Populist challenge provokes an almighty tantrum from leftists

Populist challenge provokes an almighty tantrum from leftists, by Brendan O’Neill.

Has there ever been a tantrum as tinny and irritating as the one thrown by the chattering classes in response to Brexit and Donald Trump? It’s the mother of all meltdowns. The huff heard round the world. A hissy fit of historic proportions.

Children who don’t get their way normally foot-stomp and wail “I hate you” for three or four minutes before collapsing into a knackered heap. The liberal elite has been at it for nine months, ever since Brexit last June pricked the sealed, self-satisfied bubble they live in and reminded them that — brace yourself — there are people out there who think differently.

Brexit and Trump signal the demise of Western liberal civilisation, they sob. Fascism is staggering back to life, they cry. “Boy does this age remind me of the 1930s,” said British politician and historical illiterate Paddy Ashdown about Brexit. …

What we’re witnessing is the rage of the entitled, the fury of a technocratic elite that had come to see itself as the rightful, most expert overseer of politics. They really cannot believe that everyday people, millions of the idiots, have had the brass neck to say: “We don’t like how you do politics. We’re going to try a different approach.” …

The chattering-class tantrum is fuelled by an urge to dodge self-reckoning; by an absolute terror of asking what the old politics was getting wrong. …

And, of course, all tantrums involve lashing out, as this one does. The levels of antipathy aimed at voters, and at democracy itself, has been extraordinary. …

American-British conservative Andrew Sullivan frets that the “passions of the mob” have been unleashed. A writer for The Observer says it’s time to smash the “taboo” against saying that ordinary people are often very stupid, and “there are times when their stupidity combines to produce gross, self-harming acts of national stupidity”.

Don’t worry, mate: that taboo has been well and truly demolished, if it ever existed. Post-Brexit and post-Trump, the chattering classes have not been shy in wondering if the masses are too daft for politics. …

In a beautiful irony, the fact that their response to this revolt has been “Waaaah! How dare you?!” proves the revolt was long overdue.