“The much-maligned common man and common woman has an enormous hunger for brotherhood. They are ready for the twenty-third century now, and they are light-years ahead of their petty governments and their visionless leaders” – Gene Rodenberry (creator of Star Trek)
In his classic work ‘Rights of Man’, Thomas Paine defended the French Revolution against the challenges of former ally Edmund Burke (whose arguments were emblematic of conservatives in general), a figure who believed the French Revolution to be driven by the naive massess and their abstract ideals of liberty and equality, thus Burke openly denounced and indicted it. Burke believed that considerations of order and the maintaining of historical traditions should come above ideals and the wants of the massess at the time.
Paine believed in the enlightenment idea of rights being natural, and that if states didn’t vanguard them they deserved to be toppled and replaced with governments that did adhere to a egalitarian and total upholding of natural principles; Burke thought this was nonsense, and believed that social fabric (which at the time entailed hereditary government and other injustices) must be preserved (even if its basis was immoral) and not attempted to be radically disrupted and altered by ideologues and the masses they mobilise – people did not have a right to revolt, especially the lower classes. Society is a complex matrix to Burke, and individuals should never should see themselves as above it, rather they should see themselves as subjects of it and all it’s complex specifics. Specifics that to Burke were beyond philosophical scrutiny, and should only ever be scrutinised by intelligent officials and on terms of practicality.
This debate over the centuries has become a traditional dichotomy between the political left (whose views were broadly more in line with Paine’s) and right (whose views were broadly more in line with Burke). In Britain today this traditional dichotomy between left and right has been inverted, as now it’s mainly conservatives who are filling the Tom Paine role and defending the British Public’s revolutionary decision to put an end to our decades old membership of the EU for the sake of principles, and the mainstream left, is now filling the Burke role, belittling and attacking the allegedly ignorant public for Brexit, due to its practical effects and the fact it’s a rejection of an evolved institution. A rejection that revolves around ordinary people perceiving the EU to be in antithesis with a a natural ideal – self determination. Westphalian State Sovereignty being the expression of this ideal in the geopolitical sphere.
This role reversal only gets more surreal when now in this Brexit aftermath, people on the hard left suddenly care about fluctuations in the FSTE 100 AND FTSE 250 for the first and probably last time in their political lives, and feel that these slight fluctuations constitute an economic meltdown, and thus justifies them in their sanctimonious belittling of Brexit voters. One can only laugh at their hyperbolic cries of ongoing economic Armageddon, when you look at say August’s surging Purchasing Manager’s Index for the services sector. There are concerns to be had about the immediate economic effects of the brexit vote (i.e are credit rating downgrading and capital investment slowdown), however Remainers are jumping the gun at the moment, and should excersise caution with their until we start our fraught exit negotiations, that way the public will be able to take their criticism more seriously.
Their sneering attitude has lead them to fallaciously write off the majority of the British public as misled bigots, and old people in particular to just to be selfish idiots. The latter characterisation is particularly problematic as it makes the much needed discussion about pensioners getting too much from the state (i.e. the pension triple lock) which must be initiated by the young, now have a un-helpful and vindictive toxic undertone post Brexit.
I voted Remain in the end, but it seems painstakingly obvious to me that the Official Remain Campaign deserved to loose as all it discussed were the Bread and Circuses (i.e shorter cues in Airports), never truly addressing people’s fundamental concerns about sovereignty/self – determination (which immigration factors in to). At best Remain would respond to these concerns by saying “we’ll reform it”, but the British public was not to be fooled by that hollow and disingenuous response they’ve heard repeated ad nauseum over the last few decades, with little corresponding reforming action. Occasionally Remain would indulge in some soothsaying, but the British public are a resilient bunch when push comes to shove, and thus were not intimidated. The remain campaign’s arguments were understandably eaten up by the wishy washy cosmopolitan middle classes, but did little to move poorer folk. Yes the EU is really complex, but if those who argue for it can’t distill it down to core ideals, one shouldn’t be arguing for the EU. What made the Banks leave campaign so effective was the fact that it did distill (or simplify to use the pejorative term thrown about by remoaners), and its arguments were always tempered through this distillation that it made sure to constantly repeat.
Barrister Richard Gordon remarked that the leave campaign had committed “the constitutional equivalent of crimes against humanity“. Said statement oh so perfectly encapsulates the anti-democratic Burkean sentiment at the heart of the Remoaner outcry.