, that vision was a fantasy. Britain's vote to leave the EU, a decision partly driven by our historic sense of national exceptionalism, was just the beginning...

For decades an arrogant global ruling class tried to crush the spirit of nationhood, says DOMINIC SANDBROOK. Now, with Brexit and Trump, the world is witnessing the bonfire of the liberal elite




By Dominic Sandbrook for the Daily Mail
12 November 2016


President-elect Donald Trump

Even now, four days on, I can't quite believe it. When I turned on the TV, late on Tuesday night, I was reasonably sure that Hillary Clinton was going to become the next President of the United States.

By the time I went to bed, in the small hours of the morning, the map of the United States was splashed with Donald Trump's Republican red.

Historians will be arguing about the reasons for Mr Trump's victory for as long as the United States exists. But I think the greatest clue to his appeal was right there on that hideously undignified baseball cap, which bore the slogan: 'Make America Great Again.'

As it happens, Mr Trump was not the first presidential candidate to have uttered those words. Both Ronald Reagan and, by a remarkable irony, Bill Clinton had used the phrase before.

Neither of Mr Trump's predecessors, though, turned the slogan into such a relentless mantra. Restoring American greatness was not one of several campaign messages; it was his only message. If you doubt it, just look at what he said in his victory speech. 'America,' he said, 'will no longer settle for anything less than the best . . . We're going to dream of things for our country, and beautiful things and successful things once again.'

And in his message to the 'world community', designed to reassure foreign leaders that he would 'deal fairly' with them, Mr Trump added something else. 'We will,' he said, 'always put America first.'

Put America first. Restore lost greatness. Here, boiled down to its essentials, was Mr Trump's manifesto. There is a word for this kind of thing, and it is nationalism.

In that respect, I think Mr Trump is less remarkable than he likes to think. Far from being unique, he is simply the loudest, the most outrageous and now the most powerful standard-bearer for a wave of nationalism that is utterly transforming the politics of the Western world and the balance of power for a generation to come.

So what lies behind it? At its heart, I think, is a widespread populist backlash against a political class whose liberal assumptions ignored and sometimes openly deplored many of the basic principles — patriotism, belonging, community and security — on which our nation states were built.

Now, it seems, the voters are making plain just how much they've come to feel forgotten and abandoned by the men and women who, for the past three decades, aspired to lead them.


Putting their country first: Britons celebrated Brexit

Only a few years ago, nationalism seemed to be heading for extinction. The future, we were told, lay with international organisations and economic globalisation. The U.S. was working on ever more intricate free-trade deals with its neighbours, while the EU was heading for ever-closer union.

Yet as the events of the past year have shown, that vision was a fantasy. Britain's vote to leave the EU, a decision partly driven by our historic sense of national exceptionalism, was just the beginning.

In Germany, the far-Right AfD has made sweeping gains, while in France many opinion polls make Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-Right Front Nationale, a clear favourite to win the presidential election next year. Nationalist strongmen already rule Russia, Hungary and Turkey. Nationalist politicians demand independence for Catalonia; an openly nationalist party even governs Scotland.

And from January, the United States, the cornerstone of the international order, will be governed by a man who has insulted his neighbours, questioned the existence of Nato and put America's interests above those of all others.

There is a clue in the fact that his promise to put 'America first' is a slogan borrowed from a rabidly isolationist pressure group which opposed U.S. intervention in World War II.

There can be little doubt, then, that we are living in a profoundly nationalist age. Like some Western equivalent of the Arab Spring, a tide of anti-elitist resentment has shaken the capitals of the world's richest countries.

Yet even ten years ago, the rebirth of nationalism would have seemed almost unthinkable. Nationalism, we were often told, belonged to history.


Put America first. Restore lost greatness. Here, boiled down to its essentials, was Mr Trump's manifesto

It was comical, the stuff of flags and parades, the province of strutting dictators and tin-pot Hitlers. But it was also lethally dangerous, the poison that had provoked two world wars and slaughtered millions.

