2016 and the Anglo-Saxon Revolt

© 2016 Tom Rogers

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2016 could be the year of the Anglo-Saxon Revolt. There are two democratic exercises looming: (i). the U.S. general election, for which it looks like the Republican presidential candidate will be Donald Trump; and, a referendum in the UK on the question of Britain's continued membership of the European Union.

Some initial thoughts:

(i). As I see it, both votes are the result of a philosophical division between a 'national' view of things and a 'liberal' view. There are different reasons for adopting the national position. In some cases, it is tacitly or explicitly a racial or ethnic position. In other cases, it is based on democratic principles, and a belief that a national community is the correct political level for major economic and social decisions. This latter 'democratic' view is not necessarily opposed to internationalism but arises out of practical experience of the anti-democratic nature of international institutions such as the EU, and a pragmatic understanding of their democratic limitations. Thus the democrat, though he adopts a national view, is not necessarily a nationalist.

(ii). The liberal position has its roots in classical liberalism and the belief that individual sovereignty should take precedence over collective loyalties and allegiances. However, not all those we might characterise as liberal are pure individualists. Some adopt an individualistic point-of-view in the sense that they reject the notion of ascribed characteristics for certain genetic groups and hold to the view that all human beings are a blank slate and thus fungible, while at the same time holding that the most important relationship between people is their economic position in society and their identification with either the ruling class or the working class. This class-based view can be found on both the Left and the Right, and when found among the Left is known as socialism or Marxism, while on the political Right these views are among the characteristics of neo-liberalism.