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Mon Dec 16, 2013, 07:10 AM

From the UK: Globalisation is turning the west against its elites

What the followers of the Pied Pipers of popular resentment really hate, perhaps more than Muslims and other aliens, is their own so-called liberal elite – the educated mandarins and commentators, the bien pensant writers and academics, the left-of-centre internationalists, the cosmopolitans and the eggheads. In short, the people whose superior airs make them feel inadequate.

The common idea is that the liberal-left elites are destroying our identities – ethnic, national and religious. It was the liberal elites that allowed immigrants to “swamp” our cities, legally or illegally. It was they who built pan-European institutions and the UN. Liberals created welfare states, which reward the lazy and allow foreigners to sponge off our taxes. In the US, liberals elected a black president. And some Tea Party enthusiasts sincerely believe that the UN is robbing the US of its sovereignty (because of the liberals, of course).

The world is shifting in ways that make many western citizens uncomfortable. Non-western powers are rising fast. The European sense of superiority is becoming harder to maintain. Non-white populations are growing in the west. In much of the US, white Christians of European origin no longer dominate politics.

The politics of hatred never result in anything good. But preaching the old liberal shibboleths about internationalism, the richness of immigrants’ cultures and the horrors of racism are not enough. The borderless economy must become more equitable to temper growing inequalities and to shield the vulnerable from global market forces. If the new elites in the global economy want to stave off the storm of destructive hatred, they had better come up with some ideas of their own on how to temper the market forces from which they have profited so well.


The Financial Times is a conservative source, but this oped makes a good point. The "politics of hatred" (a constant of the right with its politics of fear and emotion) is growing and will "never result in anything good. Growing inequality should be dealt with in a liberal manner (progressive taxes, stronger safety net and more union support) or they will be dealt with by the right and far-right using the 'politics of hatred'.

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