The New Liberal Establishment


For many decades people—conservatives, especially—have understood the phrase the liberal establishment to mean the social, educational, and economic elite that sits atop the broader community of people who think, act, and vote liberal: the “limousine liberals,” in other words.  “The liberal establishment” meant the liberals at the top of the social hierarchy who dominated their socially and economically liberal inferiors, as well as their conservative ones, and imposed their will on them de haute en bas.  Today, in an age of populism or simply old-fashioned democratic politics—call it what you will—the liberal establishment means something else entirely.  It is only secondarily an establishment of well-heeled and well-placed individuals in society, education, the arts, the media, law, and government.  It is the brave new world imagined, invented, and imposed by liberal ideology on the nonliberal world in the past three quarters of a century—the last of them especially—the dominant overcrust fitted tightly above the undercrust that struggles to be recognized and heard.  The liberal establishment is quite simply modern reality in North America, in Europe, and in much of the rest of the world: a reality that, like every dominant and...

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