A Cry Against Anti Intellectualism.

Toffs and Toughs - The photo that illustrates the class divide in pre-war Britain, 1937

July 9th, 1937 ‘Toffs and Toughs’ Harrow School Boys beside local working class (credit: Rare Historical Photos)

I live in a house divided. But that house is an entire incredulous country. Outside of London there are no hordes of rampaging leavers, or glorified celebration parties. Instead there is only fear, quiet terror and disbelief – on all sides. Those who we think should be celebrating instead woke to the news that the pound had dropped lower than in living memory, that Scotland seeks a second referendum which will see it leave the United Kingdom, and that the promise to end freedom of movement and immigration was a lie. We live in a country of ruins, shattered by an elite political class that sought to undermine and stigmatise education, encourage division, and vilify external forces for internal problems. It was a simple game of smoke and mirrors, a magic trick carried out with hypnotic effect. But do you know the one thing all magicians will tell you to be true?

Magic is a con.

And that’s what this entire referendum has been from start to finish, one giant, unstoppable con. False facts were not soundly quashed, campaigns of hate and fear ran unchecked, resulting in the horrifying murder of a passionate and respected MP. The man charged with the death of Jo Cox, who was campaigning for the Remain vote, reportedly engaged with Far Right literature and organisations. A person like this is a prime target to be radicalised and incited by the language and images coming directly from the Leave campaign, that drew direct and clear comparisons with early Nazi propaganda.

We did nothing to prevent this. Instead, we gave it a platform, and a legitimate chance to influence voters.

One of the worst parts of the referendum for me is the insistence that this is a class war. As the referendum results unfolded, I watch David Dimbleby begin to question if this was down to education, that those with degrees would vote Remain, and those without would vote Leave. This assertion angered me deeply, because at it’s heart lies the belief that the English working class is uneducated and stupid. This is the biggest lie anyone tells about our country, and the worst part is we believe it. We have become a nation that is anti-intelligent thought and discussion, that dismisses and ignores political debate, that reacts with apathy to hate speech columnists and treats the moral and ethical decay of our society as if it is a joke. But this is not a class specific attitude, it is one that is found class wide. The vote to Leave was not restricted to the working classes, but one shared by all classes. Just as the vote to Remain was shared by all classes, and colouring the vote to Leave as working class, a vote against the establishment or vote ‘for the people’ gives it an identity that does not exist. In 2013, the Great British Class Survey described the Traditional Working Class as being ‘about 14 per cent of British Society…many own their own homes…many are women’ and, more importantly, ‘Those who seek higher education tend to seek it in institutions which recruit mature or part-time students such as Birkbeck and the Open University.’ The working class is not stupid, and it does not appreciate lies.

I also reject, absolutely, the idea that this is a victory for the common man against the establishment. This campaign was spearheaded by the Eton-educated, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, Ex- Mayor of London, whose childhood friend was Charles Spencer, brother of Princess Diana; and Nigel Farage – also an ex-public school boy – who began his career trading shares in the City, and later bragged about taking £2 million pounds worth of UK tax payer’s money to fund his expenses as an MEP. They are the universal stereotype of the worst ‘the establishment’ can offer.

To those who voted Leave. Do you see now that you were lied too? Your leaders, within 48 hours of the referendum ending, have taken back every promise they ever made you. They have said they will NOT restrict freedom of movement for labour – so those jobs you were desperately trying to protect, they are still not going to be yours. They have said the sum of £350 million that could go back to into the NHS was NOT true, and worse, they now say they believe the NHS should be privatised. Councils now seek urgent assurance that the money given by the EU will be shored up by our own government – Keep dreaming, that money will not be coming back to you. This was another lie.

If I could, I would speaking to the missing million. That gap that divided us, the million people who chose to vote Leave instead of Remain. It is not ironic that, at the time of writing, a similar number of people have already signed a petition calling for a second referendum, in the wake of immediately broken promises, a catastrophic fall in the pound, and the sight of Nigel Farage’s smug, bigoted, over-eager face on every tv screen, newspaper and social media.

But then, Farage has a lot to be excited about. Perhaps he has not felt this in charge since he was in school, leading a moonlight march through a Sussex village, singing Hitler Youth songs at sleeping WW2 veterans. An incident so deeply worrying to his school masters that it was kept on file, and later unearthed by a Channel 4 News investigation.

I am terrified for my country. How will our economy recover? How safe are those I love on the streets? We have created a deeply multi-cultural society, I have German, Irish and Polish heritage, what will happen to the people I love, to those already being demonised and attacked in schools, on buses and in public up and down the country? What concerns me the most, as a historian, are the reports of UKIP party members now defecting and rejoined the Conservatives. This is not a good thing. This means those whose beliefs were considered too far right for mainstream politics, now feel mainstream politics has caught up – that they can rejoin a main political party and find their views supported. It is the most subtle and dangerous form of subversive politics. Racism and xenophobia now wears a mainstream face. In case you have ever wondered how the Nazis came to power, it was in moments exactly like this one. Bigots and radicals have managed to legitimise their views and sneak themselves into power, some via the front door, only for the rest of them to now run round and open up the back door to let in all their mates. If you voted Leave because you were scared of radical politics, religions and cultures, the only thing you have succeeded in doing is giving that a voice and a place in our government.

