One of the biggest myths since Brexit and Trump is that these results were not only highly unpleasant, but also “unexpected” – despite the mass of warnings about the failing economy, de-industrialisation, mass immigration, elite corruption, dysfunctional politics, Islam(ism) , foreign policy and more by other members of the elite going back to the 1990s and even earlier in the UK, US, France and Germany.

In 2016, for instance, France’s Larousse dictionary included the word déclinisme – you do not need French to realise this means “declinism.”

The titles of the books and articles below speak for themselves – and the cognitive dissonance among the rest of the elite, which we define very roughly as those who have studied and/or taught at elite schools and universities, those who have considerable inherited or earned wealth, those who have served in government, worked at high level in business and those who have written books or articles for leading publications etc. or of course any combination of the above.

The authors range from Marxists and leftists/liberals to middle-of-the-road conservatives and those further to the right. We have included some extracts from articles or the blurb from the books.

United Kingdom

  • Martin Wolf, Failing elites threaten our future. Leaders richly rewarded for mediocrity cannot be relied upon when things go wrong, The Financial Times, 14 January 2014.
    • Wolf is one of the leading and most respected financial commentators in the world. Some quotes from his article illustrate some of the problems:
      • Complex societies rely on their elites to get things, if not right, at least not grotesquely wrong. When elites fail, the political order is likely to collapse…
      • Here are three visible failures.First, the economic, financial, intellectual and political elites mostly misunderstood the consequences of headlong financial liberalisation. Lulled by fantasies of self-stabilising financial markets, they not only permitted but encouraged a huge and, for the financial sector, profitable bet on the expansion of debt. The policy making elite failed to appreciate the incentives at work and, above all, the risks of a systemic breakdown. When it came, the fruits of that breakdown were disastrous on several dimensions: economies collapsed; unemployment jumped; and public debt exploded. The policy making elite was discredited by its failure to prevent disaster. The financial elite was discredited by needing to be rescued. The political elite was discredited by willingness to finance the rescue. The intellectual elite – the economists – was discredited by its failure to anticipate a crisis or agree on what to do after it had struck. The rescue was necessary. But the belief that the powerful sacrificed taxpayers to the interests of the guilty is correct.Second, in the past three decades we have seen the emergence of a globalised economic and financial elite. Its members have become ever more detached from the countries that produced them. In the process, the glue that binds any democracy – the notion of citizenship – has weakened. The narrow distribution of the gains of economic growth greatly enhances this development. This, then, is ever more a plutocracy. A degree of plutocracy is inevitable in democracies built, as they must be, on market economies. But it is always a matter of degree. If the mass of the people view their economic elite as richly rewarded for mediocre performance and interested only in themselves, yet expecting rescue when things go badly, the bonds snap. We may be just at the beginning of this long-term decay.Third, in creating the euro, the Europeans took their project beyond the practical into something far more important to people: the fate of their money. Nothing was more likely than frictions among Europeans over how their money was being managed or mismanaged. The probably inevitable financial crisis has now spawned a host of still unresolved difficulties. The economic difficulties of crisis-hit economies are evident: huge recessions, extraordinarily high unemployment, mass emigration and heavy debt overhangs. This is all well known. Yet it is the constitutional disorder of the eurozone that is least emphasised. Within the eurozone, power is now concentrated in the hands of the governments of the creditor countries, principally Germany, and a trio of unelected bureaucracies – the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The peoples of adversely affected countries have no influence upon them. The politicians who are accountable to them are powerless. This divorce between accountability and power strikes at the heart of any notion of democratic governance. The eurozone crisis is not just economic. It is also constitutional.The characteristic of rightwing populists is that they kick down. If elites continue to fail, we will go on watching the rise of angry populists. The elites need to do better. If they do not, rage may overwhelm us all.
  • Michael McCloud, Jeremy Black predicts population boom could stir up violence. Historian criticises coverage of modern conflicts as ‘too shallow’, The Guardian, 14 August 2011.
  •  “The people have now voted against us four times! What is wrong with them?”, Question put to Tony Blair, later the British Prime Minister, by a Labour Party member in 1992. Debate between Christopher Hitchens and Tony Blair, at 1:39:02 on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFnSjmQCGDM
  • Guy Standing, The Precariat. The New Dangerous Class, 2011.
    • The context is that, while the precariat has been growing, globalisation’s hidden reality has come to the surface with the 2008 financial shock. Postponed for too long, global adjustment is pushing the high-income countries down as it pulls the low-income countries up. Unless the inequalities wilfully neglected by most governments in the past two decades are radically redressed, the pain and repercussions could become explosive. The global market economy may eventually raise living standards everywhere – even its critics should wish that – but it is surely only ideologues who can deny that it has brought economic insecurity to many, many millions.
    • Guy Standing, The Precariat, 2011, p. vii.
  • Richard Koch & Chris Smith, Suicide of the West, 2006.
  • Peter Hitchens, The Abolition of Britain: From Lady Chatterley to Tony Blair (US subtitle: From Winston Churchill to Princess Diana), 1999.
    • Hitchens is the younger brother of the late Christopher Hitchens. In their youth, both brothers were Trotskyists, but Christopher gradually moved away from the left, embraced the war against the Iraq while continuing to assert his leftist credentials and “the dialectic” and wrote the 2007 bestseller God Is Not Great.How Religion Poisons Everything. Peter, on the other hand, turned to conservatism and religion.