Studying history at school in the late Eighties, I assumed that nationalism was a relic of the past. When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, I naively assumed — like most of my generation — that the future lay with globalised liberal capitalism, a 'new world order' presided over by the United States.

In 1992, the year Bill Clinton won the U.S. presidency, an American political scientist called Francis Fukuyama published a best-selling book entitled The End Of History And The Last Man.

His argument was simple. With the end of the Cold War, the world had reached 'the end of history . . . That is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalisation of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government'.

For a generation of liberal politicians and intellectuals, Fukuyama's thesis was immensely appealing. These were people such as Bill and Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson, George Osborne and Nick Clegg.

They were clever, cosmopolitan, smooth and slick, the very definition of a metropolitan elite. They lived in expensive houses in capital cities and travelled by private jets to conferences in places like Davos, Switzerland, where they waxed lyrical about the joys of international co-operation, open borders and financial globalisation.

No wonder, then, that they liked the European Union so much. They looked forward to a future in which national contours would wither away, a vision enshrined in the Schengen Agreement, which came into effect in 1995 and dismantled frontiers across much of Europe.


Historians will be arguing about the reasons for Mr Trump's victory for as long as the United States exists

On the Continent, they scrapped their own currencies, replacing them with the euro. And they opened their borders to millions of newcomers, not just from other EU member states, but from countries all over the world, motivated by their belief that the nation-state was effectively doomed, and that the future would be defined by the relentless pursuit of racial, ethnic, sexual and moral diversity.

As visions go, it could hardly have been grander or more utopian. In essence, it was a dream of a united liberal world, its people mingling in an ever-shifting ethnic and racial kaleidoscope.

You would no longer just be British; you would be European. You would no longer just be an American; you would be an Asian-American, an African-American, an Arab-American.

But as the Brexit referendum and the American presidential election have made overwhelming clear, the liberal vision had — and has — one fatal flaw. People do not like it.

For most people, their national identities remain intensely important. To people across the Western world, their country's flag — so readily mocked by politicians such as Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, who infamously sneered at the sight of the flag of St George flying in Rochester, Kent — is a symbol of pride and a sign of belonging, not a badge of shame.

'If you believe you're a citizen of the world, you're a citizen of nowhere,' Theresa May told her party conference last month. 'You don't understand what the very word 'citizenship' means.'

The liberal intelligentsia, citizens of the world to a man and a woman, had a mass attack of the vapours. But I suspect the vast majority of people in Britain — and indeed the vast majority of people on the planet — would agree with every word.


I think Hillary Clinton would have made an immeasurably better president than Mr Trump

Most people do not want to live in communities that are endlessly changing. They want security, stability, a sense of rootedness and reassurance — precisely the things they associate with their national identity.

To many metropolitan liberals, however, this merely identifies the people as antediluvian relics. Indeed, in their sheer hubris, their arrogant belief that they were the apostles of progress, the liberal elite believed — and still believe — that history had appointed them to sweep away centuries of tradition.

If the people resisted, if they clung to their old-fashioned values and settled communities, that just proved they were racists and bigots.

And if that sounds too strong, just look at how the Guardian newspaper reacted to Mr Trump's victory this week.

On one page, the high priestess of the metropolitan Left, Polly Toynbee, tells us that Britain's vote to leave the EU was a victory for 'white supremacism'. (Yes, really.)

On another, the paper's former fashion columnist tells us that it is time to stop listening to the 'white working classes', who have been indulged for far too long. (Again: yes, really.)

I can imagine no conceivable circumstance in which I would vote for Donald Trump. But this sort of stuff strikes me as almost mind-bogglingly ignorant, condescending and self-regarding.

It is, I think, no accident that time after time, liberal politicians have sneered at the very people they were supposed to be leading. How dare the common people refuse to embrace their bright new dawn?


