Douglas Carswell

14 NOV 2016

How did "progressives" become so reactionary?

Having taken a break to be shocked at the US election result, Remainer MPs are getting back to using process to block Article 50. It's a mystery why voters are so angry, isn't it?

Some left-wingers around the world seem to be think that, with a little obstructionism, everything can go on as before. That's delusional. If yesterday's models are being rejected by the people, it's because they no longer work.

Much of what today's elites think of as so normal as to be unchangeable are really late twentieth-century innovations. The EU is an unprecedented political experiment. Multiculturalism is an unprecedented social experiment. Global fiat money is an unprecedented economic experiment.

It's not unreasonable for people to judge these innovations against their results. In fact, that's what any reasonable person should do.

And the results don't match the goals.

The European project was meant to deliver peace and harmony across a continent. Instead, it is expanding the economic divide between north and south, and fuelling political discontent.

Multiculturalism has evolved into safe spaces and identity politics that, far from ending stigmatisation based on background, has established an inverse moral hierarchy of race, religion, gender and sexuality.

Fiat money was meant to make the monetary system more secure. Instead, it has facilitated financial crises, and transferred wealth from average earners to the super-rich.

Systems don't survive simply because they are articles of faith among the people who benefit from them most. They were uncertain novelties a few decades ago. Their own deficiencies have made them uncertain again.

This year's political rebellions have challenged some, but not all, of these presumed certainties. They may be the beginning of new experiments for the twenty-first century.

But that's no reason to fear. The norm is change, not stasis. Not all change is progress. But trying to keep a failed system afloat is often worse than allowing it to fail.

Today's self-described progressives are really reactionaries. They might consider the opportunities of change – and the risks of obstructing the correction.

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