Saturday, June 25, 2016

McArdle on Brexit

Megan McArdle, who nearly always notices things I didn't, and puts things far better than I would even when her ideeas are what I already thought, has a very solid Brexit article Citizens of the World? Nice Thought, But...
In many ways, members of the global professional class have started to identify more with each other than they have with the fellow residents of their own countries. Witness the emotional meltdown many American journalists have been having over Brexit.
We've been saying that for years. I have always thought of that in terms of American liberals sucking up to their similar class in Europe, but it is now clear to me that this works in reverse as well. It is not all American A&H crowd slavishly going along with whatever their betters at the BBC tell them. It does work in reverse as well. European elites may sneer at Americans generally, but they have Americans they love, and they also seek to impress, just like adolescents here.

7 comments:

Earl Wajenberg said...

By "elites" I presume you mean liberal elites. For liberalism, internationalism has always been part of the program.

But it works for conservative elites, too. For them, the name of the game is money so of course they don't like anything than impedes trade.

Edith Hook said...

I confess to a small frisson of hope; I thought I was part of a small minority, and I am not even anti-immigration or anti-freetrade as long as everyone has input into the decision. I don't know who said it, but it has been pointed out that revolutions occur when enough people realize that lots of others feel the same way.

Sam L. said...

There are lots of us, Edith. We are ignored...until we can't be.

RichardJohnson said...

In many ways, members of the global professional class have started to identify more with each other than they have with the fellow residents of their own countries,

Not that long ago, there was another tendency away from national affiliation towards worldwide affiliation. Consider the Internationale.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

That has inspired some thinking, Richard. Internationalisms of one kind or another certainly predate Marx or even the French Revolution with its "Rights of Man." Empires practice a sort of internationalism of cooperation, even while each keeps its cultural identity. The Christian Church, the Catholic more than the Orthodox and the Protestant more than either has a type of internationalism as well. Judaism does as well, because thy have been sojourners in many lands but kept some group loyalty. Islam is a different in that it has considerable trans-national loyalty, but also fragments into subnational units of tribe, clan, neighborhood, family very quickly.

Yet there is little doubt that Communism provided great support for an internationalist rather than nationalist attitude, and this has seeped into everyday liberalism, among those who would be only mildly socialist, but still see nationalism as a danger to humanity and internationalism as rather obviously morally superior.

There was a brilliant tweet by Brian Gaar last week: "Now is the time when we need the calm & reassuring wisdom of people who studied abroad in the UK for a semester." Remember that Studying Abroad made the top 100 for Stuff White People Like. https://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/02/22/72-study-abroad/

jaed said...

Someone in McMegan's comments used the "T" word concerning the people she refers to as "the global professional class": they are a tribe. I think this is right. They're a group of people who identify primarily as members of that group, who look to secure the advantage of that group, and who are alert to impingements on the group's marked-out territory.

It's why their ties with their respective countries are weakened. They have another tribe, so their identity with their country is now contingent and subordinate. There can be many interests in a person's life, but perhaps only one tribe.

Edith Hook said...

I think jaed gets it right. I would add that it is not a conspiracy against the rest of us, but rather that they are preoccupied with their own interests and indifferent to the consequences to others; consequences from which they are insulated.