    • Peter Hitchens has said he would gladly accept a loss of several percentage points in GDP if England could return to its past.

  • Philip Stephens, The perils of mutual miscalculation. You do not have to take sides to see where the present China/US standoff is leading, The Financial Times, 13 January  2011.

United States

  • Samuel P. Huntington, Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity, 2004

    • Huntington is credited with inventing the phrase Davos man, which he understands as a member of the global elites who
      • “have little need for national loyalty, view national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing, and see national governments as residues from the past whose only useful function is to facilitate the elite’s global operations.”
    • This is strikingly similar to part of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference on 5 October 2016:
      • “But today, too many people in positions of power behave as though they have more in common with international elites than with the people down the road, the people they employ, the people they pass in the street.”But if you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what the very word ‘citizenship’ means.”
  • Edward Luce, Time To Start Thinking: America And The Spectre Of Decline, 2012.
    • Luce is chief US commentator and columnist for the Financial Times, previously the paper’s Washington bureau chief and from 1999 to 2001 speech writer for Larry Summer, then US Treasury Secretary during the Clinton administration.
    • We are borrowing money from China to build weapons to face down China.Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2007 to 2011.Quoted in Edward Luce, Time To Start Thinking: America And The Spectre Of Decline, 2012, p.13
  • Hedrick Smith, Who Stole the American Dream?, 2012:
    • Pulitzer Prize winner Hedrick Smith’s new book is an extraordinary achievement, an eye-opening account of how, over the past four decades, the American Dream has been dismantled and we became two Americas.
    • …Smith takes us across America to show how seismic changes, sparked by a sequence of landmark political and economic decisions, have transformed America. As only a veteran reporter can, Smith fits the puzzle together, starting with Lewis Powell’s provocative [1971] memo that triggered a political rebellion that dramatically altered the landscape of power from then until today.
    • This is a book full of surprises and revelations—the accidental beginnings of the 401(k) plan, with disastrous economic consequences for many; the major policy changes that began under Jimmy Carter; how the New Economy disrupted America’s engine of shared prosperity, the “virtuous circle” of growth, and how America lost the title of “Land of Opportunity.” Smith documents the transfer of $6 trillion in middle-class wealth from homeowners to banks even before the housing boom went bust, and how the U.S. policy tilt favoring the rich is stunting America’s economic growth.
    • This book is essential reading for all of us who want to understand America today, or why average Americans are struggling to keep afloat. Smith reveals how pivotal laws and policies were altered while the public wasn’t looking, how Congress often ignores public opinion, why moderate politicians got shoved to the sidelines, and how Wall Street often wins politically by hiring over 1,400 former government officials as lobbyists.
  • George Packer, The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, the 2013 National Book Award Winner and a New York Times Bestseller
    • American democracy is beset by a sense of crisis. Seismic shifts during a single generation have created a country of winners and losers, allowing unprecedented freedom while rending the social contract, driving the political system to the verge of breakdown, and setting citizens adrift to find new paths forward. In The Unwinding, George Packer tells the story of the past three decades by journeying through the lives of several Americans, including… a factory worker in the Rust Belt trying to survive the collapse of her city, a Washington insider oscillating between political idealism and the lure of organized money, and a Silicon Valley billionaire who arrives at a radical vision of the future.
  • Justin Gest, The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Age of Immigration and Inequality, 2016.
    • It wasn’t so long ago that the white working class occupied the middle of British and American societies. But today members of the same demographic, feeling silenced and ignored by mainstream parties, have moved to the political margins. In the United States and the United Kingdom, economic disenfranchisement, nativist sentiments and fear of the unknown among this group have even inspired the creation of new right-wing parties and resulted in a remarkable level of support for fringe political candidates, most notably Donald Trump.Answers to the question of how to rebuild centrist coalitions in both the U.S. and U.K. have become increasingly elusive. How did a group of people synonymous with Middle Britain and Middle America drift to the ends of the political spectrum? What drives their emerging radicalism? And what could possibly lead a group with such enduring numerical power to, in many instances, consider themselves a “minority” in the countries they once defined? In The New Minority, Justin Gest speaks to people living in once thriving working class cities–Youngstown, Ohio and Dagenham, England–to arrive at a nuanced understanding of their political attitudes and behaviors. In this daring and compelling book, he makes the case that tension between the vestiges of white working class power and its perceived loss have produced the unique phenomenon of white working class radicalization.
    • Note the use of the word “daring” – signifying that the book ventures beyond the “politically correct.”
  • Thomas Sowell, Dismantling America: and other controversial essays, 2010

