There’s nothing more self-deceiving and underhanded than a believer masquerading as a skeptic. Skeptics always tell us the flaws of a position, but rarely the strengths of their own. Their finger is forever pointed outwards and never inwards. But in a skeptic we want to know what they do believe. Before arguing, we want to know what we need not argue about.
“They didn’t know what it would mean by voting to leave”
“I think it is absolutely fair to say that most people did not
realise that the Brexit vote would trigger the chain of events that [has]
happened so far”
“Populations with lower qualifications were significantly more
likely to vote Leave”
“Brexit means stupid – so who voted for this?”
“They voted to TAKE BACK CONTROL. They did not vote for no-deal and its implications”
What we observe about the discussion generally is that people do not know how to begin to think. Take the media headlines above. The conversation starts at the end of every controversy and those involved seem to know little about where it began or what it is all about. They just know how they feel about it. They state beliefs as facts, from whence all dogma seeds, then work their way backwards. All their arguments start with an assumption; that is, with something that they do not doubt. And the biggest assumption of all seems to be their intellectual and moral superiority over those they disagree with.
Almost the entire discourse is being shaped by the Brexit skeptics, who allow themselves to sit with dignity while asking those who voted Leave to dance the Fandango. Explain yourselves…you didn’t understand what you voted for, did you?! “The Leave vote didn’t understand the implications of a no-deal Brexit! And they certainly didn’t vote for a no-deal Brexit!”
This flavour of arguments is false for several reasons. Firstly,
because it is caddish. It’s like telling women to know their place and to make
way for the men. The Remainers know best and the Brexiters, don’t. And that’s
all there is to be said about it.
Here, everything that is said against the Leave vote can be equally applied to the Remain side of the coin; but is conspicuous by its absence. With that in mind, I say arise Remainers and kick those feet. I bet most didn’t understand the implications of voting Remain and ceding even more power to an already bloated bureaucracy. I bet they couldn’t give me a meaningful critique on Friedrich Hayek’s, ‘The Road to Serfdom’. Oh, and yes, could they tell me please about the composition of the Council of Ministers, about the measures and updated terms in the Treaty of Lisbon and the political background of Federica Mogherini?
“But more people on the Leave side were uninformed!”
This, of course, is irrelevant, even if it were true. There’s an
underlying assumption that the more you discover uneducated Brexit voters the
more you have diminished the credit of Brexit itself. But this argument says
nothing about Truth, nor what’s the best course for the British people. And
more importantly, it has nothing to do with what is a clear democratic mandate.
It’s the classic argument from authority – or lack of authority, in this
instance. There’s been a biblical deluge of logical fallacies in this sorry
affair. Of course there has.
The inference to be made from this stampede is not that Remainers believe most British people to be stupid, that’s obvious; it’s that they believe themselves to not be stupid. Yet they dishonestly hide their pro-EU sentiments behind a curtain of Brexit skepticism, without ever taking the stage in their own right. They’re like schoolchildren who unfavourably mark their rivals’ exam papers without ever sitting for it themselves.
Less of an assault on those who voted leave, because opinions can
change; rather, this invidious discourse has been a savage attack on democratic
rule itself, which I suppose is quite apposite all considered.
of democracy is very simple, or at least it should be. It’s that citizens
should be given an equal choice over their collective futures; where welfare is the social object, and
normally will is the social law. Take the example of a plane crash in which 20 people are
left stranded in the wilderness. Who would rule? Could the strongest and
cleverest rule without the other 19 submitting to his/her authority? If their talents are used for the
community, then they are the servant of the community. And the community is
sovereign. If their talents are used against the community, why should the
community submit to them?
In such a simple example we can see the benefit of rule by popular consent. We also see that there’s clearly a direct relationship between the freedom of choice and results. The problem is that the directness of this approach has been corrupted in a society which is infinitely complex; in a system where nothing is straightforward; where all paths are meandering even when they are meant to be straight. The fault, therefore, isn’t with the concept of democracy per se, it’s that anti-democratic things have hidden themselves within this complexity and seek to thwart and undermine it by ingeniously presenting its own self-interest to be in the democratic interest of all.
Of course, in a system that calls itself a democracy, anti-democratic elements will only be tolerable if they mask a substantial part of themselves. It’s rather like the Carnival of Venice where masks give wearers free licence to do as they please. Occasionally, however, the mask slips, and we see the true face of power in all its ugliness; we may even see the identity of those who are committing debauched acts. And in recent times, nowhere has the Carnival’s spotlight been shone more than on Parliament’s handling of the Brexit referendum.
