Whatever benefits it has brought, aggressive globalisation has also dislocated industries, wrecked communities, and fostered social alienation. Large numbers of working-class, blue-collar, and rural voters (these categories overlap) feel abandoned, anxious, and economically insecure, even when they have, as individuals, held on to well-paid jobs. This offers fertile ground to political candidates who claim to be outsiders or anti-élitists. Right-wing populists exploit the situation with a rhetoric of scapegoating. They blame marginalised groups. Their language and their stated policies veer towards nativism, xenophobia, and assorted kinds of bigotry.
Jeff Sparrow’s Trigger Warnings: Political correctness and the rise of the right is published against this background. Sparrow is understandably concerned about right-wing populism, but he views the responses of left-wing and liberal thinkers as largely counterproductive. To some extent, if we follow his reasoning, well-intentioned left-liberal people have inadvertently helped the likes of Donald Trump.