The Revolt of the Outsiders

The Revolt of the Outsiders, by Nick Cater.

The uncomfortable truth for the political class is that in so far as Trump exploits hatred, the principal object of that hatred is not Hispanics, Muslims, women or homosexuals. The hate is aimed squarely at the political class itself. The anger welling up around their ankles is the product of exasperation towards politically correct, morally arrogant, know-it-all, condescending urban sophisticates—people in other words just like themselves.

The dominant political and cultural fault line—from Washington to Warsaw to Wangaratta—is not the divide between Left and Right, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, workers and employers, or the haves and the have-nots. It is between insiders and outsiders. It is a clash between the cosmopolitan, socially liberal values of the tertiary-educated elite and the pragmatic, socially conservative outlook of the rest of society.

In other words, to quote Donald Trump, the main problem in this country is too much political correctness. And the politically correct:

It is the divide I wrote about in my book The Lucky Culture. I described the emergence of a new ruling class—a new elite—who think, act and live very differently from their forebears or their fellow Australians. They live in different suburbs, shop and socialise in different circles, listen to different radio stations, read different newspapers, and adopt a set of manners that marks them apart from the class we might call middle Australia.

Three years after the publication of The Lucky Culture, the chasm separating the insiders and outsiders has widened considerably, and hubris has set in among the cultural elite. Witness the ease with which Australia’s insiders have succeeded in closing down debates on issues that challenge their presumptions. On same-sex marriage—and a whole range of what we are now obliged to call LGBTI matters—serious discussion is all but impossible.

Abbott was fighting against PC and consequently attracted a level of support that surprised the elite, but he was not committed or effective enough — or maybe it was just impossible in his situation because he didn’t have enough support within Parliament.

Tony Abbott’s task as prime minister was made considerably harder by the unrelenting opposition of the insiders. Their dominance of the media and their control of powerful, well-funded pressure groups give them considerable clout. Abbott—who incidentally wrote the first review of my book—came to power in part because he stood up for the outsiders. In government, however, he failed to straddle the divide and in September last year the insiders got their revenge. Few insiders would have voted for either leader, but this was a cultural, rather than a political victory. Their glee was palpable.

Which is why the current Australian election is such a yawn. Both candidates are from the same team of insiders, and if you chafe at political correctness or are not enamored of the elites running this country then you have no one to vote or root for.