Via Niall Gooch, here’s an astute analysis by Charles Moore of the rise of Ukip, and the cluelessness of Labour and the Tory party, as well as Britain’s mainstream media. Their problem, he says, is that they believe that History Is On Their Side — but failed to convince the British voter of same. Excerpt:
The persistent mainstream charge against Ukip and its supporters is that they are nostalgists, dwellers-in-the-past, people who just don’t like the modern world. There is some truth in this: like the Scottish Nationalist Party, Ukip trades in dreams of old glory more than policies for future success. But the wrong conclusion is drawn.
In any old, stable, free country, there are many losses which deserve to be mourned. It is not irrational or unpleasant to wish you could still leave your house unlocked, expect your children to share school classes with pupils who can all speak English, or not find your wages, at the lower end of the income scale, threatened by foreigners who will work for less. In such a civilisation, of which Britain is a prime example, change is welcomed only if the best of the good, old things are secured in the process.
In Britain today, many people feel that the good, old things have not been secured and that the changes are not helping them. If they are indigenous, and from the poorer half of society, they are probably right. It is true, for instance, that modern sophisticated societies need quite a lot of immigration; but it is even more blindingly obvious that extremely high rates (we have double the number of immigrants of 20 years ago), which, because of the EU, the Government cannot control, are unpleasant for the poor communities which have to accommodate them. This makes them socially dangerous. If, when you complain about this, you not only get no help, but are also told that you are a horrible person, you get angry. And if you get angry, you are much more likely to vote Ukip.
The two “great faults” of the modernizers, says Moore, is that a) they treat what is modern as what is inevitable, and b) they moralize the future, such that anyone who doesn’t agree with them must be denounced as a bigot, or otherwise morally inferior. The inability of either party (or, one imagines, the UK’s mainstream media) to understand these things as conceptual barriers to their understanding of how the real world works handicaps them all. Read the whole thing.
I’m not sure how, in the particulars, the dynamic that Charles Moore identifies applies to the United States. I mean, I recognize the phenomenon, and I suppose it explains the Tea Party. But I am interested in expressions of this phenomenon outside the realm of politics. Can you think of any? Gay marriage was one, until it wasn’t — but we still would not have it in many places if not for the judiciary, which is part of the Modernizer class of elites (which is both a right wing and a left wing phenomenon). What else? This is your thought experiment of the day. I’m going to go to a place that does not have Internet, and work on the revision of my book.