Monday, June 27, 2016

The Sore Loser British Elites

You might think that the biggest sore losers are the intellectuals who are bitterly clinging to their failed religion-- Communism. Not to be outdone, the British Remainders, those who lost the referendum on remaining within the warm comforting motherly arms of the European Union, are wailing uncontrollably about the stupidity of those who did not vote as they wished them to vote, who did not do as they were told.

Now that the British public has chosen to Leave the EU, because they refuse to allow their politics and policy be dictated by a bunch of unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, British elites have risen up as one and, in a great cry of anguish, denounced Leave voters as idiots and fools, people who should probably never have been allowed to vote in the first place.

It’s sore loser Heaven with the losers in the Remainder camp calling for a do-over, another vote. Because democratic elections are fine as long as the intellectually inferior masses vote the way the philosopher-kings want them to vote.

People voted for Brexit because the ruling classes had been ignoring them. Now, in a grand psychological reprisal the elites are striking out in fury against the ignorant masses. As Brendan O’Neill explains it in The Spectator, the losers are howling against democracy.

O’Neill describes the scene in Great Britain:

There’s a delicious irony to Remainers’ branding of Leave voters as confused individuals who have simply made a desperate howling noise, whose anti-EU vote was a ‘howl of anger’ (Tim Farron) or a ‘howl of frustration’ (JK Rowling). Which is that if anyone’s been howling in recent days, it’s them, the top dogs of the Remain campaign. They are howling against the demos; raging against the people; fuming about a system that allows even that portly bloke at the end of your street who never darkened the door of a university to have a say on important political matters. That system we call democracy.

All things considered, the intelligentsia has come up with a series of cogent explanations for why people ignored their best advice. To the great minds of Britain, those who voted to Leave the EU were misinformed idiots, victims of a confidence trick, abused by a motley band of demagogues, led by their emotions, not their reason.

O’Neill explains:

No sooner had an awe-inspiring 17.5m people rebelled against the advice of virtually every wing of the establishment and said screw-you to the EU than politicos were calling into question the legitimacy of their democratic cry. Apparently the people were ill-informed, manipulated, in thrall to populist demagoguery, and the thing they want, this unravelling of the EU, is simply too mad and disruptive a course of action to contemplate. So let’s overturn the wishes of this dumb demos.

All of which dramatizes the reasoning of the proles who voted against the best interest of the toffs.

So, certain members of the political class, joined by certain members of the media and the intellectual classes are trying to see how they can overturn the vote. If that is not possible, they want the government to ignore it altogether.

O’Neill continues:

So it is that David Lammy has howled against the ‘madness’ of the vote. We can ‘bring this nightmare to an end through a vote in Parliament’, he said. That nightmare he’s talking about is the people having their say, the throng making a choice. The UN Special Representative for International Migration, Peter Sutherland, has also openly called for the crushing of the people’s will. British voters were hoodwinked by a ‘distortion of facts’, he says — because we’re that stupid — and ‘somehow this result must be overturned’. UN officials condemn African or Asian dictators who ride roughshod over the will of their peoples, yet seek to foment the same in Britain.

Of course, the media has been piling on. As has the professoriat, in the person of a distinguished Harvard professor named Kenneth Rogoff:

Media commentary has dripped with contempt for the moronic people. ‘Some of the oldest and whitest people on the planet leapt at a chance to vote against the monsters in their heads’, howled a writer for Esquire. There’s much talk about the people being ‘manipulated’ by lies and misinformation, as if they’re lifeless putty in the hands of the likes of Farage. Some have gone so far as to twist the definition of democracy in an attempt to rubbish the people’s will. ‘The idea that somehow any decision reached anytime by majority rule is necessarily “democratic” is a perversion of the term’, says Harvard professor Kenneth Rogoff. Sometimes, democracy means making sure the people ‘avoid making uninformed decisions with catastrophic consequences’, he says. So it can be democratic to thwart the majority’s wishes if we think they’re stupid. And they have the gall to talk about manipulation.

Enough with democracy. Enough with listening to the voice of the people. At the least we are seeing in action the totalitarian yearnings of the ruling elites in England. It resembles the attitude of American intellectuals.

In passing, one is constrained to point out that, in America, those who are less intelligent and less educated vote Democratic all the time. Apparently, voting for Democrats allows you to think that you are of one mind with the smart people.

As for the overeducated youth of Britain, they are not occupying the City, the center of British banking, but are demonstrating and remonstrating against the ignorant masses who voted for Brexit.

O’Neill describes the scene:

Youthful activists are adding a thin veneer of radicalism to this howl against democracy by taking to the streets to call on MPs to refuse to make Brexit a reality. A ragtag bunch of pro-EU youths shouted outside parliament yesterday. More marches are planned. Let’s be honest about what these are: marches against the people; streams of largely middle-class activists demanding that the will of the ordinary be kept in check. No number of colourful placards or PC-sounding platitudes can disguise the nasty, reactionary nature of such gatherings.

Sad to say it but the sore-loser leftists have no real use for democracy. They will tolerate it if they get their way. Otherwise they will lash out in irrational fury against those who would dare defy their will.

