Graves and Valpy: Who supports the ‘freedom’ protesters and why

Useful and informative public opinion insights:

In the turbulent 1960s, American journalist Hunter S. Thompson spent nearly a year following around the Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle gang. His most striking conclusion was not their violent hedonism but their “ethic of total retaliation” against a technologically advanced and economically changing America in which they felt they’d been left behind.

As he wrote in an article for The Nation, that kind of politics is “nearly impossible to deal with” using reason or empathy or awareness-raising or any of the other favourite tools of the left.

And in 2016, political scientist Susan McWilliams Barndt, also writing in The Nation, borrowed Thompson’s language to describe her fellow citizens who elected Donald Trump, introducing a new, deeply polarized right-wing politics into her country’s civic life.

Which brings us to the occupation of Ottawa and the blockading of border-crossings and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s invocation of the federal Emergencies Act — in Canada, for heaven’s sake.

“Thompson was the only American writer to warn coastal, left-liberal elites about their disconnection from poor and working-class white voters,” wrote McWilliams Barndt.

“Thompson’s Angels were mostly working-class white men who felt, not incorrectly, that they had been relegated to the sewer of American society. The manual-labor skills that they had learned and cultivated were in declining demand.

“Though most had made it through high school, they did not have the more advanced levels of training that might lead to economic or professional security,” wrote McWilliams Barndt.

“Their lack of education,” Thompson wrote of the Angels, “rendered them completely useless in a highly technical economy.”

Source: Who supports the ‘freedom’ protesters and why

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

2 Responses to Graves and Valpy: Who supports the ‘freedom’ protesters and why

  1. kellyjohnj says:

    Good morning David, I found this article and the analysis in it interesting, and thought you might find it of interest as well. These “Multicultural Meanderings” are put out by Andrew Griffith, who I know from my work with the UN in Geneva. I first met him when he worked at the Canadian Permanent Mission of the UN in Geneva in the 1980s, and then he left the Foreign Service and worked elsewhere with the Federal Govt in Ottawa — as a Director General (one step below an Asst Deputy Minister) at Citizenship and Immigration Canada and later as a DG at Multiculturalism and Human Rights. Best wishes to you and Marg, John

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