Germany

  • Thilo Sarrazin, Deutschland schafft sich ab: Wie wir unser Land aufs Spiel setzen (Deutschland abolishes itself. How we are endangering our country, published in English as Germany Is Doing Away With Itself).

    • Sarrazin has a doctorate in economics, served on the Executive Board of the Bundesbank and is a member of Germany’s Social Democratic Party
  • Gertrud Höhler, Demokratie im Sinkflug: Wie sich Angela Merkel und EU-Politiker über geltendes Recht stellen, 2017
    • Democracy on the Decline: How Angela Merkel and EU Politicians Put Themselves Above the Law
  • Gertrud Höhler, Die Patin: Wie Angela Merkel Deutschland umbaut, 2012
    • The Godmother: How Angela Merkel is Transforming Germany
  • Ali Sperling, Merkels Flüchtlinge: Die schonungslose Wahrheit über den deutschen Asyl-Irrsinn!, 2016
    • Merkel’s Refugees: The Unvarnished Truth about Germany’s Asylum Lunacy!
  • Michael Berlach, Deutschland im Jahr 2030: Ein Land konvertiert zum Islam, 2016
    • Germany in 2030: A Country converts to Islam
  • Hans-Olaf Henkel and Joachim Starbatty, Deutschland gehört auf die Couch!: Warum Angela Merkel die Welt rettet und unser Land ruiniert, 2016
    • Germany needs to get its head examined! Why Angela Merkel is saving the world and ruining our country
  • Ulf Küch, SOKO Asyl: Eine Sonderkommission offenbart überraschende Wahrheiten über Flüchtlingskriminalität, 2016
    • Asylum Special Commission: A Special Commission reveals surprising truths about refugee crime
  • Christian Wiermer and Gerhard Voogt, Die Nacht, die Deutschland veränderte: Hintergründe, Fakten und Enthüllungen zu den dramatischen Übergriffen der Silvesternacht in Köln, 2016
    • The Night that changed Germany: Background, Facts and Revelations about the Dramatic Attacks of New Year’s Eve in Cologne
  • Rainer Wendt, Deutschland In Gefahr: Wie ein schwacher Staat unsere Sicherheit aufs Spiel setzt, 2016
    • Germany in Danger: How a Weak State puts our Security at Risk
  • Rayk Anders, Eure Dummheit kotzt mich an: Wie Bullshit unser Land vergiftet, 2016
    • Your stupidity makes me sick: how bullshit is poisoning our country
  • Gabor Steingart, Weltbeben: Leben im Zeitalter der Überforderung, 2016
    • Global Tremor: Living in an age of Stress and Strain
  • Gabor Steingart, Deutschland. Der Abstieg eines Superstars, 2004
    • Germany. Descent of a Superstar
  • Roger Reyab, Der Asyl-Wahnsinn: Das klinische Helfersyndrom der Bundesdeutschen, 2015
    • Asylum Madness: The Clinical Helper Syndrome of the Germans
  • Stephan Hebel, Deutschland im Tiefschlaf: Wie wir unsere Zukunft verspielen, 2014
    • Germany in Torpor: How we are Squandering our Future
  • Stephan Hebel, Mutter Blamage: Warum die Nation Angela Merkel und ihre Politik nicht braucht, 2013
    • Mother Disgrace: Why the Nation does not need Angela Merkel and her Policies
  • Thomas Wieczorek, Die Dilettanten: Wie unfähig unsere Politiker wirklich sind, 2009
    • The Dilettantes: How Incompetent Our Politicians Really Are

