Here’s an interesting something that I’ve been talking about with people recently: maybe the cultural left is actually PART OF neoliberalism.
I started thinking this after the Brexit debate. I hang around in London finance circles and what struck me was that the exact same rhetoric that was being used by the cultural left types on my Facebook feed was being used by the finance people. It was 100% identical. Right from the anti-democratic tone to the complaints about racism and all that.
I think that both of these groups are actually the same people. They’re sort of embodied in that person who you actually see an awful lot: the Guardian reader who voted Thatcher/Major/Blair/Cameron. There are literally tons of these people.
They care about the ‘environment’. They want open borders and free trade (although they’ll buy fair trade coffee to boost their egos). They strongly dislike high taxes – especially when they are at the stage in their careers (aged 35+) when those higher tax rates impact them. They dislike poor people and think that anyone who works for a living is a racist. But they generally support welfare handouts much in the same way as Victorian snobs supported soup kitchens; so long as the poor stay poor and exercise no social control they make nice pets.
Maybe this is the key. Maybe we’re wrong to think about the ‘contradiction’ between cultural leftism and leftism. Maybe cultural leftism is actually the IDEOLOGY OF NEOLIBERALISM.
There actually seems to be some limited recognition of this, although I don’t think it goes far enough.