We are witnessing an uprising of the elite against the people
By RONALD PLASTERK
In revolutions, the masses turn against the ruling elite. But it can also be the other way around, and we are witnessing that now: an uprising of the elite against the people. Interestingly, this was foreseen as far back as 1995 by American historian Christopher Lasch in his book The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy: The Revolution of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy. If the name Lasch sounds familiar to you: he became famous in the late 1970s with The culture of narcissism that became a kind of cult book, a thick purple pocket that you took with you on holiday in your backpack.
Lasch passed away; he wrote the work on the revolt of the elites with his last strength in 1995, almost thirty years ago. In the book, Lasch points out: ‘The elite, who control money and information, who run charities and universities, who control cultural productions and public debate, have themselves lost faith in Western civilization. The elite abandon the middle class, divide the country and betray democracy.”
These are big words, but Lasch expresses how many citizens experience it now. Many people have stayed in their own country during the summer holidays this year. (By the way, a prominent GroenLinks alderman proudly posted holiday photos on social media of his family trip by plane to America. With this holiday he made the CO2 budget for a hundred households advocated by GL). But those who were on holiday in their own country saw inverted flags everywhere.
If you believe D66, the angry farmers are a small minority of radicals, rich entrepreneurs with mega stables. But in the country of the pancake houses and petting zoos, the cheese shops and the village squares, you see the upside-down flag at terraced houses, and the red farmer’s handkerchiefs flutter on e-bikes. Ordinary people have lost faith in the government. The ruling parties have lost half their voters, have less than a third of the electorate left, while the left-wing opposition does not profit; logical, because PvdA and GL support the government plans.
The loss of confidence in the government by ‘the common people’, as the PvdA used to call them, or ‘the people in the country’ as they were called by the VVD, is a logical consequence of the disdain with which the established parties treat the population .
In NRC, spokesperson for the elite, journalist Hubert Smeets wrote this week that the CDA has become superfluous, and gave this reason: ‘The CDA is unable to isolate the farmer’s rape on tractors and to discipline its own classic polder clubs such as the LTO. ‘
This is remarkable for two reasons. Firstly, from this point of view, the task of politicians is not to represent the people, but to constrain the people. ‘Representing the people’ is considered populist, while you would say that our democracy is based on it. But NRC appeals to representatives of the people that it is their task to discipline their supporters.
The wording is also striking. ‘Rapalje’ is an archaic word, synonymous with scourge, rag, mob, rabble, scum of the ledge. It is actually never used in earnest, at most ironically. In Marten Toonder’s books, Markies de Canteclaer talks like that, and he says ‘parbleu’. But NRC uses it to describe ordinary people.
The elite is cosmopolitan, goes on a plane holiday to the United States and at the same time believes that other people should consume less, thinks – as Timmermans and his officials say, and Schimmelpenninck (parbleu) in the Volkskrant – that people have for years too little for their energy. and paid for food. The elite are in favor of transferring power to Brussels, they are fine with the fact that more and more people are moving to the Netherlands, but they keep a close eye on the fact that newcomers don’t come to live near them, but at the muddy mess. The elite attend cultural events subsidized by taxes raised by the ragtag, and look down on André Rieu for making music without subsidies that people save for months, and for letting 12,000 people enjoy classical music every night.
The elite no longer accept to dance to the tune of the electorate, and uses all means to say: it must be as we have thought! If you say that the nitrogen policy, to which every household pays 4000 euros, is ill-considered, you are a nitrogen denier. But you can’t all fool people all the time, and people get it. The government will probably not fall, because after elections there is no majority without parties to which the rapalje votes. But it would be best if representatives of the people started to represent the people again: the VVD and the entrepreneurs and tradesmen, the CDA the farmers, citizens and outsiders, the CU the Urk and Spakenburg fishermen, and the PvdA the workers.