France

  • Éric Zemmour, Le Suicide français, 2014
    • The French Suicide, a best-seller, with 510,000 copies sold by early 2017.
  • Michel Onfray, Décadence. De Jésus à Ben Laden. Vie et mort du judéo-christianisme, 2017
    • Decadence. From Jesus to bin Laden. The Life and Death of the Judeo-Christian Tradition.
    • Another best seller, with an initial print run of 120,000.
  • Georges Bensoussan (editor), Une France soumise – Les voix du refus, 2017
    • A Submissive France: Voices of Defiance
    • Blurb: [Bensoussan earlier book] “The Lost Territories of the Republic” denounced in 2004 the schools in the suburbs, which were eaten away by communitarianism, anti-Semitism and sexism. Now, they have become outright no-go areas of the Republic. Teachers, nurses, social workers, mayors, trainers and police testify to the impossibility of doing their job. Faced with daily violence, abandoned by their hierarchy, forgotten by politicians, these actors in public life are hostages to unacceptable blackmail. This new investigation by Georges Bensoussan reveals the reality and the stakes of this sectarianism which every day puts our democracy at a little more risk. Yesterday, police officers targeted by a gang with impunity, an assaulted maid, young teachers who give up the difficulty. And tomorrow?
  • Georges Bensoussan (editor), Les Territoires perdus de la République – antisémitisme, racisme et sexisme en milieu scolaire, 2002

    • The Lost Territories of the Republic – Anti-Semitism, Racism and Sexism in Schools
  • Nicolas Baverez, Chroniques du déni français, 2017
    • Chronicles of French Denial
  • Nicolas Baverez, Après le déluge: la grande crise de la mondialisation, 2009
    • After the Flood: The Great Crisis of Globalisation
  • Nicolas Baverez, La France qui tombe: un constat clinique du déclin français, 2003
    • France in Free Fall: A Clinical Observation of French Decline 
    • A best-seller.
  • Pascal Bruckner, Un racisme imaginaire. La Querelle de l’islamophobie, 2017
    • An Imaginary Racism. The Quarrel with Islamophobia
  • Gilles Kepel, La Fracture: Chroniques 2015-2016, 2016

    • The Fracture: Chronicles 2015-2016
  • Alain Finkielkraut, L’Identité Malheureuse, 2013

    • The Unhappy Identity
  • Philippe de Villiers, Le Moment est venu de dire ce que j’ai vu, 2015
    • The Time Has Come to Tell What I Have Seen
    • A No. 1 bestseller.
    • Blurb: France is bruised by terrorism. But there is something more serious: she is losing her identity. If we do nothing, according to Philippe de Villiers, the voice of the muezzin will drown out the sound of the bells of our terroirs.
      The author had access to much information that he divulges here so that the French know and realise the extreme gravity of the situation.
      Through a vertiginous perspective, he recalls how, since the 1980s, our country has been slowly but surely “Islamised”. Nothing has been done to respond to the waves of migration and the secret plan of Europe. Worse, this project of a “Eurislam,” revealed here in full, was encouraged by the French elites.
      We must reconnect with our country
  • David Thomson, Les Revenants. Ils étaient partis faire le jihad, ils sont de retour en France, 2016
    • The Returned. They had gone on jihad, now they are back in France
    • Not to be confused with the film The Revenant with Leonardo diCaprio, Les Revenants contains interviews with some 20 fighters for the Islamic State who have returned from “the caliphate.”
  • David Thomson, Les Français jihadistes, 2014

    • The French Jihadists.
  • Michel Houellebecq, Soumission, 7 January 2015.
    • Submission – a novel depicting France with a Muslim president in 2022.
    • Coincidentally published on the same day as the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris with an initial print run of 150,000 copies, Soumission quickly became Amazon’s No. 1 seller in France by early 2015 and an instant bestseller in Germany and Italy
  • Michel Houellebecq, Les Particules elementaires, 1998
    • The Elementary Particles – a novel rejection of the values of the 1960s generation, but highly popular among Gen X, it sold 300,000 copies.