In his just published book, Ronan Farrow writes:
When the call was over, Clancy hung up and turned to her partner, dumbfounded. “We’re all being fired.”
Like a lot of young diplomats, Erin Clancy had joined the [U.S.] Foreign Service after 9/11. She wanted to make the world safer. She moved to the Middle East for six years. She’d been in Damascus when the American embassy there was overrun by protesters. She’d narrowly avoided kidnapping. She’d worked long hours with low pay… the Foreign Service officers on her team couldn’t be fired altogether. But they could be removed from their jobs. This wasn’t just a career setback. For many it was the difference between making ends meet and not. Foreign Service officers don’t earn overtime. Instead, assignments with backbreaking hours get a pay differential, a bonus of 18 percent for the deputy secretary’s team. No one goes into this career expecting riches. Including the differential, Clancy was making $91,000 a year. But they bid on these jobs knowing they were guaranteed for a year. Many had planned their family’s lives around that income. The dismissals felt wanton and without regard for their service.
Ronan Farrow, War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence, 2018, pp. xviii-xix.
Here we find fully justified sympathy from one member of the “intelligentsia” for other members at risk of losing their jobs.
But swap the words “Foreign Service officers” for “steelworkers” and you get a superb description of the mood among the people in the rust belts across the West – and the changes and decline that have been going on for decades have affected countless more people than the total number of staff employed at the U.S. Foreign Service.
And yet, Farrow’s friend Hillary Clinton and the like display precious little sympathy for the “deplorables” and irredeemables” in flyover country.
There is no empathy for the steel workers who have been losing their jobs since the 1970s – and who would jump at the chance of a job paying $91,000 p.a.
Instead, they despise flyover country, still wonder why “populism” has taken off, and believe they are sophisticated when they make fun of Trump – a man who realised years ago what was happening in his own country far better than most “progressives” in May 2018.
Admittedly, Farrow’s book is not about domestic politics, but the “hidden assumptions” underpinning it are all too typical of the massive cognitive dissonance among the “elite” and their current inability to join the dots.
If the centre left fails to solve the West’s huge economic challenges which have arisen as unanticipated and unwanted side-effects of globalisation and continues to double down on policies such as identity politics and mass legal and illegal immigration, the situation in the West will continue to deteriorate – with potentially disastrous consequences far worse than those we are currently witnessing.