Woke Capitalism and the Power of Ideas
Connor Court Quarterly 16
Paperback, 100 pages, $22.95
September 2023 Release
From Rousseau to the World Economic Forum: Woke Capitalism and the Power of Ideas
The Voice – Beware the Shiny Bauble
Since the political emergence of Donald Trump and the successful
referendum in the United Kingdom on leaving the European Union, there
has been a focus on the deep-seated divisions within Western societies.
The first sign of this phenomenon occurred in Australia in 1999 with
the referendum on a republic. The results could not be explained in
terms of party allegiance or ideological terms such as Left or Right.
Rather the best explanation is postcodes - the majority of voters in
the inner, metropolitan suburbs voted yes and the majority of voters in
the outer, metropolitan suburbs and the regional areas voted no.
It appears that similar analyses could be undertaken elsewhere. Wall
Street, Silicon Valley and the northern parts of the east and west
coasts oppose Mr. Trump with venom. His support is in the South and
A similar intensity of feeling recently has manifested itself with
respect to Nigel Farage, to whom ‘The City’ attributes responsibility
for the Brexit result. Again, Brexit was a case of City’s supporting the
European Union and London’s outer suburbs and cities such as Birmingham
and Manchester opposing it.
Support for Marine Le Pen now has spread, but for many years it was centred in the north of France. And so it goes on.
The influence of the élites and their born-to-dictate mindset is now
in our faces. This reinforces the depth of the gulf between the élites
and to use Hiliary Clinton’s famous term ‘the deplorables’.
Society is being forced to accept what were not-so-long-ago radical
ideas as normal and sensitive: gay marriage; transsexual people are
entitled to play women’s sport at an élite level and use women’s
bathrooms; there are more than 70 genders; teenagers ought to be able to
change their sex if they feel like it; humans are destroying the earth
which will cease to exist as we know it unless we take drastic action
These developments also provoke thought about whether the élites have
re-emerged, never really gone away, or changed. Is the gulf between the
élites and the masses wider than it used to be? After all, universal
adult suffrage was supposed to deliver an egalitarian society.
Rick Brown seeks to grapple not only with what is happening but also why and how we got to where we are? He thinks that political parties are not the explanation for what is
happening and are not the primary vehicle through which these challenges
can be addressed.
Rather he is attracted to John Meynard Keynes observation that ‘the
power of vested interest is vastly exaggerated when compared with the
gradual encroachment of ideas’, Brown’s prisms are the foundations of
the ideas which drive society today, the transmission of those ideas and
the rise of the current attitudes of the élites towards ‘the
His analysis is based on the proposition that what we are seeing now
did not happen overnight and so in part, his essay is a history of the
modern evolution of ideas and their transmission.
His story about the foundations of the ideas that drive the cultures
of the inner metropolitan suburbs and outer suburbs takes us back more
than 200 years to John Jacques Rousseau, who the late Sir Roger Scruton
described as ‘the first and greatest of the liberal reformers whose
impact on modern culture and modern politics has been equalled by no
other thinker of the Enlightenment’. It also involves a M. Rousseau
contemporary Edmund Burke, the founder of conservatism.
The transmission of these ideas he credits to the creator of cultural
hegemony and Communist theoretician Antonio Gramsci, whose ideas and
strategy have been sloganised as ‘the long march through the
He also focuses on the dictatorial mindset of today’s élites which is
different from their recent predecessors and turns to the attitudes of
America’s founders who set out to prevent the creation of a fully
democratic society and, at one level, to retain real power in the hands
of their class.
To complete the picture, he turns a spotlight on Klaus Schwab, the
owner of the World Economic Forum, who has persuaded the global business
élite to impose management ‘dictatorship’ through a concept called
Robbie Katter is a third consecutive generation politician. If, as
expected, he is re-elected next year, a Katter will have represented a
part of North Queensland for 60 consecutive years. During all that time,
the Katters have been vocal and active supporters of Aboriginal people
and their advancement. Robbie’s grandfather ended segregation in
Cloncurry in the 1960s.
Robbie opposes ‘The Voice’. His essay is a case of the issues
canvassed in Rick Brown’s essay: people in the inner metropolitan
suburbs in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, including middle-class
Aboriginals, pontificating about the best interests of Aboriginals in
regional and rural Australia.
He argues that if the ‘The Voice’ were passed it would not improve
the circumstances, opportunities or lifestyles of the Aboriginals with
whom he interacts on a daily basis. In fact, he said he could be
counter-productive because passing the referendum could provide people
with an excuse to say that they had fixed the Aboriginal issues and move
on to the next cause.
He also highlights the hypocrisy of politicians who support The
Voice, but oppose concrete, practical measures which could provide them
with opportunities and improve their lives.
Rick Brown’s essay is confronting and challenging. However, there is
good news. This year there are signs of green shoots of resistance
through consumers applying their power and via élite sports players in
the USA, people power in Europe, and most recently, the extraordinary
Just as the fact that there are people like Robbie Katter at the coalface gives cause for hope.