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The Economic, Social and Class Privilege of the "Global Citizens"

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"Global Citizens" are made regardless of their pedigree. It matters not if they are born into affluence, self-made 'bootstrap pullers', or intellectual snobs. It is a really privileged notion to be able to consider one-self a "Global Citizen". Not everyone has the privileged opportunity.

The Global Citizen thinks that globalization means only nice places where they are privileged to lead luxurious lifestyles. Their world does not contain North Korea, Daesh, Nigeria or even Chad. They couldn't even find those places on the map. How nice to have the luxury of choice!

The Global Citizens look down their noses at the "plebs and proles": those they consider of a lower social, economic and intellectual status. The Global Citizens are the tutees of the lofty pedagogues of enlightenment.

The Global Citizen characterizes the 'plebs and proles' as flag waving jingoistic bigots that cling to their Bibles and their guns, and lack the Global Citizen's cosmopolitan sophistication (read: higher degree of privileged cultural 'appropriation and plundering') that makes the 'plebs and proles' a lower class of being; "those people" that shop at Wal-Mart and drive a Ford 150 truck with big tires.

The Global Citizens, by contrast, consider themselves of higher status and are suitably high-minded for having obtained an unearned exalted status. They shop online at the best websites, do Twitter and have lots of "Friends" just like them on Facebook.

The Global Citizens are correct enough in their rejection of narrow chauvinism and of explicitly crude racism, sexism, homophobia and nationalism; but they are far off the mark in their motivation for rejecting such.

Their 'politics of decency' as I call it, leads them to reject Donald Trump, David Duke, and the Republican Party (or here in the United Kingdom the UK Independence Party and the British National Party) on the grounds that such 'disorderly' types are really rather low and crass.

They say it is simply not 'good form' to be a bigot, we don't like 'those people' at our dinner parties and we wouldn't want 'one of them' giving a keynote speech at our private university. No true rocker or edgy sculptor would entertain having one of 'those people' about the place.

The elitists Global Citizen makes up a certain privileged section of the 'left', and certainly have their own pompous 'them-folkery' about them which they are rarely shy of indulging themselves in. They have no empathy for the 'plebs and proles' and those that smell offensive after a day's work.

All that said: empathy needs be selective, of course. That, I do not dispute. But in empathy, not all 'choices' are equal. To be able to empathize with some hateful people, and not with others, and without any apparent reason for recognizing a shared humanity with A and not with B, is potentially problematic. But this, perhaps, gives the conspicuously enlightened Global Citizen but little pause for reflection.

Strictly speaking, of course, one does not have to have had the experience of poverty, poor living conditions, racism, sexism, homophobia or nationalism in order to empathize with either the oppressor or the oppressed (and how often is it hard to tell who is who?). But to lack empathy when one has never experienced a particular situation, and to hold forth and condemn without considering the context, is hardly as innocent as it may appear to some.

None of this, of course, is to excuse hatred, bigotry or narrowness. In fact, one could argue that in many cases, one cannot even mitigate such hatred, let alone excuse it. And yet, for a mortal feasting on Ambrosia to highmindedly condemn mere mortals scrabbling over a few square inches of earth, or a muddy river lacking the crystalline virtue of paradise, is an attitude that can hardly be declared free of the stain and the taint of highly principled mediocrity.

All this being so, it seems, that the Global Citizen is a fundamentally 'classist' being! And also a 'classed' one. These supreme 'classifiers' thinks they are free and easy and not tied to any particularistic dogmatic vision. However, their contempt for the flag waving 'plebs and proles' of society is no less partisan and self-interested than the views of the far from fully representative segment of working class folk that support the reactionary right.

In other words, a mere reversal of hatred, bigotry or narrowness into a rootless globalist ethic of 'humanism' and 'cosmopolitanism' implies commitment to a false and counterfeit neutrality and impartiality that does nothing to oppose chauvinism. Indeed, it merely provides a more high-minded and noble rationale for egotism and the most pernicious manifestations of self-seeking egotism.

Indeed, the recent EU referendum on the Brexit is only one example in a long line of cases of the slick, chic and highly virtuous Global Citizen weaponizing their class privilege to reinforce the sense of their own superiority and greater merit vis-a-vis the great unwashed 'plebs and proles'.

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Jonathan Ferguson is a socio-economic liberal with strong libertarian leanings in some key issues.

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