Chardonnay socialist

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Chardonnay socialist is a derogatory Australasian term used to describe those on the political left with comfortable middle-class (or better) incomes, tertiary education, and a taste for the finer things in life. (Chardonnay is a style of white wine.)

It is similar in thrust to the North American term limousine liberal, though without quite the same taint of great wealth attaching to it.[citation needed] The term was modelled on the British term: Champagne socialist.[1] When the term was coined around 1989,[1][2] Chardonnay was seen as a drink of affluent people.[3] It became a popular drink during the next decade[3] and hence the term has lost some of its sting.

The term "chardonnay socialist" is regularly used by people from throughout the political spectrum to criticise opponents. For example, Australian left-wing "true believers" levelled it at supporters of the failed republic referendum of 1999 (where the vote was split not along conventional party lines but very much along socio-economic divides, with the rich overwhelmingly supporting the change while the less well-off were opposed – a superficially bizarre pattern for a non-economic issue). Staunch Australian right-wingers, on the other hand, level it at those who support such things as government funding for the arts, free tertiary education, and the ABC – all causes which are described by critics as "middle-class welfare".

The ad hominem argument was particularly used by the Howard Government against members of the Australian Labor Party.[4]

The older term for this or a similar kind of person was "salon communist."

Other similar terms are the "chattering classes" (coined in England in the 1980s) and "latte liberal".[5]

See also


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