(((David Brooks))) is alarmed by the fact that the Left is becoming as unlikely to provide safe haven for his particular form of globalism as the Right
Tribalism is in the air, on the left as well as on the right. It is based on a scarcity mentality, the idea that life is a zero-sum war between us and them. It emphasizes division and conflict, not solidarity and cohesion. It draws out the authoritarian tendencies in any movement. On the right, tribalism brings us the ethnic authoritarianism of Donald Trump. On the left, it seems likely to bring us the economic authoritarianism of a North American version of Hugo Chávez.
You can see authoritarianism entering the left through two avenues. The first is nationalism. Not long ago, most of the American left tended to think transnationally — partly because problems like climate change are global, partly because it’s hard to regulate a global economy nation by nation, partly because progressives used to be psychologically averse to nationalism.
But national sovereignty is not withering away. Left-wing hostility toward European Union-type multilateral organizations is at record highs. Now a lot of progressive economic thinking is nakedly nationalistic. Bernie Sanders in 2015 derided a more open immigration policy as a “Koch brothers proposal.” It’s the old xenophobia — us or them, screw or be screwed. On trade, the left-wing populists sound like Trump.
The second stream fueling economic authoritarianism is identity politics. It used to be that big political divides were defined by economic interests; now, the cultural dog wags the economic tail. Identity politics defines the core political divides. When many progressives talk about economics these days, they take the habits of mind they developed when talking about identity groups and apply them to economic groups.
Translation: David Brooks’s (((identity group))) is fast running out of political wiggle room. When one very small identity group becomes massively overrepresented among the economically dominant, then obviously the economic redistributionism of the Left is going to merge with identity politics. How can it not?
The Left sees the One Percent as the primary problem. The Right sees the demographic change and economic decline of the nation as the primary problem. And if the One Percent are responsible for the the demographic change and economic decline of the nation, well, then both sides have more than a scapegoat, they have successfully identified the responsible parties.
This, of course, is why Bill Kristol, Ben Shapiro, and Jennifer Rubin are all calling for a third party. But it’s going to be a very, very small one of virtually no appeal to anyone who is of the nationalist Right or the economic Left. There is not much of a market for a party of warmongering globalists whose primary domestic priority is the economic strip-mining of the lower, middle, and upper-middle classes.
The same situation is developing in the UK, as the media-generated “anti-semitism” of the Labour Party is causing the traditional Labour-supporting Jews there to rapidly migrate to the Conservative Party, where their globalist priorities are unlikely to remain popular or influential for long.
A defeated Labour councillor, Adam Langleben, said it was a source of ‘shame’ for the party that Jewish people had felt obliged to vote based on ‘their safety’.
‘Thanks to all those who voted for myself, Humayune and Agnes today. It was the greatest honour of my life to serve West Hendon,’ he tweeted. ‘We must NEVER have another election like this. No community group should have their vote dictated by their safety. That should shame us @UKLabour.’
Mr Langelben told the Guardian: ‘Every Jewish Labour household we visited, people said, “not this time.” Activists were being told, “this is a racist party, an anti-Semitic party”, doors were slammed in their faces.
It’s not exactly hard to figure out how that’s going to play out over the next decade. And it occurs to me that the so-called White British population now already had their vote dictated by their safety. That’s why they voted for Brexit.