Gerald Seib writes in The Wall Street Journal that it makes sense that, in an age of technological disruption, it figures that the most important trend in international politics is the rise of disruption in our traditional political system. And, of course, the disrupter-in-chief is Donald Trump, who has now been joined by the new UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, bolstered by the sentiment that produced the Brexit disruption. There are other players that fit the description he has in mind, in India, Hungary, Pakistan, Spain, Brazil, and even France, but the Trump/Johnson phenomenon is most prominent in our thinking. And while they do not necessarily share ideology, there is an underlying trend toward nationalism for most of these movements tied to the fears of economic globalization fueled by rapidly advancing technological innovation. And a common ingredient is the feeling that prevailing political systems and elites have failed in addressing their grievances.
Following on Seib’s thoughts were perceptive comments by Gerard Baker on the lead disrupters and their enemies, worth quoting: “The issue is not that the two men (Trump and Johnson) are above reproach or that critics don’t have a case. The problem is that what really animates so many of their more deranged enemies is an absolute refusal even to come to terms with the political context that produced the Trump-Brexit condominium. It remains a constant source of astonishment to me that, three years on from the Brexit-Trump shock, the people who control most of our public dialogue seem to refuse to accept that there is any legitimacy to the political sentiments that caused it………There’s never been a serious effort to understand why so many voters have found the existing political order in need of a radical change”. Well put and my sentiments precisely.
Kent Guida says
Agreed. And that raises the question: what will it take for them to grant “legitimacy to the political sentiments that caused it”?
My guess is they will never, ever do that. No matter how many elections they lose, they will simply retreat deeper into their bubble. Out of office, they will land a spot with CNN, write for the Times, gives speeches to each other, and snag a spot in the academy. They will ride the belief in their own infallibility to the grave. There is enough cash sloshing around in the bubble to see them out, at least for the ones of our generation.
But when will the pathetic millennials wake up? When they see their elders holding signs “will opine for food”? Will they first stop kowtowing to the elites, or will they first give up socialism? Either one will likely take years. Perhaps when they realize there is no room at the feeding trough for them.
James Windham says
Unfortunately, Kent, I think you’re right–I see nothing on the horizon short of a meltdown that will turn the millennials around. At one time, I thought that the college/university trustees would wake up, but as a group they are all about alma mater boosterism and too parochial to step up, with too few exceptions.