Home' Policy Magazine : Policy Vol 33 - No 3 Contents 53
POLICY • Vol. 33 No. 3 • Spring 2017
DAVID MARTIN JONES
nativist movements. However, it by no means
explains the success of Brexit and Trump. As J.D.
Vance shows in his bestselling Hillbilly Elegy: A
Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, ‘rich and
poor; educated and uneducated; upper class and
working class’ now inhabit ‘two separate worlds’
It is the gulf between these worlds and worldviews
that largely explains the rise of Western populism.
Vance portrays himself as a rare ‘cultural migrant’
traversing the chasm between his white Scots-Irish
working class, rustbelt, Midwest hometown, and
the ivy league law school of the East Coast, where
he discovers that ‘the wealthy and powerful, are not
just wealthy and powerful, they follow a different
set of norms’ (p.253).
These norms are the antithesis of the ‘hillbilly,
redneck or white trash’ culture of the Midwest.
Vance provides a deeply personal account of the
economic decline and social breakdown of the
white working class identified by Charles Murray in
Coming Apart: The State of White America (2012).
Through his memoir, Vance traces how a white
working class culture disintegrated as they watched
manufacturing jobs disappear overseas. At the same
time, he also acknowledges that whilst globalisation
undermined the local political economy, the
Scots-Irish culture of antiquated honour codes
and suspicion of outsiders also reinforced a wider
Vance’s extraordinary personal story chimed
with the political revenge of the white working class
upon the Democrat and Republican establishments
in November 2016. After Yale law school, Vance
worked for the Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peter
Thiel, but has since returned to the Midwest to start
a non-profit venture. San Francisco, he explains,
represents a ‘dystopian view of what middle America
sees in the future. Two fundamental subsets of the
population . . . completely separated by culture and
wealth . . . [who] don’t really interact with each
other or feel any kinship’.
Road to Nowhere
These subsets are also evident in Western Europe
where, as David Goodhart argues in The Road to
Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of
Politics, a ‘great divide’ has emerged between two
‘subterranean value blocs’ in modern Britain (p.253).
Goodhart calls these two subsets ‘Anywhere’ and
‘Somewhere’ and painstakingly analyses how they
evolved over the past quarter of a century.
Anywheres, Goodhart estimates, on the basis
of survey data (that sometimes overwhelms the
reader), represent 20-25% of the UK population.
Meanwhile Somewheres constitute more than 50%
whilst a further 5-7% of the population subscribe
to ‘hard authoritarianism’. Somewheres are socially
conservative political ‘outsiders’, uncomfortable
with ‘mass immigration, an achievement society in
which they struggle to achieve, the reduced status of
non-graduate employment and more fluid gender
roles’ (p.5). Forty years ago, Somewhere values
were the norm. Their Brexit brand of ‘restrained’
populism represents then an instinctive response to
rapid change which has not benefited everyone.
Goodhart, founding editor of the centre-
left Prospect magazine, is, by contrast, a natural
Anywhere. However, his work on demography after
20015 led him to become increasingly sceptical of
its ‘double liberalism’ that is market-friendly and
pro-globalisation in economics ‘combined with
more individualistic social and cultural politics
and state enforcement of greater racial and gender
equality’ (p.63). This ‘progressive individualism’ is a
worldview for ‘more or less successful individuals’.
It places a high value on autonomy, mobility and
novelty and a much lower value on group identity,
tradition and national social contracts (p.5).
Unlike Somewheres, Anywheres are comfortable
with mass immigration, European integration and
the spread of universal human rights all of which
dilute the claims of national citizenship. Although
meritocracy is their official creed, this insider nation’s
allegedly self-made men and women are ‘almost
always born into the wealthy or professional classes’
(p.61). Education at elite universities and inter-
marriage reinforce this transnational, multicultural
Unlike Somewheres, Anywheres are
comfortable with mass immigration,
European integration and the spread of
universal human rights all of which dilute
the claims of national citizenship.
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