The retreat of Western Liberalism

Office Building Renovations at Langley and 1 Neal Street and Covent Garden

The retreat of Western Liberalism’ (a depressing view) by Edward Luce.

Luce sees a period of relative decline, recently and ahead for the Middle-class incomes of the Western nations, and sees the rise of Donald Trump, and Brexit as the natural knee-jerk reactions of the ‘have nots’.

He sees the polarization of the super-rich from the working poor and observes “that between a quarter and a third of people in the West have negative or zero net wealth, and face a penurious retirement”.

The London-centric cosmopolitan political elite that no longer truly represented the ‘left behinds’ resulted in David Cameron’s ill-fated Remain campaign. Similarly, Clinton failed to win the support of the middle ground of voters, in the face of Trumps simplistic “Make America Great Again” campaign.

Protecting societies weakest from arbitrary misfortune is the ultimate test of our civilized world, including universal health care.

Instead 60% of US labour is paid hourly wages rather than annual incomes. The working class are moving from making things to serving people. Drivers are “sharecroppers on wheels”.

Ancient thinkers always thought the rich more of a threat to the republic. They cling on more tenaciously to what they have.

The working class feel a lack of respect. The rich bankers get bailed out with public money when things go wrong for them.

He is sure that America will not become great under Trump, and that there will be a lethal mood of betrayal and frustration when he fails.

Trump like all populists will blame foreigners, elites, Islam or any handy scapegoat. Trumps successor may be worse!

Luce sees a similar pattern between now and 1914. Britain up to then had been the economic giant; Germany the challenger. “The similarities now to the USA and China are unmissable”.

Trump has chosen this time to drive a wedge between his natural allies, suggesting NATO is redundant, and cutting trade links. More worrying is his proudly held ignorance of how other countries think.

After the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 the Americans and the Soviets set up a hot line and other links to minimize the risk of stumbling into a war.

With the barrier to nuclear entry falling, and nihilistic groups on the rise, the old theory of Mutual Assured Destruction may not protect us for long!

In his penultimate chapter Luce postulates the US-China war of 2020, with Putin of Russia brokering a peace deal, and earning the Nobel Peace Prize!

“All under heaven is great chaos. The situation is excellent” Chou Enlai

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>