Last week two momentous events (well maybe just one) occurred; both triggered by the same phenomena.
Voters in Great Britain, by a margin of fifty-two percent to forty-eight percent, elected to exit the European Union. The Saturday edition of the Wall Street Journal characterized it thusly:
“Voters defied the impassioned – and unified – opposition of the leadership of all five major political parties. They rejected the advice of more than 1,200 corporate CEO’s, including half of the chiefs of the FTSE 100 companies who wrote to The Times newspaper last week urging rejection of ‘Brexit.’
“Banks in the City of London, one of the world’s major financial centers, along with the Bank of England, the country’s central bank, and most of its influential think tanks and academic institutions, had warned of the risks to the U.K.’s economic security and global financial pre-eminence if Britain did not stay in the EU. A procession of eminent foreigners, from most head of European governments to James Dimon, the CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase, had urged a vote to stay.”
Even the “most beloved leader” of the modern free world, President Barack Obama, warned the British voters that if they didn’t listen to his advice that Great Britain would move to the “back of the queue” in negotiating international trade agreements.
How dare they? How dare that scurvy crew of commoners ignore the superior advice of their betters? What were they thinking to ignore Mr. Obama’s paterfamilias warning? What good is being “an elite” if no one listens to you?
Which brings us to the other “momentous” event. George Will, noted columnist and smug prig, resigned from the Republican Party because the great unwashed in America’s heartland ignored his superior advice and instead chose Donald Trump to be the presidential nominee for the Republican Party. (Yes, “prig” is a word. No, it doesn’t mean what you think. Yes, it in fact describes Mr. Will to a tee.)
While the former event will have consequences, albeit not nearly as catastrophic as the elites warned, the latter fits neatly into the category of “who gives a damn” – with the possible exception of Mr. Will’s spouse and the jury is still out on that.
Mr. Will possesses the same Brahmin pedigree (Trinity College, Oxford and Princeton) that many of the “ruling elites” do in both America and Europe. While small in numbers they are large in influence mostly because they (like Oregon’s Democrat Party) marry each other, have affairs with each other, hire each other, appoint each other, ensure their offspring are encased in privilege, and exclude virtually anyone that does not possess a similar pedigree. They are both Democrats and Republicans, Conservatives and Liberals (Progressives, or whatever the are calling themselves these days). They enter and exit government service like a revolving door. When voters change the party in power, they simply move from the majority office to the minority office – same people, different titles. Or some move from government to one of Washington, D.C.’s high powered law or lobbying firms where they are paid handsome sums while they wait to reenter government (and do favors for the client’s of their employers) at the next changing of the guard. And along the way they line their pockets by selling influence – none have been better at this than former President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Clinton – two bites of the apple are always better than one.
Washington’s government elites, like Mr. Will, are nearly apoplectic about the prospects of a Trump presidency in which they will have no influence. They, including the Republican elites, much prefer Ms. Clinton because, after all, she is a member of the club and while they may lose their current title and office temporarily, they will remain a member of the inner circle simply awaiting their inevitable return to high office. I mean, really, who cares if the Clintons have been brazen in their insatiable quest to enrich themselves by selling influence; haven’t they all drank from the same cup themselves?
It is of little consequence if the nation continues in an economic malaise, if it slides further into debt, if the march to a welfare state continues at an accelerated pace, if the prestige and influence of the nation continues to wane, or if the number of terrorist attacks from a growing Islamic jihadist cadre swells. So long as the elites remain secure in their power and influence, so long as their accumulation of wealth continues, so longs as they are protected by gun-toting security, the world will be a better place and the rest of us will just have to get used to it.
We fought a revolution to get rid of the smug aristocracy of England. Now two hundred years later we have our own inbred smug aristocracy running the show.
In the end, Great Britain and the European Union will settle on their divorce, although the Brits will be made to pay a price for ignoring the directives of their own elites and life will go on. And in America, George Will will rejoin the Republican Party after he and the other Republican elites ensure the election of Ms. Clinton, and I will leave then leave the Republican Party for just that reason.