In which elites believe they can do better: Daily Bullshit, June 30, 2016


I suppose I should take this Foreign Affairs article by Kathleen McNamara largely as vindication for the view I and others been expressing for several days now about Brexit and class.[1] It seems it’s all the fashion now to notice, as if lots of folks hadn’t been howling about social inequality and globalization for years, “a consequential divide between cosmopolitans who view the future with hope and those who have been left behind and have seen their economic situations and ways of life deteriorate.” But that’s really a problem: It took this referendum and, for all the alleged misrepresentations on which its advocates campaigned, for elites to see that, gee whiz, maybe they need to do something different, that just maybe “the social exclusion that arises in a world of stark economic inequality” is a problem that needs to be addressed.[2] And it’s really a huge problem. Because for all this belated concern for the working class, that is, now that this class has delivered a hard slap across elites’ faces, elites continue to insist that so-called “free trade” is a good thing. In short, one must always ask of such a claim, “free” for whom, and “good” for whom? (In more detail, I’ve previously addressed so-called “free trade” in a blog post.) The very existence of powerful elites means the existence of entirely too comfortable people in control who simply don’t regard real people’s problems as being something they need to be even the slightest bit concerned about.[3] That is, until something like the Brexit vote happens.

And it’s the kind of thing that keeps happening. For all the hand-wringing about Donald Trump, there’s a real story in how Democratic Party elites in the U.S. insult progressives[4] and suppress their candidate.[5]

Brexit may indeed be a horrible instrument.[6] And so might Donald Trump. But there are a lot of suffering people out there. If horrible instruments are the only way to get some attention, then complaining, as McNamara does, that “[r]eferenda are terrible mechanisms of democracy”[7] marks her as a large part of the problem.

Kathleen R. McNamara, “Brexit’s False Democracy: What the Vote Really Revealed,” Foreign Affairs, June 28, 2016,

George Monbiot, “Roots in the Rubble,” June 29, 2016,


Jacques Berlinerblau, “This Guy Got Tenure. You Probably Won’t,” Chronicle of Higher Education, June 29, 2016,

Donald Trump

It should go without saying that linking to an article here does not constitute endorsement. Sometimes, as is the case with Scott McConnell’s article in the American Conservative, they’re just interesting.

Scott McConnell, “Why Trump Wins,” American Conservative, June 27, 2016,

  1. [1]David Benfell, “The ‘Brexit’ vote may signify the end of the illusion of ‘progress,’” Not Housebroken, June 26, 2016,; Luke Kawa, “Get Ready to See This Globalization ‘Elephant Chart’ Over and Over Again,” Bloomberg, June 27, 2016,; Jim Tankersley, “Britain just killed globalization as we know it,” Washington Post, June 25, 2016,
  2. [2]Kathleen R. McNamara, “Brexit’s False Democracy: What the Vote Really Revealed,” Foreign Affairs, June 28, 2016,
  3. [3]George Monbiot, “Roots in the Rubble,” June 29, 2016,
  4. [4]Blue Texan [pseud.], “Ed Rendell Tells Democratic Base to “Get Over It” on Rachel Maddow,” Firedoglake, September 23, 2010,; Blue Texan [pseud.], “Stop Whining, Liberals!” Firedoglake, September 27, 2010,; Michael Falcone, “Opposite Day On The Campaign Trail?” ABC News, September 21, 2010,; Glenn Greenwald, “Obama’s view of liberal criticisms,” Salon, September 17, 2010,; David Neiwert, “President Obama lashes out at his liberal critics: Choice is to ‘get things done’ or feel ‘sanctimonious’,” Crooks and Liars, December 7, 2010,; Heather Digby Parton, “‘It’s always the hippies’ fault’: Why the left treats its idealists all wrong,” Salon, February 5, 2015,; Greg Sargent, “Liberal blogger directly confronts David Axelrod, accuses White House of ‘hippie punching’,” Washington Post, September 23, 2010,; Stephen Stromberg, “Joe Biden scolds progressives — and he’s right,” Washington Post, September 16, 2010,; Sam Youngman, “White House unloads anger over criticism from ‘professional left’,” Hill, August 10, 2010,
  5. [5]Ryan Cooper, “Hillary Clinton and the awful risk of winning ugly,” Week, December 21, 2015,; Christian Drake, “New Information Shows DNC Violated Its Own Rules When It Shut Down Sanders Campaign Data Access,” Addicting Info, December 19, 2015,; Nick Gass, “Clinton press secretary: Superdelegates can help Clinton clinch nomination by early June,” Politico, April 14, 2016,; Lauren McCauley, “Thumb on the Scale? DNC Backs Off Bernie But Questions of Neutrality Linger,” Common Dreams, December 19, 2015,; William Rivers Pitt, “Naked Politics: Sanders, Clinton and How to Win When You’re Losing,” Truthout, May 18, 2016,; Michael Sainato, “The Countless Failings of the DNC,” Observer, March 27, 2016,; Daniel Strauss, “Bernie’s backers rage against Democratic machine,” Politico, April 13, 2016,; Caitlin Yilek, “Ex-Obama adviser: DNC ‘putting finger on scale’ for Hillary,” Hill, December 18, 2015,
  6. [6]George Monbiot, “Roots in the Rubble,” June 29, 2016,
  7. [7]Kathleen R. McNamara, “Brexit’s False Democracy: What the Vote Really Revealed,” Foreign Affairs, June 28, 2016,

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