Andrew Coyne has gone full RINO in todays National Post, “We’re Staring into the Abyss of a Trump Presidency” (use incognito mode to defeat the NP paywall). Coyne points at all of the possible people to blame for this terrible mess and, of course, fails to notice that the American electorate has simply had enough of the current political system. That idea, the idea that people independently of elite opinion have weighed the system and found it wanting is beyond Coyne as it is beyond most of the commetariat.
Trust Nassim Nicholas Taleb to explain how people who seem intelligent, as Coyne often does, can misunderstand the basics of the political world.
The Intellectual Yet Idiot is a production of modernity hence has been accelerating since the mid twentieth century, to reach its local supremum today, along with the broad category of people without skin-in-the-game who have been invading many walks of life. Why? Simply, in most countries, the government’s role is between five and ten times what it was a century ago (expressed in percentage of GDP). The IYI seems ubiquitous in our lives but is still a small minority and is rarely seen outside specialized outlets, think tanks, the media, and universities — most people have proper jobs and there are not many openings for the IYI.
Beware the semi-erudite who thinks he is an erudite. He fails to naturally detect sophistry.
The IYI pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand without ever realizing it is his understanding that may be limited. He thinks people should act according to their best interests and he knows their interests, particularly if they are “red necks” or English non-crisp-vowel class who voted for Brexit. When Plebeians do something that makes sense to them, but not to him, the IYI uses the term “uneducated”. What we generally call participation in the political process, he calls by two distinct designations: “democracy” when it fits the IYI, and “populism” when the plebeians dare voting in a way that contradicts his preferences. (medium)
Coyne and his ilk parted company with what one might refer to as “regular” people years ago. From Global Warming to Brexit to mass hidden unemployment to pro-refugee policy they have ceased to hear anything outside their shrinking bubble. The fact they can make assorted, sophisticated, arguments in favour of elite policy, from either the left or the right, proves terrific rhetorical dexterity. But it does not change the actual facts on the ground.
For Intellectuals Yet Idiots words are reality. Which means that it is a knock down argument to yell “Racist” or “Bigot” at someone with whom you disagree. But what happens when that no longer works? When people refuse to accept the labeling, hectoring and judgement of their intellectual “betters”?
In a word: Trump. Or Brexit. Or the collapse of the EU.
Coyne needs to get out more. He is smarter than he sounds in his NP article; but the poor man is entirely isolated. Isolation creates cluelessness.