American Politics Has Caught The British Disease

Friends of the working man? No, both David Cameron and Barack Obama have turned away from the little guy. [Getty photo from the UK Telegraph].

American newspapers are dying but if they paid more attention to British newspapers and tried to emulate them just a bit, they might find their circulation rising or at least holding steady instead of the free fall they are in presently. One of the best things about the rise of the internet is how easy it is to read British newspapers, which are exquisitely wonderful compared to ours. A piece in the UK Telegraph by Janet Daley, American Politics Has Caught The British Disease is a fine example. She is talking about the disdain that gentry liberals have for the middle class, which in America means those who work for a living, many with their hands, and usually have within their own memory parents or grandparents who were once poor immigrants. The aristocracy in England have long looked down their noses at those “in trade.” Starting after WW II these gentrified ones formed an alliance with the welfare class against those who still believed they had a right to keep most of what they earned with their own labor, and while always willing to help those down on their luck they had little sympathy for slackers. The British labour party slowly evolved from a working man’s party into an elitist club of pompous political opportunists using the poor as a weapon against the middle class.

Janet Daley laments that under Obama, American politics seems to be following a similar path:

When David Cameron visits the United States this week, he will find a country whose national political argument has become more like our own in Britain than probably he – and certainly I – would ever have imagined. For America has learned, thanks to Barack Obama’s crash course in European-style government, about the titanic force of class differences. The president’s determination to transform the US into a social democracy, complete with a centrally run healthcare programme and a redistributive tax system, has collided rather magnificently with America’s history as a nation of displaced people who were prepared to risk their futures on a bid to be free from the power of the state.

The open hostility of the American political class, and much of the professional class, to the Tea Party movement mirrors the British Disease, says Daley:

Liberal politics is now – over there as much as here – a form of social snobbery. To express concern about mass immigration, or reservations about the Obama healthcare plan, is unacceptable in bien-pensant circles because this is simply not the way educated people are supposed to think. It follows that those who do think (and talk) this way are small-minded bigots, rednecks, oiks, or whatever your local code word is for “not the right sort”.

She concludes with a poignant observation:

What is most depressing about this – apart from the injustice of it – is that the people who have been disenfranchised and disowned are the very ones on whom both countries’ economic recovery depends.

Read the whole thing.


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