Spoiled brats whine ’bout how the evil idiotic public through evil democracy doesn’t give them what they, the supposedly superior elites, want, & while doing so prove exactly why the idiotic public shouldn’t listen to the e’en stupider elites.
Washington Post in particular had a stupid article on the issue, where they basically make fun o’ democracy by pointing out some random effects that could’ve had an effect on the results, but to which we have no evidence they do, & them simply stating that they don’t know why certain people supported a certain way. Maybe you could be actual journalists & ask somebody, dumbasses.
Indeed, e’en as someone rather skeptical o’ e’en referendums as instruments o’ democracy (see later), this article talking ’bout how people went to extreme depths to get to a polling station belies that idea that this was simply absentminded voting. Usually we criticize the vulgar masses for neglecting to vote. The only connection this article made to the “leave” side was that it characterized them as caring mo’–‘gain, without any evidence to back this up. E’en if that were the case, the fact that the other side didn’t e’en care that much could say something ’bout that side.
Meanwhile, “Ethicist” (read: person highly paid off heavily-tax-funded college for spewing mindless drivel) Jason Brennan was so riled up that he decided to write a whole book Against Democracy & decided to exploit Brexit as a way to whore his book to the mass media.
He claims that “[t]o have even a rudimentary sense of the pros and cons of Brexit, a person would need to possess tremendous social scientific knowledge. One would need to know about the economics and sociology of trade and immigration, the politics of centralized regulation, and the history of nationalist movements,” but that “there is no reason to think even a tenth of the UK’s population has a basic grasp of the social science needed to evaluate Brexit.”
Curiously, Brennan doesn’t bother to offer a slice o’ info, other than some anecdotal story ’bout dumb Britons Googling questions ’bout what the EU is–without any evidence that those same questions were posed by people who voted “no,” or were e’en people who voted @ all, or were e’en the majority. Possibly his lack o’ economic enlightenment on Brennan’s part is ’cause anyone who actually has read much economics knows how simpleminded it is ‘hind its pretty graphs & how much o’ an utter failure it has been @ predicting anything.
Indeed, London’s stocks have been growing, as e’en Krugman had to admit (while arguing that this will still have some disastrous consequences for some vague future). He then defends economists alarmist ’bout short-term consequences as essentially lying for the public’s good, since the public is apparently too dumb for subtle messages (so much for the enlightened elites guarding the public gainst their bad tendencies) for being well-intentioned, e’en if wrong.
Then we get this hilarious end, typical o’ Krugman:
Unfortunately, that sort of thing, aside from being inherently a bad practice, can all too easily backfire. Indeed, the rebound in British stocks, which are now above pre-Brexit levels, is already causing some backlash against conventional economists and their Chicken Little warnings.
Commenter ReaganAnd30YearsOfWrong gave the perfect response:
Krugman thinks economists still have credibility. Seriously.
But back to Brennan: he describes his point in the way most thorough scientists do: some clumsy metaphor ’bout a doctor who apparently knows nothing ’bout medicine & is basing his views on “prejudice” & “whishful thinking” putting a gun to your head & forcing you to use his treatment. That social sciences like economics & politics are significantly less certain than chemistry–hence why they’re called “soft sciences”–is apparently beyond this brilliant “ethicist.” He contrasts this with monarchy, which is apparently knowledgeable doctors doing such to serve their own interests (actually, that’s meritocracy; last time I checked, monarchs don’t have to pass civics tests to be born to the right family). He then offers some made-up “epistocracy” as a 3rd option–an option that he describes incredibly vaguely so that you have to buy his book to actually know what it is, which no one in their right mind would do. All he says is that it involves some reapportioning o’ voting power based on knowledge. Since what is & isn’t “knowledgeable” is ultimately decided by humans, that makes this a circular-logic affair–a brilliant basis for a political system (not surprising from a market thumper, since markets work the same way). Presumably, he implies that colleges–¡which produced such brilliant minds as Brennan, as well as Mankiw, George W. Bush, & pretty much every politician!–determine voting, which would make them electoral manipulators, if not outright oligarchs.
He then admits that he has no evidence that this system would be any better than “democracy” (it should be pointed out that Brennan makes an outright contradiction when he variously calls western societies “democratic” & “republican,” while, accurately, distinguishing these 2 concepts), &, in fact, has no evidence for anything. Essentially, this “ethicist” is just pissing into the wind (that must be the “horse-piss” Marx warned us ’bout).
He then concludes the article by complaining ’bout an unproven (a’least by him in this article) rise in “angry, resentful” “nationalist, xenophobic, & racist” movements that pad out their word count with redundant words, & claims that they are low-information voters, which he also provides no evidence for. He seems to imply that those who voted for Brexit are these stupid racist assholes–my own much mo’ concise term for what he said–without any evidence proving that Brexit voters were particularly racist or stupid–he only proved that some Britons became mo’ curious ’bout what the European Union was hours after voting, without any knowledge o’ what side those Britons preferred or whether these Britons e’en voted @ all, & without any evidence that these Britons were anywhere close to the majority.
Not included in this article is any serious look @ the reasons given for Brexit, though the internet, being the internet, is hardly free o’ it. For instance, Steve Keen @ that den o’ the resentful bigoted peasants, Forbes, offers some reasons–ironically, including the lack o’ democracy in the European Union. Brennan himself offers no economic insight on why Brexit might be bad; but considering he’s the writer o’ Markets without Limits, we can guess that he himself is a “low-information voter,” by his own definition, since not e’en the most raving market-thumper economist would e’er support such a thing.
