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.