Across the West, the left is losing. Badly. But that’s not, as leftists seem to think, because the world has suddenly become reactionary. It’s because the left has lost its own belief in progress.
Last week, Nick Clegg claimed UKIP exists as ‘a voice for people who don’t like the modern world’. He couldn’t be more wrong.
It’s not right that is stuck in the past today. It’s the left.
The Lib Dems cling onto the mid-twentieth-century dirigisme of the EU. Labour can’t see beyond 70s-era socialism. As for the Greens, they hark back to a mythical pre-industrial paradise.
Leftists are often described as progressives or liberals. But they have ceased to be either. They won’t admit that the world is getting better, let alone that freedom is the root of progress.
Fundamentally, the left can’t accept the idea of a self-organising society. That’s why they are always trying to fix things by grand design – and why they place so much faith in ‘expert’ elites.
Yet elitism is what voters are rebelling against. Most people recognise that they can run their lives better than a remote bureaucrat can. They are turning to the right to take back control.
Progressive politics should be about defeating oligarchy. It should aim to spread power outwards and downwards. My new book – Rebel – sets out a manifesto for freeing liberal democracy from the crony cartels.
Meanwhile, the backward-looking left is on the side of the oligarchs. No wonder they’re losing.