Davos Man

It has been asked, “Why are Davos elites always wrong?” and it’s a fair question. Last year at Davos, nobody expected Great Britain to leave the European Union or for Donald Trump to become president, and yet they both did. The primary reason that the Davos attendees always get everything wrong is that their intellectual project is normative rather than positive—that is, it’s based on “the way things should be” rather than “the way things are,” which is required for accurate prediction.

The globalist intellectual predisposition of Davos was captured by the term, “Davos Man,” which was coined by Harvard political scientist Samuel P. Huntington. He described Davos attendees as “transnationals” who hold three core beliefs. First, they see very little need for national loyalty; second, they view national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing; and third, they see national governments as residues from the past whose only useful function is to facilitate the elite’s global operations. What results is a perspective that views nationalism not as part of the natural order but as something harmful to be overcome, a vestigial remain of a less sophisticated era. However, if the twentieth century has taught us anything, it’s that large-scale social change projects undertaken based on utopian visions and inadequate understanding of the social systems inevitably end in disaster. The Soviet Union is perhaps the largest example, but the social policy of Detroit, the replacement of Penn Station with Madison Square Garden, and the destruction of Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow all provide similar examples. In the twenty-first century, the recent devastation of Venezuela provides an instructive case as well as the ongoing disasters of Stockholm, London, Paris, and Cologne due to excessive Muslim immigration. There is doubtless considerable social capital captured in nationalism, capital that underlies and makes possible the Davos meeting itself. However it appears that the grandees in attendance, the Davos People, are scarcely aware of what makes their attendance possible, so busy are they listening to themselves talk and congratulating themselves for being there.

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