July 11, 2016
My one-time MP finally says something smart!
Globalization and a borderless world have been terrific for the educated, the young, the mobile, the multilingual, the multicultural. But globalization has been really tough for people whose jobs are tied to a community, whose mobility is limited by limited education, and — more positively — whose first allegiance is to their community, their locality, their place of birth.
Cosmopolitans are perpetually surprised that, A, they’re only 1 percent of the population, and, B, most people don’t think like them. …
I do think that there’s a real disconnect between an international cosmopolitan discourse about rights — the rights of migrants, the rights of refugees — versus the way in which ordinary people in most democracies see this question.
For ordinary people, a citizen’s relation to a stranger is a gift relationship, not a rights relationship. There are a lot of Brexiters who think a decent country is generous to strangers, is compassionate to strangers. But that’s the language of the gift. That’s not a language of rights. This is an emerging theme that a lot of liberal cosmopolitan politicians — and I have been one! — didn’t understand.