Tom Friedman of the New York Times is an excellent representative of today’s establishment. He’s well educated, smart, decent. In the piece below, he expresses frustration that leaders don’t lead. They just follow polls and tweets. His solution: establishment leaders need to tell the people “the truth.” If they do, the public might trust them back and support them.
This is a kinder view than expressed by many establishment leaders, including Friedman himself sometimes. In this familiar elitist view, the people aren’t that bright. Because they aren’t listening to their establishment betters, the world is in a mess.
There is a fundamental problem here. It won’t help for establishment leaders to tell ordinary people “the truth.” This won’t help because establishment leaders haven’t a clue what the truth is. They have no idea in particular how corrupt and damaging their Keynesian economic policies (together with its associated crony capitalism) are or how much worldwide poverty they are creating.
Can the establishment that has run American (and European) society wake up and reform itself? It isn’t likely. The intellectual confusion and moral rot has gone too deep. Hope for the future lies with the very people, the ordinary people, who refuse to follow the establishment, much to Friedman’s disappointment and chagrin. At this juncture, we need more populism, not less. It is where hope lies.