I can imagine no conceivable circumstance in which I would vote for Donald Trump

When, in the 2010 General Election campaign, Gordon Brown met a Labour voter who complained about Eastern European immigration, he dismissed her as a 'bigoted woman'. When David Cameron was asked what he thought of Ukip, he dismissed them as 'fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists'.

And in 2008, when Barack Obama first ran for president, he was recorded talking about voters who lived in decaying working-class towns that had lost their industry. 'They get bitter,' he said, 'they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.'

At the time, his rival for the Democratic nomination claimed that the remarks showed he was 'elitist and out of touch'. Her name, by the way, was Hillary Clinton.

As it happens, I wish Mrs Clinton had paid more heed to her own advice. I think she would have made an immeasurably better president than Mr Trump, a man who boasts about abusing women, stokes xenophobic hatred and has pledged to dismantle the Western security order.

But Mr Trump won for a reason. The truth is that the new president-elect's overtly nationalistic appeal fell on such fertile ground precisely because the liberal project has been tested to destruction.

Instead of ushering in a new golden age, globalisation, outsourcing, mass immigration and open borders have actually revived the very thing they were supposed to erase from history — old-fashioned nationalism.


Men such as Franklin D. Roosevelt or Harry Truman were pragmatic, patriotic politicians

Just look, for example, at the way Angela Merkel's open-door immigration policy has revived Germany's far-Right.

Of course nationalism can take many forms, some relatively benign, others more sinister.

There is a considerable difference between Scotland's Nicola Sturgeon and Hungary's Viktor Orban (who has described the arrival of asylum seekers in Europe as 'a poison', saying his country did not want or need 'a single migrant'), just as there is a huge difference between the British businessman who thinks we'd be better off outside the EU and the U.S. Right-wing Tea Party demagogue who says Hillary Clinton should be in jail.

But a world dominated by competing nationalisms, in which demagogues exploit the failure of the liberal project, is likely to be a very dangerous world indeed.

It is perfectly possible that by 2020, Mr Trump will be ruling an isolationist America, France will be governed by Marine Le Pen, much of Eastern Europe will have lurched to the far-Right and the Baltic States may well have been occupied by Vladimir Putin.

Throw in another Scottish referendum and a Jeremy Corbyn premiership into the mix — an unlikely scenario, admittedly — and you have a recipe for utter disaster.

For the problem with nationalism is that it thrives on enemies. Mr Trump inveighs against the Chinese and the Mexicans and promises to put America first. Madame Le Pen inveighs against the Arabs and promises to put France first. Mr Putin inveighs against the Europeans and promises to put Russia first.

But they can't all get what they want. At some point they would come into conflict — and we know what could happen next.

Narrow, resentful nationalism cannot be the answer. Like the disillusioned punters who invested in failed Trump ventures, those Americans who have put their faith in Mr Trump will be surely be deeply disappointed.


Donald Trump will become President of the United States in January

But the answer cannot lie with a revival of liberalism either. For 30 years it has been tested. It has failed.

What the world needs is a generation of pragmatic, patriotic politicians, open to co-operation but rooted in their national communities, open to progress but respectful of tradition, tolerant of difference but not obsessed with diversity, dedicated to the defence of Western values but not so hubristic as to think the world can be reordered overnight.

The best examples of such leaders in the last century were, as it happens, Americans: men such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, who recovered from polio to save his country from the Depression and helped to defeat Nazi Germany, or Harry Truman, the small-town Missouri haberdasher who rallied the West against the threat of Stalin's Russia.

These were patriots, not nationalists, with a rare ability to speak to the man and woman in the street. They represented all that is best in the American character and in Western democracy.

They really did make America great, and unlike their latest successor, they didn't need a baseball cap to prove it.

It will, I fear, be a long time before we see their like again. That is not just America's tragedy. It is ours.

Read more: Arrogant global ruling class tried to crush the spirit of nationhonhood, DOMINIC SANDBROOK | Daily Mail Online
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Last edited by Blackleaf; Nov 12th, 2016 at 06:38 AM..
 
Serryah
Free Thinker
+2
#2  Top Rated Post
Trump, IMO, won out of fear.

