When the Rulers Oppose
what ordinary people want
In a book of essays on Man, Nature, and God: A Quest for Life’s Meaning F.S.C. Northrop, writing soon after the end of World War II, reckons that a multinational government like the EU is sensible, given the following in Chapter 5: Politics Is More Than Its Power:
[L]egal and political decisions are not likely to be effective unless they give expression to the underlying cultural customs of the people. It follows that where several modern nations, for all their differences, have cultural norms in common, an effective international, federated legal, and political community can be built. (p.94)
You know what is missing here. I quote from Glenn Harlan Reynolds in The New Criterion, October 2022. He notes that in a democracy, even a “representative democracy,”
it is nonetheless supposed to be a system in which things that the populace wants generally gets done, and in which things that the populace doesn’t want done aren’t. It has probably not escaped your notice that this is not a particularly accurate description of our society today.
Instead what happens is that things that “are popular with the political class” get done, never mind what ordinary people want.
By large margins voters in America… are opposed to mass immigration; elites on the other hand, are very much in favor. Likewise, affirmative action… is very unpopular, and yet it is the norm today, though sometimes thinly disguised.
How much do voters oppose hiring by race?
All racial groups oppose using race as a factor by majority numbers: 78 percent of whites, 65 percent of Hispanics, 62 percent of blacks, and 58 percent of Asians.
Even deep blue California voters are against race counting. In 1996’s Proposition 209, voters rejected Affirmative Action by 54.55% to 45.45%. In 2020 Proposition 16’s proposal to repeal Proposition 209 went down 57.23% to 42.77%.
So how come?
It is interesting to go back to Northrop — who was a really good guy — and notice what is out of joint. He assumes that the rulers of the various countries would naturally “give expression to the underlying cultural customs of the people.” But what happens if the rulers are consciously or unconsciously opposed to the “underlying cultural customs of the people?”
And another thing. Northrop does not address the question: what if major sections of “the people” have different “underlying cultural customs” from each other? What if the ruling class has significantly different “underlying cultural customs” than the ordinary commoners?
Now, I don’t want to get into the whys of this, why our rulers are so insistent on an open border, and why, despite their declared opposition to racism, they are so insistent on hiring and educating and producing TV commercials by race.
But look at the contradiction. High immigration has the obvious effect of lowering wages, particularly for the low-skilled native population. So why exactly are our rulers so devoted to high immigration? On the other hand, you could say that hiring by race benefits the historically marginalized, so affirmative action actually helps the lower-skilled. So which witch is which?
The simple answer is that humans have a tendency to get all kinds of bees in their bonnets, and go down all kinds of rabbit holes. And noble rulers are no different from ordinary mortals. Bless their hearts.
But it is a “tell” that Republicans are hesitant to go all out on opposing high immigration and on opposing race counting. They must be afraid of something: probably the fear of being called a racist.
Still, I gotta say, there is an opportunity here that some damn politician could drive a semi-truck and trailer through. If he had the cojones.