Liberalism has certainly seen better days. Whether it’s Trumpism, the revival of European nationalism, “Sultan” Recep Erdogan’s appeal to small-town Turks, or Narendra Modi’s popularity with Indians, the pattern is clear: growing numbers of frustrated people worldwide are losing patience with liberal democracy’s myriad failures. In response to an increasingly untenable status quo, society’s “losers” are embracing more nationalistic and authoritarian alternatives.
The highly unequal Philippines is the latest country to conform to this global trend, as evidenced by Rodrigo Duterte’s ascendancy to the presidency. Despite Duterte’s colorful personality – he’s been branded the “Trump of the East” – fed up Filipinos are willing to overlook his improprieties; in fact, his caustic character probably plays a big role in his appeal. As this one Der Spiegel editorial discussing Donald Trump (though it could equally apply to someone like Duterte) points out, societal decay provides fertile ground for radical politicians (emphasis mine):
Their rise was made possible through a decline in values such as decency, honesty, tolerance and fairness — a process that has been hastened by the Republican Party more than anyone else. For too long, it has pursued fiscal, economic and social policies that served only companies and the rich, the financial backers of their election campaigns. At the same time, millions of Americans slid into precarity. Cultural declines are often the consequence of real economic decline. Propriety isn’t the primary concern of those with financial worries, those who are embittered and living without hope. Instead, the neglected long for a culture of radicalism and coarseness. Destruction, they believe, may presage something better.
In other words, when people have little to lose, they’re more than happy to shake things up – decency be damned. While the leftist writer heaps blame on Republicans, conservatives and liberals share responsibility for our neoliberal nightmare. As demonstrated by the Philippines and other countries, avaricious elites of all ideological leanings spawn the likes of Rodrigo Duterte. In the West (especially in North America) this nightmare is only compounded by multiculturalism and racial tension, which is why Trump is now a serious presidential candidate.
But it’s not just nationalists who are ushering in the demise of liberalism. In response to the Democratic establishment’s unyielding hostility to Bernie Sanders – an expression of their opposition to progressive economic goals – growing numbers of leftist populists are looking at liberals (and their “incrementalism”) askance. Smug coastal liberals, like their Conservatism Inc counterparts, are quickly becoming an endangered species. Turns out that mixing “meritocracy” with multiculturalism wasn’t the wisest idea, and as a consequence today’s liberals have little to offer most people.
One of the recurring themes of this blog is that Western, culturally left liberals are a deviant minority – when viewed from a global standpoint, that is. While the Alternative Right and Donald Trump are deemed “extreme” by American standards, people in most of the world don’t give a rat’s ass about liberals’ sensibilities and notions of propriety; leaders such as “Duterte Harry” make that abundantly clear. Unfortunately, given the the West’s disproportionate global influence – as well as liberal/neoliberal dominance of the media and academia – cultural liberals have been able to punch above their weight. However, since most people around the world (and frankly, sane human beings everywhere) reflexively reject such nutty beliefs, the maintenance of neoliberal SJWism in the West requires significant upkeep. As whites grow increasingly restless as a result of declining standards of living and lost cultural prestige, support for this bizarre experiment will fade.
It’s only a matter of time.