Fear from the red areas of the US thinking that Hillary was more of the same and that they were tired of that.

If you think Hillary was Liberal, I have some land to sell you.

Trump won out of a lack of connection between people and the leadership. Trump won because he said the right things for people to think he'll change things.

Trump won on lies; it has nothing to do with the death of the "liberal elite".

And if you think Trump isn't more of the same ol, same ol, are you ever clueless to the man he is.
 
Curious Cdn
Conservative
+1
#3
Yeah ... bonfire ... Books are next.
 
Machjo
#4
I agree with much of the article, that the best defense against nationalism is patriotism. To attack patriotism is to attack the one thing that can counter nationalism. But it must be a universal patriotism. Live thy neighbour as thyself.

Christ taught universal patriotism well.
 
pgs
Free Thinker
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by Serryah View Post

Trump, IMO, won out of fear.

Fear from the red areas of the US thinking that Hillary was more of the same and that they were tired of that.

If you think Hillary was Liberal, I have some land to sell you.

Trump won out of a lack of connection between people and the leadership. Trump won because he said the right things for people to think he'll change things.

Trump won on lies; it has nothing to do with the death of the "liberal elite".

And if you think Trump isn't more of the same ol, same ol, are you ever clueless to the man he is.

the democrats lost because they choose a lousy candidate in Hillary Clinton . Period end of story .
 
Blackleaf
#6
Brexit + Trump = Trumpit
 
Danbones
Free Thinker
#7
the left didn't choose hitlarry
they were brainwashed into that
mental floss is all over the place claiming trump is the left...
geeez
is that effed up or what?
 
PoliticalNick
Free Thinker
+1
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by Danbones View Post

the left didn't choose hitlarry
they were brainwashed into that
mental floss is all over the place claiming trump is the left...
geeez
is that effed up or what?

That is Mentalfart using revisionism to make himself feel better.

Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

I agree with much of the article, that the best defense against nationalism is patriotism. To attack patriotism is to attack the one thing that can counter nationalism. But it must be a universal patriotism. Live thy neighbour as thyself.

Christ taught universal patriotism well.

So by 'universal patriotism' you mean globalism...which is what Brexit and the Trump Victory both rejected. You bleeding-heart liberal wing-nuts will never stop or understand how wrong you are will you?
 
Danbones
Free Thinker
#9
the brown shirt demonstrations after losing should be clear enough
 
Jinentonix
No Party Affiliation
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by Serryah View Post

Trump, IMO, won out of fear.

Fear from the red areas of the US thinking that Hillary was more of the same and that they were tired of that.

If you think Hillary was Liberal, I have some land to sell you.

She may not be a liberal but she still represented the status quo of political elitism. And that was what was rejected. If the DNC had been using their collective brains they would have recognized that instead of shilling for the Hill and rigging the DNC primaries. But the DNC represents the status quo too and Bernie might not have been 100% compliant to their demands once elected so, go with the garbage instead.

I'd bet dollars to donuts if this had been a Sanders/Trump race, Sanders would have won. I would certainly suggest that he had the lead on Hillary by a good margin in the polls leading up to the DNC primaries. Considering the support Sanders had and the low voter turnout in the election, I think there were a lot of disenfranchised democrat voters who decided not to vote, or chose to vote independent because even though they were rejecting the status quo, they couldn't bring themselves to vote Trump, while at the same time they were feeling betrayed by the Democrat party.

The DNC made a massive tactical error. They figured that because America elected it's first Black President, twice, it would be logical to assume they'd be more than happy to elect their first female President this time around despite what the polls were indicating. They basically ran a two time loser from the 2 previous DNC primary races for a third time. I guess both Hillary and the DNC figured third time's gotta be the charm.
 
Danbones
Free Thinker
#11
don't forgett all the illegals obama told to
vote early vote often

people seem to think this was a level playing field

it isn't

ukraine isn't, lybia isn't, syria isn't
its all color revolution BS