The Whigs consider that there is progress, and freedom, and that the people can be managed. That freedom can be controlled. The people nudged into better habits. But this does not work that well… as a movie script of all things notes.
What is unsaid is that the Duchess was good friends with Marie Antionette, of the same intellectual circle, and (after a scandal imploded their marriage) spent time in exile, gambling and running up debts. Marie did not suffer that fate. The mob drove her to the scaffold.
I am sure you are full of the best intentions, Mr. Fox, but I dare say I would not spend my vote, if I had it, of course, on so vague a statement. One is either free or one is not. The concept of freedom is an absolute. After all, one cannot be moderately dead or moderately loved or moderately free. It must always remain a matter of either or.
This is the state of the play as far as the whigs are concerned. They consider their nice progressive world under threat. They are worried. They are starting witch hunts on twitter and facebook.
They are making complaints.
And they hate it that some people are ignoring them.
The paradigm of liberal political philosophy is dominant: representative government, individual human rights and personal autonomy, the free movement of goods and people across borders, enthusiastic and untrammeled technological development, and enough regulation and welfare to smooth the rough edges of global market economics, but not so much as to kill the golden goose of economic growth. This is the elite consensus, and generally the popular one as well. Most American political debates, and our two major political parties, are within this broad liberal framework.
Yet there is still unease about the future of liberalism. And there should be. Not only has much of the world resisted liberalism—from continued Chinese authoritarianism, to violent Islamic fundamentalism, to Russia returning to despotism and the great game of empire—but the peoples of the West seem to be turning against the liberal consensus.
In Europe, the immigration crisis has boosted already-rising nationalism, largely responsible for the successful Brexit campaign. In the United States, our politics are polarized and our culture is decadent. Distrust of the government and other crucial institutions is rising and life expectancy is declining, in large part because opioids are now the opium of the masses.
The guardian is reliable, for it demonstrates the weaknesses of this elite. And this is clear: they are fun police. They are prigs. They warn that there will be disaster… unless their policies are followed. But when they have failed — and an opiate epidemic in the English Speaking world is a sign of failure — they are silent.
It’s ugly and on the rise; and it’s hard to see how it can end well. The global rise of conservative nationalism with the aim of creating “national communities” – directed by an unchallengeable leader to defend special national values, controlling borders against the virus of immigrants and “foreign” influence – is the menace of our times.
It is the recipe for domestic repression, crony capitalism, massive corruption, implosion of the rule of law, the rise of racism and international conflict. The values that underpinned the postwar liberal order that conferred peace, tolerance and prosperity are being torched before our eyes. It is time to take a stand.
Russia and China are the international standard-bearers of this malign credo, flanked by Turkey and India, and openly admired by the conservative nationalists in power in Poland and Hungary – and by Donald Trump, Nigel Farage and a leavening of extreme Tory Brexiters. All are spawn of the same devil –immigration and a working population that feels jobs and living standards under threat.
A few comemnts.
The first is that the Fun Police will be mocked. That includes all Social Justice Warriors, who are better termed useful idiots.
The second is that all societies are theocratic. The trouble is we have a priesthood who consider themselves God, and mockery therefore blasphemy.
The third is that the Whiggish postmoderns forget that in their exquisite intersectionality, they are oppression the working native class. Who make up the majority of any nation. And whom you alienate at your peril.
For they return your contempt, will vote you out, and if you refuse to go the will remake the tumbril.