But e’en the liberal critics o’ Brexit rarely talk ’bout the specifics o’ why Brexit would be so bad, other than that some o’ the people who support it happen to be racists, which is such an obvious ad hominem attack–‘specially for a college-educated “ethicist,” whom you’d s’pose would have a solid understanding o’ logic 101, which only shows how o’errated such “prestigious” colleges are when they turn out such dopes as Brennan. Rarely do they e’en discuss the questions o’ how democratic the European Union is or the way it limits deficit spending, or simply the fact that it has failed to improve Europe’s recessions & unemployment problems for almost a decade–&, in fact, has done worse than the US. This last criticism could be applied to economists in general, as well, although they could use the alibi that some governments ignore them, anyway.
Actually, sadly, the only coherent left-wing criticism o’ Brexit I heard was from a slap-dash website from anarchists (which, granted, still adhominems Brexit by pointing out people who supported it–ignoring that such corporate conspiracies as gay marriage have also been funded by rich people), wherein they point out that the assumption that austerity would’ve been prevented–or would be ended–by a lack o’ Britain involvement in the EU is foolish.
That’s a common problem I’ve seen ‘mong “free trade” supporters, & the fact that many o’ the people I’ve seen complain ’bout Brexit, such as Brennan, Krugman, & Noah Smith, ‘mong others, are big proponents o’ “free trade,” that may ‘splain this. “Free trade” pushers, in addition to applying an immensely propagandist & dishonest label (usually this is “free” for people with money, but quite restricting on governments to the behest o’ bigger organizations, like the EU itself, as well as usually involving stronger restrictions in terms o’ copyright), oft simply insult “free trade” skeptics rather than actually engage any o’ the ideas they present. I’m reminded o’ economist Charles Wheelan in Naked Economics–admittedly a book meant for the “dumb masses,” & thus dumbed down e’en further than Samuelson or Mankiw–essentially just criticizes skepticism o’ “free trade” as “they throw rocks @ windows,” in reference to the NAFTA protests in Seattle. Similarly, here, rather than engage critics o’ Brexit, they would rather depict them as the most vulgar o’ racists–e’en Steve Keen, who not only attacks racists in the linked article (which doesn’t mean much by itself), but also says he supports open immigration, while criticizing aspects that have nothing to do with race @ all. Which, in a sense, is simply a way for them to hypocritically demonstrate their prejudice gainst the average working class people–the depiction o’ them as resentful ignorant racists is an ol’ stereotype. But then, the major hypocrisy o’ western culture is the way it demonizes racism, but upholds rich supremacy, e’en though e’en economists admit they can’t prove that people who are poor did anything themselves to deserve it, & that one’s wealth is heavily influenced by aspects they can’t control, such as one’s wealth @ birth.
That’s the most mystifying part o’ so many o’ these laissy lib & economist “meritocrats” so critical o’ the “dumb masses”: these so-called “meritocrats” are usually dumber than the average person. That &, no different from Brennan’s monarchy doctor analogy, their true goal is to serve themselves, not the majority for whom they reveal they hold nothing but contempt.
To be fair, I thought The Atlantic’s article was rather balanced–as good a summary o’ the issues as you could probably do in such short space. They e’en mention what I think is a legitimate critique o’ referendums as a form o’ democracy: that narrowing questions to just “yes” or “no” still stifles & manipulates the public. (The Anarchist Writers page does the same, creating an odd situation in which moderate liberals & anarcho-socialists agree.)
I would actually say I have mixed views ’bout both the European Union & “free trade”–not the least o’ which being a less Orwellian name for the latter. For 1, one could point out that this “democracy” in regards to an international issue excludes others in the world, which is the ethical equivalent o’ a plot o’ private land within a country voting within itself to secede from its country so it doesn’t have to obey its laws. As The Anarchist Writers article points out, it’s simply the replacement o’ neoliberal superstitions with nationalist superstitions–& superstitions are still superstitions. Honestly, to call anything limited within a certain nationality “democracy” is as erroneous as calling voting ‘tween just a small elite “democracy”–it’s what we call “oligarchy.” The very definition o’ “democracy” is that it includes everyone; thus the only true “democracy” is international. Anyone who praises national democracy but criticizes oligarchy is simply a hypocrite, since they follow the same logic. & anyone who supports socialism–or a’least has skepticism toward income distribution–are just as hypocritical for assuming that the current distribution o’ nations is just simply due to historical tradition.
That said, forcing the public to not be superstitious–& I will agree that the masses can be superstitious–won’t fix anything, ‘specially since we can’t assure that the elite won’t be superstitious, as can be proven by their love for simplistic “economic” models. & that said, nor should one mindlessly support what the masses believe just ’cause they believe in it. That would be corrupt–a self-perpetuating circle o’ the masses following the masses simply ’cause the masses say so: a circle jerk.
But we already have the best solution that could already exist: democracy with freedom o’ speech. We let the majority decide & we try to urge & educate the majority as much as possible, without forcing gainst them.
But perhaps ‘stead o’ simply throwing ad hominem attacks @ skeptics & trying to crush public will when they dare to defy them, supporters could try to have a slight semblance o’ compromise & maybe such extreme rebukes gainst them wouldn’t happen.
But then ‘gain, the fact that the so-called experts refuse to be reasonable might just be evidence that having the public rely on them to help them is futile–‘specially when they think so li’l o’ the public. Quite the opposite, it shows that the public refusing to submit to the will o’ an elite that despises them so much is the smartest decision they could e’er make.