Sometimes, different sources begin to hit on similar ideas at the same time, suggesting an idea about to burst into mainstream consciousness. Right now the West is slowly coming to realize that its elites, who are essentially bourgeois shopkeepers who got good at manipulating others, and its organic realists, or the people who keep society functional, are warring it out.
Over a thousand years ago, the new rising middle class began its war on the kings. Enriched by the rule of those kings, it agitated for more power, and took it when the kingdoms were distracted by war, revolution and plagues. Eventually it overthrew them by using the masses as its weapon and in the ensuing disorder, seized power through democracy.
Democracy rewards one thing consistently, and that is flattering the audience by using the techniques of salesmanship. Make them see themselves as wise, or rich, or even just morally good, by doing one simple thing, and then they will vote for it and the politician can do whatever he wants in office as long as he makes a token stab at the symbolic victory the voters wanted.
This is not to let the voters off the hook; they are the people who approve of this system and play it like a lottery despite realizing that the house always wins.
Now we find ourselves divided between realists and merchants, with the former emerging from centuries of being beaten back while the latter surged ahead. This battle will determine the future of our civilization. We can either be another Brazil, or become something like the West of old, but with technology this time to push us even further toward greatness.
As Melanie Phillips observers, the divide is permanent and powerful:
The recent terrorist attacks in Britain have exposed once again the enormous divide between millions of ordinary people who “get it” and the elite class of politicians, media and so-called progressives who do not.
…The great political struggle of our times is not between Left and Right. It is between those who are connected to truth, reason and reality and those who are not. It reflects a fundamental division in the West, whose fate will be decided by its outcome.
She comes very close. Matt Briggs has more, including a description that more accurately depicts the divide between realists and Utopians:
The combatants are the Reals and Progs. The Reals hold with Tradition in the metaphysic of Realism, with all its implied limits, strictures, and glories. Their flag is red. The Progs hold with Will in the metaphysic of Nominalism and say what is true is what is asserted and what feels good. Their flag are blue or a rainbow.
…Nearly all, but not all, of official (active) Democrats are Progs, while only a majority of official Republicans are Progs. Unofficial members of these political parties may fall into either camp or are non-combatants.
…As proof that most Republicans are Progs, we have a prominent one who said of the incident, “Anyone on the ‘right’ who defends the BS that went down at the play tonight is showing themselves to be tribalist, not conservative.” That, Mr French, is rather the point.
Realists believe in judging our actions by their outcomes. Merchants believe in judging our actions by the methods used. The former wants an ends-over-means calculus, where if the goal is good, any methods used to achieve it are good; the latter wants a means-over-ends calculus, where no matter how good the goal is, we are limited to certain methods of action.
This makes sense since the latter are salespeople. If you are trying to herd humans, you set certain methods off-limits so that they do not interrupt the control structure. Then, you engage in other activities which are symbolic, and this motivates the herd to complacency or stampede depending on the needs of the controller.
Contrary to what Ms. Phillips opines, this is a divide between Right and Left. The Right has always favored what has worked in the past; the Left perpetually desires whatever gives the individual more power. Interestingly, most people throughout history have been Rightist because they have known the utility of ends-over-means. To them, the more important thing was to have the right goals.
To the Left, however, ends-over-means is difficult because it clashes with the desire of each human individual to have total control of their own lives. Imagine a flood is coming to your small town; other people may force you to give up your truck so that it can transport others to high ground, or force you out of your home so that you survive. That is ends-over-means.
Until someone comes along and demands means-over-ends instead, most people think naturally in terms of ends-over-means. If your child is at risk, you do whatever is necessary by whatever means are necessary to save them. Similarly, when bad guys show up, you do not particularly care about their civil rights or feelings. In fact, you may just shoot them because they are bad and bad people do bad things.
Realists are not socially popular because they do not offer guarantees. The primal guarantee offered by the Utopians is that “everyone will be included” (equality) and “everyone will get along” (pacifism). This will always be more popular than the ideas of realists, which include the idea of doing nice things for good people and punishing bad people, as well as taking everything on a case-by-case basis.
In the evolution of civilization, we are now at the point where the people who are not able to maintain civilization — the Utopians — are visible to all, and the realists want to break away and leave the Utopians to their own doom. If society splits along these lines, the realists will go on to have advanced civilization, and the Utopians will as always end up in the third world.