A referendum is perhaps the purest form of this direct method of governance, so it is perhaps unsurprising that in this most indirect of systems there’s been a failure to fit the most direct of all ideas. But the clash isn’t necessarily between simplicity and complexity, it’s between sincerity and insincerity. And the battleground, as ever, is the economy. It seems the main contention to upholding the result of the referendum is that it “would be bad for the economy”, while a no-deal Brexit “would be catastrophic for the economy”.
One MP who is a loyal slave to the economy is Hilary Benn, who has motioned the Benn Bill, which essentially aims to block a no-deal Brexit. This hastily written bill has been passed by Parliament. The official position of Labour, the opposition party of which Benn is a mutinous member, is to renegotiate a “good deal”, then put that before the public in a second referendum in a binary proposition with remain. Labour first said that they will then campaign for remain because it would be “better for jobs and economic security”. Now, after attracting a considerable amount of public ridicule for this stance, they say that they will be “neutral” in that scenario. Yes, really.
To my knowledge the media hasn’t seriously analysed
this prevention of the possibility of a no-deal. Lamely repeating ad nauseam
that “no-deal would be catastrophic for this country”. Nor has it adequately
analysed the very deliberate attempt to thwart the result of a popular vote, as
we see inferred by Labour’s official Brexit policy. It merely wheels out
cherry-picked expert after cherry-picked expert with dire economic forecasts;
talking point after talking point that roll off the tongue like a Bishop reading the liturgy
from a holy book.
Media talking points fall upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the details and obscuring features. It’s a gentle process that accumulates over time, for if the storm was more violent, it would be more visible. But because a small clearing in the wood can be worth more to us than whole forests of mere entanglement, let’s point out the obvious. To block the possibility of a no-deal Brexit is to block Brexit itself. Because all the EU needs to do to keep the UK in the union is to offer terrible deals making remain the only viable option. At the very least, the prospect of securing a deal advantageous to remaining will be successfully negated.
The Bill therefore can be rightly described as a “Surrender Act”. Because a very rudimentary understanding of the concept of bartering is clearly missing from Hilary Benn’s motion. Rather, it’s designed to immure the pro-Brexit Government in paralysis. And attempts to prevent a snap election merely deepen that paralysis. Such disingenuous prevarication has marked parliament’s stance on this issue. In what is a very clear circumvention of a democratic vote, the largest mandate in British electoral history.
To be, on the face of it, so ignorant of basic trading principles makes one a little sceptical of the judgement of those who are keen to invoke trade as a good reason to suspend the democratic will of the people. If, as I suspect, parliament is not ignorant of trading principles and has cynically passed the bill to thwart the result it, in turn, makes one cynical of their concerns. Which seem to centre around short-term economic problems and not long-term predictions. Indeed, decisions grounded in the short-term tend to fail in the long-term. But regardless, even if they were sincere and their concerns justified, it is quite immaterial to the question at hand.
Surrendering everything to trade and commerce is not
democracy. Capitalism is not democracy; and is admittedly, at various
gradations, rather against democracy. Did it not occur to the purveyors of
sound economic planning that the vote could have been about culture and
identity, and not the God of GDP? In fact, inherent in the very notion of
voting is the suggestion – and what so many journalists seem so eager to forget
– that the country and its economy is the servant of the people and not that the
people are servants of the country and its economy.
If parliament refuses to uphold a democratic vote it
ceases to be credible. Actions signify more than words. You can’t speak the
words of democracy while walking the walk of dictatorship. Because
it is simply not tenable that the result that failed is the same as the
realities that did succeed.
In George Orwell’s seminal dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four,
children are depicted as being a key tool in the control of civilians by a
totalitarian state. In the novel they are ideologically trained by the ruling Party and come to adore its rituals and the processions; they proudly
wave banners, preach Party orthodoxy, and fiercely chant slogans and songs,
seeing it all as a “glorious game”. Their malleable minds were shaped before
drying into cement, the training inculcating a ferocity which was “like the
gambolling of tiger cubs which will soon grow up into man-eaters”.
Nineteen Eighty-Four was published in 1948. But, by that point, the ideological targeting of children had long been a staple of population control. Certainly, a staple of aggressive political authority. Something which undeniably took place during the Nazi regime in Germany. In his speech at the annual Nazi Party rally in 1935, Hitler declared: “He alone who owns the youth gains the future”.
Nazis put tremendous effort into indoctrinating children. One of its principal outlets
was the Hitler Youth, an organisation which was inaugurated in 1922 (Hitler-Jugend, Bund Deutscher Arbeiterjugend “Hitler
Youth, League of German Worker Youth”). The
Hitler Youth constituted the single most
successful mass movement of the Third Reich. Children were removed from
their parents and obliged
to participate in National Socialist rituals and drills and military training,
leading to doctrinal lessons. The sole purpose of which was to instil children with
In 1939 Hitler Youth was made mandatory, but by the mid-30s it had
a monopoly on all youth sports facilities in Germany,
effectively locking out non-members. Furthermore, before it was made compulsory, pursuing higher
education or getting an apprenticeship was contingent on membership, and parents
were regularly coerced into getting their children to enlist in state programs.
