The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Blinding Optimism of the Elites, Here and Abroad

A short offering from the last Morning Jolt of the week…

The French Elites, Comfortable with American Elites’ Playbook from 2016

Writing in the New York Times, Kamel Daoud contends that France’s political elites are telling themselves reassuring lies about how Marine Le Pen couldn’t possibly win:

Why is it, finally, that Ms. Le Pen cannot become president? Because while the far right has changed its discourse, the mainstream elites still hold on to their old ways of seeing the world, or imagining what it is.

Their analysis of the rise of populism is out of sync. It rests on assumptions, faulty reasoning and denial. The prospect of a Le Pen presidency upsets a kind of political positivism: the view that democracy can go only from good to better, from being a necessity to being a right. Ms. Le Pen’s election would run counter to the course of history, the reasoning goes, and therefore it cannot be. This is a happy ending for elites: a narrative convention, a marketable concept, a variant form of utopia — and the basis of an irrational political analysis.

Out-of-touch elites believing that they are destined to win forever because they represent progress? We know the feeling.

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