I visited Andrew Batson’s blog after a long time and was browsing through his posts of several months. Read this one fully.
I read the original article in ‘Project Syndicate’ he is citing approvingly. It is not quite, ‘It is not the economy, stupid’, as Andrew Batson notes. In fact, it is very much ‘It is the economy, stupid’.
Seems like a summary of various thoughts that would help the author and the reader, eventually, to arrive at a sensible and cogent narrative of events. Perhaps. That is the optimistic conclusion. It is not a criticism.
It appears that the author leans towards the explanation offered by Joschka Fischer that it is the ‘white man’s angst’. A recent article in Wall Street Journal, part of its series on the ‘Great Unravelling’ (of the American economy and society) seems to agree with Fischer. It is an important read.
If it is the ‘white man’s rage’, then the author seems to think that the causes are socioeconomic and that simply defeating Trump or Le Pen would not suffice. See his sentence here:
“if the social and economic forces that led to their rise persist, an increasingly angry populace will simply look for a new tribune.”
Also, he seems to be sceptical of Bradford de Long’s optimism. He is not confident that the political systems would implement desirable socio-economic policies in the future since it has failed to do so in the past (last thirty years?).
So, if one wants to fix accountability for the rise of Le Pen, Trump and Geert Wilders, what would the author recommend?
He does not go there.
His conclusion seems to be one of resignation. I am inclined to agree with that. It would have to play out just as the indifference of the political, policy and educated elites to the ‘insecurities and inequalities of our hyper-globalised age’ played out for thirty-five years or so. There was mere lip service to the concerns of the losers even as politically correct pursuit of ‘gender parity, and the legal and social emancipation of sexual minorities’ searched for and reached new heights and methods. The pursuit shows no signs of abating. The pronouns at Vanderbilt University may not be its most recent nor the most egregious illustration but it qualifies as a good exhibit.
The author concludes that liberal democracy is at peril. May be, he is right and may be he is not. But, assuming that he is right, one reason it could be at peril is that, like many others he has cited in his article, he is in no hurry nor does he show any inclination to name and shame the real culprits responsible for imperilling liberal democracy.
Where there is no accountability, there will only be disenchantment, cynicism and bitterness of the mobs with their own brand of justice that would be dispensed.
Since the crime has been committed and no one seems inclined to affix or accept responsibility, the process of retribution will follow its own logic and momentum now.
There is not much purpose served in wringing hands nor blaming Trump, Le Pen and Geert Wilders. They are mere cogs in the wheel of evolution whose law is that where there is cause, there will be effect. Now, it is the turn of ‘effect’.
Just sit back and watch and survive, with luck and prayer.