The children themselves, had they not been members, were asked in school to
write essays about “why I’m not a member of Hitler-Jugend”.
When children weren’t in school or at Hitler Youth they were faced
with continual Nazi propaganda, from the media and popular culture generally, which
centred around the existential threat to the German people from the purported
infiltrators and saboteurs, namely the communists and Jews. The news was awash
with this grand doomsday narrative, cynically spun to manipulate the minds of young
As strong as it may sound, the recent ‘Climate Strike’ protests reminded me a little of Hitler Youth in its exploitation and ideological targeting of impressionable children. Climate Strike’s face was “climate activist” Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old girl from Sweden. And its foot soldiers were comprised of millions of truant children across the world who took to the streets with placards and banners to demand that world leaders take swift action to avert an “impending environmental catastrophe”. The numbers of anxious and spirited adolescents were helped, I’m sure, by the fact that the protests were staged on a Friday, with many teachers the world over encouraging their students to skip class.
Naturally, the mass media were falling over themselves to
cheerlead for the millions of truant children. They praised them for their
moral fortitude in leading the movement to save the planet. But they were of
course lying. Like all political movements, Climate Strike was set up by
cynical adults, who merely enlisted the support of the youngsters by
propounding a message customized for their digestion.
Similarly, in Nazi Germany young Germans were incessantly praised
by the media for their contribution towards defending the Fatherland from the
invaders. The Nationalist Socialist message also had a black-and-white doomsday
appeal, only this time it was the existential threat posed to the Aryan race by
state enemies, and not the existential threat of the economic system on climate
In Nazi Germany, firstly debate was discouraged; then dissenters were silenced; finally, all those opposed to the objectives of National Socialism were imprisoned and transported to the concentration camps in the east. Detractors of official orthodoxy on climate change, on the other hand, are widely given the label “climate denier”, which is suggestive of fruit loopery and conspiracy theories. It’s also redolent, dare I say, of “Holocaust denier”. And Greta Thunberg’s mother, Malena Ernman, even equated the two in her book, ‘Scenes from the Heart’.
The term’s use is clearly designed to suppress debate and shame those with heterodoxical views, or those who just want to probe the matter for themselves. Accordingly, there’s little to no debate about “the science” in mainstream circles, wild claims are merely repeated alongside wild forecasts. In fact, it’s quite remarkable that there’s been so much talk about “the science”, with so little talk about the actual science itself. It’s hardly in keeping with the enlightenment spirit. And more in keeping with a cultish allegiance to authority and dogma.
After the protests, Greta Thunberg was granted an audience at the UN and gave an impassioned speech about the crisis, scolding world leaders about their inaction in tackling what was a “mass extinction” and that “people are dying” and “entire ecosystems are collapsing”. She received an ovation for her moving performance, which was bereft of one single piece of salient data. Greta merely pleading that we should “listen to the scientists”. Which scientists she did not specify; presumably not the 31,000 scientists who have signed a petition declaring the ‘official’ scientific position to be politicised and unscientific.
Greta stated at the beginning of her speech that “she shouldn’t
be here” and that she “should be in school on the other side of the
ocean”. Precisely, Greta. Since when are world leaders taking their advice
from schoolchildren, and why was this one in particular given a world platform
to speak on this issue? I tentatively suggest that she was given this platform because
what she had to say was exactly what the globalist elite and the UN wanted to
hear; more importantly, what they wanted YOU to hear. She also has extremely
“You’re stealing our futures….we will never forgive you” was Greta’s powerful refrain midway through her speech. She spoke about losing her childhood and losing her dreams, like so many children across the world, as a result of the decisions made by older generations. This thread, pitting credulous children against so-called cynical adults, who have “fantasies of eternal economic growth”, I have to say, is most sinister. It has all the hallmarks of Orwell’s dystopian vision, in which a brutal regime was depicted as making every effort to systematically undermine the family unit, while calling its leader “Big Brother”, which was a tacit appeal to the sentiment of family loyalty. Essentially, Orwell vividly described the very effective obtrusion of the regime within the confines of the home.