They respect the will of the people if the will of the people echoes their views. Just as American universities have been shutting down free and open debate, the better to become indoctrination mills, the British intelligentsia has been doing the same.

Last Thursday’s vote has shown that their efforts have not been quite as effective as they think and that they have lost the confidence of the people. The British public has voted no confidence in them and they are incensed to feel unappreciated. How dare these people—many of whom are loyal Labour voters-- say that they have not been doing a good job.

For the icing on the cake, take the example of a British media intellectual named Philippe Legrain. Writing in the New York Times Legrain has taxed Leave voters with economic ignorance. He tells them, in the same threatening tone that Remainders have been using, that they will soon pay the price of their ignorance.

As it happens, Legrain himself, in his wisdom, has been a great proponent of unlimited immigration from North Africa and the Middle East. He is like Angela Merkel in a suit and tie.  How stupid do you have to be to think that that is a good idea?


Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: People voted for Brexit because the ruling classes had been ignoring them.

Actually 51.9% of people voted for Brexit, so what we have isn't "democracy" but something a little smaller called "Majority rule."

In fact there's a phrase called "Tyranny of the majority" that isn't just about "sore losers" but a pragmatic reality that 50.000001% are not always better informed and prudent than 49.99999%.

If 51% could cause Texas to secede from our union, you can be sure Texas would now be its own country. And perhaps Minnesota would have joined Canada.

I agree a "revote" is a wrong answer, the same wrong answer that produces "recall elections" that usually produce the same results as the original election if nothing has changed, but also we can consider that the referendum is more of a sign of discontent than certainty about a destination, so perhaps in the next 2 years, better ideas will come along that will allow the UK a final chance to stay.

I know, its unlikely, and no one likes limboland, and once the grain of sands started sliding toward "leave", its easier to follow that course with a strong leader who believes in it, and take what happens.

People have regret all the time. Regret by the minority side is expected. But there may also be future regret by the leaving side, when the EU starts setting up its own walls that make their choices smaller, whether pettiness or practicality of the EU needing to take care of its own now.

Anyway, next stop, referendum for Scotland's independence, right? The United Kingdom will soon be tested how united it really is.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Have the pro-EU Brits just move to EU... or Africa or the Middle East since that is what EU is turning into.

They don't have to stay in the UK is they prefer the EU or the World.

Funny that those who voted 'Leave' want to remain in Britain, whereas those who voted 'Remain' would do better to leave the UK.

Anonymous said...

Amazingly, the super-financial class and the so-called Left are agreed on Bremain.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @June 27, 2016 at 5:21 AM:

"Actually 51.9% of people voted for Brexit, so what we have isn't "democracy" but something a little smaller called "Majority rule.""

Ares, democracy IS majority rule.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

"In fact there's a phrase called "Tyranny of the majority" that isn't just about "sore losers" but a pragmatic reality that 50.000001% are not always better informed and prudent than 49.99999%."

So who's going to figure it out for them? You? You're the "better informed and prudent?" My, my you are arrogant!

Ares Olympus said...

IAC: Ares, democracy IS majority rule.

No, actually you don't need simple (50%) majority rule. You can have super-majority rule, like 60% for instance. So if today we need to 60% agree on a course of action and that is reached, we can also agree it'll take 60% tomorrow to completely change that course.

In contrast, if a direct democracy 50.0001% agree today to steer north, and tomorrow 50.0001% agree to steer south, if we have only one ship, we're not going to get very far, especially if every change of direction costs billions of dollars.

Of course the problem with super-majorities is when a threshold of people fail to agree to any single course of action, then the Titanic keeps sailing towards the iceberg. So that's when we need a bold captain to change course on her own wisdom, and submit herself to the courts for constitutionality complaints later when the imminent danger is avoided.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

A super-majority threshold is a rule, Ares. It's what we use to admit a state, impeach a president/judge, pass an Amendment to the Constitution or in the Senate invoking cloture. Those are the rules, and they're in place to ensure stability. These are constitutional rules, not democratic rules. Democracy is the rule of the majority.

A supermajority referendum is a rigged game, designed to maintain the status quo. I'm sure you think it's okay, supposing you like the status quo... ostensibly because you're smarter than everyone else. Maybe we should have supermajorities for tax increases. Democrats don't usually like that idea.

The reaction we're seeing to Brexit is the latest in elitist apoplexy. It is amusing to watch. Given the way the French and German leaders are reacting today (doubling down on EU-squared), I'd say the British made the right move... or at least the majority of them did.

So, once again, democracy is majority rule. If you want to put in some kind of constitutional limitation or process threshold that is requires more than 50%, that's a constitutional limit. But it's not pure democracy. A referendum is direct democracy. We don't have that at the national level in America because we are a constitutionally-limited federal republic. That's why we have structures like the Electiral College... thank God.

You said it wasn't democracy, but "something a little smaller." That's silly. It's still democracy. And majorities make democracy work. When there are arbitrary barriers or rules that prohibit change, produced and levied ad hoc, people get mad. You were never going to have a supermajority threshold for Brexit.

