A lady I know said, as a throwaway comment, ‘I quite fancy being part of an elite.’ Actually it’s not difficult. Anybody can be a member of an elite. You merely need somebody more deplorable than you to define yourself against.
From then on it’s easy. “We’re the young, the dynamic, the future. (Obviously change the words to suit you and your fellow members of the elite.) They are a lot of people too stupid to read the writing on the wall.”
Fascism starts here. The left has it easy. They have their enemy ready and waiting, plutocrats (whatever they are), the bourgeoisie, landlords, rich men, bloodsuckers. At times over history Jews have found themselves in the list as well, the “rootless cosmopolitan”, “individuals devoid of nation or tribe”.
But fascists have it tougher. You don’t have your enemy ready made, you have to find one. The left is an obvious one, but many fascists have tried to steal at least some of the left’s clothes. This is so that they appear revolutionary enough to appeal to the disillusioned working classes, but centrist enough to ensure they don’t scare the bourgeoisie.
The old classic fascism of rampant nationalism and the strong state is largely dead. Whatever it is we have got now is something far more insidious. We are seeing the English speaking world being divided into the Nice people and the Deplorables. If you’re not one of us and haven’t signed up to what we believe, then it’s open season on you. See the avalanche of memes and cartoons heading in your direction? Suck it up, looser. That’ll teach you to vote for Trump/Brexit/whatever upsets us this week.
In a democracy you have to try and reach out to all people. They’re all your citizens. When the midden hits the windmill they’ll all good enough to have a rifle thrust into their hands before they’re sent of to the front. If they’re good enough to die for us, surely they’re good enough to be worth talking to, listening to, engaging with?
Hint; spitting on somebody in the street, literally or metaphorically, isn’t engaging with somebody.
It’s sad really. I’m old enough to remember when people could debate; when they were confident enough in their own skins to agree that the other person might have a reasonable view. Indeed at one point, if a leading political figure looked at the evidence and changed course, it was considered wisdom and a sign of strength. It wasn’t a U turn and the sign that the hated figure was a weakling.