"As the sociologist Manuel Castells generalized, “Elites are cosmopolitan, people are local.” People with university values favor intermingling. People with neighborhood values favor assimilation.
What’s made the clashes so poisonous is that many members of the educated class don’t even recognize that they are facing a rival philosophy. Many of them assume that anybody who disagrees with them on immigration and such must be driven by racism, insecurity or some primitive atavism. This smug attitude sends members of the communal, nationalistic side into fits of alienation and prickly defensiveness. It’s what makes many of them, in turn, so unpleasant.
The bottom line is that the immigration debate is part of a newer culture war that has succeeded the familiar and fading culture war. This longer culture war is not within the educated class. It’s not the ’60s versus the ’80s. It’s — to mimic Mark Lilla — between the people who have absorbed both the ’60s and the ’80s, and everyone else.
It’s between open, individualistic cosmopolitans and rooted nationalists. It’s between those who ride the tides of the cultural mainstream and those so driven by marginalization that they’re destroying the best compromise they will get."