Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The anti-Elite

There is a common thread running through many developments across the world today: the rise of Donald Trump, the threat of Brexit, the dog meat festival in China, even Raghuram Rajan's decision to return to academia in September. Oft-quoted and accepted logic is being turned on its head, dogged resistance to what used to be common sense is being felt, but most of all, people are pushing against what they are told is normal. There is a revolt against the narrative. But what does that mean?

Consider who decides what is normal, what is common sense, and what the narrative is. A very tiny elite, who have been telling everybody else how to live, what to eat, how to vote, what to worship... all without any accountability. The biggest example of all is the economic pundits in any central bank who think it fit to decide the very value of money. They have been proven wrong repeatedly, most spectacularly in 2008, and their economic prescriptions have not nearly achieved what they set out - and yet, not only do they keep making them, they seem entirely immune from the effects those decisions have on everybody else. On the other side are the inflationistas, who make it prohibitively expensive for businesses and consumers to borrow, in the hope that supply side inflation can somehow be tackled by killing off consumption!

Then there are the political pundits, most notably the liberal ones, who insist that people must vote in the way they think fit, and then proceed to spin a web of propaganda to 'prove' their point. So Islamophobia is evil, but Jewish/Hindu/Christian terrorism is a very real problem; religion is the opium of the masses except during Ramadan, when it is so cute; college must be free except the expensive private ones where they send their kids... the list goes on. It is these pundits who told us that India would erupt into violence if Narendra Modi becomes Prime Minister (it hasn't), it is the same people who once said that India's 1967 general election would be its last (there have been a dozen since). Those same people now want to legislate bathrooms, and warn us that Trump will be the 'last President of America'.

But what we're seeing now is a revolt against these people. Most economic studies cannot be reproduced, because people are doing what they feel is best for them, and not what some theory says they should do. People are voting as they think right, because they refuse to let the elite tell them what their morality should be. Most importantly, people have begun to see through the hypocrisy of the elite, who are able to sermonize without consequence, insulated from the world they seek to control. We are seeing nothing short of a renaissance of people who were hitherto told what to think. We are witnessing the birth of the anti-Elite.

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