You are what you claim to hate

Reaction to the Pakeha Party has revealed the supremacist tendencies of the ruling class.

The right-on hipsters of the ruling elite are today mocking the fledgling Pakeha Party. Criticising the concept, the expression of opinions, and even its spelling.

The mockery belies a disgust for the attitudes of the great unwashed. The ruling elite don’t really like a great number of the people who vote every three years, get cross at public meetings, ring up talkback and give their opinions to pollsters.

Derision is easier than considering what’s going wrong in a community that generates such ideas in the first place. 

In the US, similar ridicule was heaped on the Tea Party. It came from both sides of the political divide because they felt threatened by grass roots discontent. At first they thought scorn and disengagement would tear the movement down. But the discontent proved stronger, and the movement’s lack of cohesion gave it a guerrilla-like political effect. Gradually, politicians began to signal their allegiance to the ‘Party’.

In Britain, the elite acted similarly to the British National Party, and then to the EDL. In fact, it uses the coercive power of the state, the police, to restrict public expression. But the movement recently found more respectable voice in the UKIP. 

It isn’t hard to demolish the intellectual basis or expression of such movements. Their origins, those who run them, and their supporters, are often not as sophisticated and urbane as those running mainstream politics. Journalists enjoyed themselves making fun of Sarah Palin. But it’s fish in a barrel stuff, and misses the deeper point of grass-roots expression.

The dismissive savagery of elite smart-alecs contrasts sharply with the approach of ordinary people to such movements. They do at least give the ideas the respect of being honestly expressed (because they know them to be widely held in many forms). They’ve engaged with good humour, real life experiences and solid critiques.

These sorts of movements represent valid expressions of legitimate and honestly held opinion. They often represent the sharp and ugly side of concepts which can be found more broadly throughout a community. To dismiss them cruelly, rather than engage with the ideas, is to dismiss the concerns of many more citizens than it may at first appear. The mockery reveals that the true supremacists are in our political elite.

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