In Orwell’s work the dictatorship went further and was even able
to use children as spies and informants to ensnare parents who were not loyal
to the regime. This is how Orwell describes it:
“It was almost normal for people over thirty
to be frightened of their own children. And with good reason, for hardly a week
passed in which The Times did not carry a paragraph describing how some
eavesdropping little sneak — ’child hero’ was the phrase generally used — had
overheard some compromising remark and denounced its parents to the Thought
A political attempt to place a wedge between children and adults
on this matter is disgraceful and intentionally divisive; and it is an
unsettling development. But it was in keeping with Al Gore’s remark in an
interview with a Swedish outlet several years ago where he claimed that climate
change wasn’t a political issue, but a “moral one”; that we “owe it
to the children and their children” to act decisively on this matter. In
this 30-minute interview Mr Gore didn’t provide any data that could be
independently verified. A recurring theme. The predictions he made in the 2006 film
“An Inconvenient Truth” have of course been proven to be spurious. But the
environmentalists continue to make wild claims, only this time they do so with
mentally atypical children as their face and not ex-politician hucksters.
Perhaps it could be considered discourteous to raise Greta’s well publicised Asperger’s syndrome and various other conditions, but I think it’s germane. You must be allowed to criticise ideas. When they’re protected from scrutiny by an artificial blanket you have a problem. Commentators have already fallen prey to political correctness. One example is Michael Knowles, a guest on Fox News. He said:
“….the climate hysteria movement is not about science. If it were
about science, it would be led by scientists rather than by politicians and a
mentally ill Swedish child who is being exploited by her parents and by the
On the same segment the other guest, progressivist Christopher
Hahn interrupted Knowles, saying “Shame on you…..You’re a grown man and
you’re attacking a child. Shame on you”.
Fox News later made a public apology to Greta Thunberg, adding that Mr Knowles won’t be invited on as a guest in the future.
Children with disabilities are – rightly so – immune to criticism,
even when they’re advocating radical politics. Sceptics are being forced to
tread carefully in what is another clear example of an attempt to shut down
debate. Environmentalists are rather like bank robbers who, on their getaway,
are using human shields to deter hostile fire. And what better human shield
than a mentally atypical child? As for her condition, from what I understand it
can bring about an obsessiveness undocked from the marina of perspective. But
16-year-olds lack perspective generally, in my experience. Especially when they’re
bereft of credentials, don’t cite data and work themselves up into a frenzy
reading somebody else’s words.
I think Michael Knowles was largely correct in his surmise. If
there was genuinely an existential crisis a young girl would not be the face of
If there was genuinely an existential crisis the science would be
open to refutation, because that, after all, is what science is.
Unfalsifiability is not a strength, it’s a weakness. When current data isn’t
provided, and debate is either discouraged or suppressed, the science ceases to
be credible; rather, it veers into dogma.
If there was genuinely an existential crisis the campaigning would
not be exclusively confined to a western audience but would be focused on China
and India who are by far the worst culprits of greenhouse gas emissions.
If there was genuinely an existential crisis which was based on
grounded science, proponents would not be seeking to stimulate the audience’s
emotions, but the intellect. Because targeting emotions, with the most powerful
being fear, is precisely what the PR industry does, ad nauseum, on the back of
the astonishing achievements of their pioneers, propagandists like Edward
Bernays, Ivy Lee and, dare I say, Joseph Goebbels?
Greta has hitherto been great PR and has proven effective at mobilising a younger audience. Pushing children to the front of a movement makes for great imagery. And pulls at the heart strings. But to target them with rhetoric replete with pathos and deplete of logos, indoctrinating them in schools, which is reinforced by the ubiquity of the message in the media and popular culture, prophesising cultish doomsday scenarios divorced from balanced judgement and transparent certifiable data, and pitting them against adults, while stroking their egos, is redolent of totalitarian regimes which exploited children for political control. And the movement is being fronted by a pigtailed 16-year-old girl from Sweden.
I’m increasingly finding myself being sucked into the murky world of politics, where subjects so reliably produce a kind of hysteria it’s like everything is covered in plutonium. It almost seems foolish to add my voice to this largely unedifying din. Do we really need one more hand nurturing a cultural Marxist monster which feeds on division and conflict? I’ve answered that in the positive, or the negative, conditional on the tint of glass each of us sees the world through. I’ve resolved to speak and write openly and respectfully about truth, reason and justice, simply because it seems incumbent on the little people to shoulder that burden, such is the duplicity of the forces above us. Though we can forget about politics and those who wield the sceptre of power, that doesn’t mean power and its agents – some known to us and some not – will forget about us.
The world is a complex and confusing place. Like many of us, I’m really quite lost in it all, so I’m trying to figure it out as I go. On these pages together we will try to unlock the vaults of truth and hidden meaning; to illuminate darkness with understanding, like light seen for an instant through the cracks of a closed door.