- UK's withdrawal from the European Union sparked controversy worldwide.
- The recent Brexit caused divisiveness between elites and people who do not have enough knowledge on the issue.
- Brexit can be referred is one of the negative effects of globalization.
Editor's note: The recent Brexit has sparked great controversy around the world. Some believed that the exit can only mean good things for both the European Union and the UK Foreignpolicy.com's columnist James Traub, however, believes that the Brexit is the start of a growing divide between the 'sane' and the 'mindlessly angry'.
Traub believes that the late 1960s had the most intense political upheavals. After all, this decade went through Vietnam War, civil rights struggle, and reformation of political systems. However, he is worried that they all look like natural fluctuations of a relatively steady political system compared to the citizen revolt happening today. It has the potential to completely upend politics like never before.
If back in the 1960s, the elites were fleeing from kids rebelling against their parents' world, now, the elites are fleeing from their parents. Extremism has become a popular and widely accepted concept.
Are we willing to embrace that?
Change is coming
One of the boldest features of the Brexit vote was the dismissal of bankers, economists and Western heads of state who warned the voters against the dangers of a separation with the European Union. British Prime Minister David Cameron thought that voters would consider the opinion of experts, and he was wrong. Both Conservative and Labour parties are facing a crisis.
In the United States, assuming Donald Trump loses, the Republican Party may go through a historical split between its base and it is K Street/Chamber of Commerce leadership class. The Socialist government of France may face similar problems after their national elections next spring: polls predict President Francois Hollande might not even make it to the final round of voting.
Finally, right-wing parties all over Europe are demanding an exit vote of their own.
Far-right nativist parties across Europe are leading in polls. While they haven't been able to come up with a majority yet, the leader of Austria's far-right Freedom Party Norbert Hofer (which dabbles in Nazi symbolism) nearly won presidential elections.
Popular parties from the left and right may increasingly combine forces, keeping out the nationalists. This has already occurred in Sweden - a right-of-center party serves as minority partner to the left-of-center government. If the Socialists in France really do lose the first round, they will doubtlessly choose to support the conservative Republicans against the far-right National Front.
While these informal alliances have the potential to push through until we get past this, their coexistence could lead to the birth of a new centre - one founded upon pragmatism, meliorism, technical knowledge and effective governance. One very much like the pro-business parties they were a generation ago, before their obsession with their ideology drew them up short.
Globalization at the root
Brexit, Donald Trump, the National Front, and other issues we face today all stem from the process of globalization. Political elites have miscalculated the intensity of the anger their citizens feel at global forces, as well as the demand that anyone - in any way - bring back the old times. People have begun to favor values and tradition over modernity.
The rift that is happening before our very eyes is not just centered on policies, but on reality as well. The Brexit pushed through because skeptical leaders played upon their voters' paranoia, exaggerating the dangers of immigration and the costs of membership in the EU. Some of those leaders have already admitted that they lied. Donald Trump has become the expert at courting voters' fears, regardless if it's over immigration, foreign trade, or anything else he fancies. The Republican Party has given itself up to a man who spins realities that ignorant people like to live in.
The ignorant vs the elite
Traub insists on using the word 'ignorant' because he believes it is necessary to point out that people are deluded, and the priority of leadership right now is to enlighten them. Perhaps, he concedes, his view may also be 'elitist' because recent trends favor the authenticity of deep personal conviction compared to reason, expertise and the lessons of the past.
The looming realignment could happen between the party living in reality, and the party who denies it. This is the realignment we should be willing to embrace. - MB, Kami Media
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Kami.com.ph.