And the Scots are on their way out. They like being subsidized, and the EU represents deeper pockets I hope the Quebeqois want to leave Canada, too... good riddance. Maybe Vermont will secede, too.

Overreach by the Ruling Class may lead to the reinforcement or redefinition of the nation-state. This may lead to disintegration of polities into smaller states or regional authorities. I can see the United States breaking up in the next 20 years if this Ruling Class trend continues. People aren't going to put up with this incessant national, political and cultural transformation against their will. Courts are not democratic bodies, they are legal institutions, and they have grown far too powerful. If the Suoreme Court is to continue to be as powerful as it has become in the last 50-69 years -- as a Ruling Class rubber stamp -- the Justices should be elected. Or are the people too stupid to choose their own justices, Ares?

Ares Olympus said...

IAC: A supermajority referendum is a rigged game, designed to maintain the status quo. I'm sure you think it's okay, supposing you like the status quo... ostensibly because you're smarter than everyone else. Maybe we should have supermajorities for tax increases. Democrats don't usually like that idea.

It probably would be a good idea to require supermajorities for bonding bills. I talked to my state rep awhile back how the Vikings got their billion dollar stadium half paid by state money, and she said it was a war of attrition. You can say no to lobbyists 10 years in a row, but if they have one good year with 51% purple pride, taxpayers suddenly have 40 years of debt obligations, so people who are not even born yet will be paying for it.

But in general, anything that has multidecade consequences should be set to a higher standard than 50%+1 of direct democracy.

Status quo is a troublesome place, an unfair advantage, but its also about honoring past promises, and generating trust that people know what to expect in the future and don't have to worry about fickle majorities flip-flopping all the time.

Ideally for me, I believe in the right to make mistakes, and especially when nervous nellies tell you the sky will fall if you act progressive, different than the past, rather than conservative, and sticking to what you know works. But when mistakes are fatal and irreversible, myself, I'm on the conservative side.

Or if I think status quo is going to break anyway, then I'd like to start small and experiment with parallel systems that don't burn all the old bridges before I'm confident I'm ready to move forward.

But I understand the value of burning bridges too, at least symbolically, like when you have addictions, and you don't trust yourself to say no to the lure of your next fix. So you can accept you'll be more miserable for a while, and stay away from your enabling friends who don't understand.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares, what on earth is "irreversible" about Brexit? There is no such thing as a "bonding bill." The Congress could end Social Security tomorrow if the president would sign the bill. There is no "trust fund"... it's a pay-as-you-go program. No enactments on any Congress are binding upon the next. A bond is a promise to pay, but people always have the choice to default and not pay it back. You can't make anyone do anything.

You really are an interesting person. You believe what you believe 100%, yet question others' beliefs. That's not a open exchange, that's you trying to run the show. I am happy that Stuart deleted your comments today. They're pointless... it's like talking to a wall.

Ares Olympus said...

IAC: You believe what you believe 100%, yet question others' beliefs.

I'm agnostic, and I'm constantly questioning my best understanding of the world, so if you see otherwise, perhaps its because I try to select more concrete examples when I can, where I can have some idea whether I'm saying anything real.

IAC: Ares, what on earth is "irreversible" about Brexit?

Well, the resigning PM Cameron is saying "no revote" for one, but its true, maybe if no one wants to be PM under Brexit, perhaps the UK will never bother invoking article 50, and say "Just kidding!"

And assuming the UK does go through with leaving the EU on the 2 year schedule, you can be sure Europe isn't going to invite them back easily.

Is there any likely world where the US would invite back Texas to the union after an imagined secession? Everyone loves Texas, but most of us can be very happy for them to be their own country. And then the U.S. Supreme court wouldn't keep overriding them.

IAC: There is no such thing as a "bonding bill."
I was talking about the Minnesota Viking Stadium as an example of a long term public debt that has to be paid. And you're right people can default, as long as they're willing to abandon all future borrowing. Or maybe its like Trump's leverage - if you own the bank $500, its your problem. If you owe the bank 500 million, its the bank's problem?

IAC: The Congress could end Social Security tomorrow if the president would sign the bill. There is no "trust fund"... it's a pay-as-you-go program.

I agree there's no "trust fund", although there are promises made to future retirees, expressed in estimates for your benefits if you retire at a specific age, and assuming a projection of your future income.

If we ended SS in 2030 when the imaginary surplus is empty, certainly something would have to replace it, given the vast needs it is providing. Although its Medicare that is the real dragon.

More likely than ending SS, its future comes down to not overpromising, so myself, I'd support chained CPI for cost of living adjustments to slow down the growth of payments over time, which seems sensible with an unknowable future. Obama supported it to the anger of his own party and got rare support Republican leaders.
Who likes chained CPI?

Republicans do. Even as GOP leaders slammed Obama's budget as a whole Wednesday, they found room to offer some praise for his approach to entitlements, which includes Social Security.

"The President seems prepared to finally concede this time that at least something needs to be done to save entitlements from their inevitable slide toward bankruptcy," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Obama "does deserve some credit for some incremental entitlement reforms that he has outlined in his budget."

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares, if you emerge from your burrow and see your shadow, what happens? Do we get a vacation from your nonsense for six weeks?