Saturday, 25 June 2016

For those complaining about people being still unhappy at the EU referendum result.



For those who are complaining about people being still unhappy at the result of the referendum.

The emergence of rampant anti-intellectualism probably worries me more deeply than anything else, when it comes down to it. There's always a level of it in society, of course, but now many people have been persuaded that it's somehow a righteous and noble way to go about making important decisions. A population will swallow almost anything if it is persuaded to act purely on knee-jerk emotion instead of stopping to think, or listen to advice from experts, or look at the evidence. It's what allows the utterly irrational to be become 'common sense' (the politics of 'yes but we all know' - the favourite debating tactic of Farage and Boris, funnily enough). That's why it has been such an important part of so many dictatorial takeovers (it's no accident that things like book burning and attacks on 'weak and subversive academics' are such a common early feature of extremist revolution). If people stop to listen and think, it's not at all hard for them to understand that 'foreign' people are actually just the same as us, for example, and that we can't really turn the clock back to the 1950s, and that the 1950s wasn't actually as great as some seem to think anyway.

If people only take a moment to look into it, they would, for example, have realised immediately that there was no '£350 million a week' to spend on the NHS (as the leave campaigners began to admit within hours of the result) - that the money didn't exist, and that it was an outright lie (even though it was painted on the side of a bus, posters, etc. - it was a shameless, barefaced lie). The only reason they got away with it was that they kept repeating it over and over so that it sunk in as 'yes but everyone knows', and kept telling people that listening to experts was a bad thing (and effectively that they were being both 'unpatriotic' and 'cowardly' if they didn't listen to the leave campaign, and the leave campaign alone). The leave campaign was entirely build on lies, but enough people were persuaded not to question them that it was able to succeed. Even the TV media, in it's attempts to remain 'balanced', failed to adequately call them out on such constantly repeated lies.

When people are persuaded that stopping and thinking and listening are a bad way to go about things, that's a really, really serious problem.

To illustrate it with a simple quote from a well known film, 'So that is how liberty dies...with thunderous applause'. That is how it always happens.

The people of the UK (well, about 52% of them, and that's enough to have a majority) have been sold nothing more than a series of lies. Normally a country like the UK, with a free press, decent education standards, etc., would wake up to that quite quickly (before it happens, in fact), but with the growth of the anti-intellectualism element there's a really good chance that not only will they not, but that they will be easily persuaded to blame 'foreigners' and 'subversive elements' for anything that might appear to change between the leave campaign promises and the reality that emerges.

These are very, very dark and dangerous times. I make no apologies whatsoever for still being very, very concerned about our future.


8 comments:

  1. Couldn't agree more, think you have hit the nail on the head. The result has left me depressed, I'm sad to lose what we had in the EU, I'm sad we will lose Scotland (and maybe NI) from the UK, I'm sad we face a tough economic decade, all entirely avoidable.

    Questions of how and why this happened will inevitably be asked and I think your article explains important factors. When I spoke to people they seemed to think all politicians were lying to them. In fact all of the warnings from remain campaigners have sadly proved to be pretty much spot on, where as the lies are now being uncovered on the leave side. Personally I listened to the experts and voted in. Why people would not listen to experts seems insane (Would you not listen to your GP).

    I wouldn't change my vote I believe it was right, even if the EU was not perfect. I want a tolerant, forward-thinking Great Britain not a little Britain.

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