Our problems were not caused by the EU. They are caused by our government. They are caused by the same people they have always been caused by. Those in the UK who decide our laws, and industry owners. Worried about your wages? Worried about Zero-hours contracts? These are nothing to do with the EU. These decided by OUR government. Worried about immigration? Again, decided by OUR government. Every problem we have, comes from our government. All this referendum has done is put more power in the hands of those already in power, and removed the sanctions and laws to keep them in check. If you think things were bad before, they are only going to get worse.

Apart from for Nigel, apparently he is going to be made a Lord.

6 thoughts on “A Cry Against Anti Intellectualism.

  1. Well written. As someone with Russian and Polish ancestry, with friends from Chile and Albania and fellow British friends who live/work in Britain, the US and elsewhere, I have much sympathy. Perhaps the intolerance, pettiness etc was always there – and we just wishfully thought it wasn’t?

  2. *To those who voted Leave. Do you see now that you were lied too?*

    Lied TO. And it’s news to you that politicians lie? it’s precisely because millions of us know they do, know that they have been lying for decades about the European project and STILL can’t tell the truth that people are getting angry.

    And if Leave lied – what about Remain? they are hardly distinguished for their integrity and sober presentation of the facts. Scaremongering, lurid claims of disaster and Armageddon…but those apparently get a free pass from you.

    *Bigots and radicals have managed to legitimise their views and sneak themselves into power, some via the front door, only for the rest of them to now run round and open up the back door to let in all their mates*

    There is the reason why Remain lost. Many people have woken up to the utter contempt in which they are held by the likes of you. You don’t learn, do you? I don’t think you are capable of it.

    And BTW – you don’t mention that Cameron is an Etonian just as Johnson is. I wonder why not?

  3. I will take your ideas in whatever order my fancy suggests them to me, so the order given in the reading of this will not necessarily reflect the order of their presentation in this article.

    Firstly, for my own part, I contend that the decision to stay was a decision motivated by cowardice, by pragmatism and by a native dearth of the virtues of courage and imagination. The ponderable majority of the arguments and statements in favour of remaining appear to circulate around the identification of plausible short term difficulties, and their optimal nature in comparison to the projected turmoil to be caused by leaving (though a small sampling, see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/16/leave-or-remain-in-the-eu-the-arguments-for-and-against-brexit/ ; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-32793642).

    Clearly, speculations abounded as to the economic strife (see http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-eu-referendum-what-happens-now-immigration-economy-recession-holidays-a7097881.html ; http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/eu-referendum-live-updates-brexit-polls-how-to-vote-what-happens-to-uk-economy-ifs-niesr-lse-a7093111.html) that would result from our exit from the union (and indeed this has happened http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-36619123 ; https://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2016/jun/24/global-markets-ftse-pound-uk-leave-eu-brexit-live-updates), yet none of this can remove the striking principle that stands behind turning our back to the union, that of attainable accountability in governance.

    To state that, as many do, should we leave, we will fall short of the mark as a nation, appears to hold the citizens of this nation in remarkably low regard, and to sell them terribly short. I trust in the ingenuity, the science, the tenacity, the bravery, the courage and the conviction of the British spirit, and indeed of the spirit of the European mind, and I trust in it enough to hope and believe that this country and its citizens will weather any future storm caused by the temporary fluctuations of our exit.

    The gross movements of your arguments, specifically related to your concerns in the connexion of rising “xenophobia” and “bigot[ry]” betray this negative pattern, yet they remain inconsistent with the later sentiment expressed in your second paragraph, that “one of the worst parts of the referendum for me is the insistence that this is a class war […]” that there existed the “question if this was down to education, that those with degrees would vote Remain, and those without would vote Leave”, with the view in mind that “at it’s [sic] heart lies the belief that the English working class is uneducated and stupid”.

    This appears, for all the world, to be a defence of the “working class”, which you contradict shortly thereafter with the unsubstantiated proposal that “we have become a nation that is anti-intelligent thought and discussion” though it may not, you hold, be “a class specific attitude, it is one that is found class wide.” Yet your misinterpretation of the thrust of the original question shows the converse of this defence.

    Flatly, David Dimbleby’s question was not insulting, in fact it appeared to be reflective of the general trends evinced by the demographic details of the vote (see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/24/eu-referendum-how-the-results-compare-to-the-uks-educated-old-an/). The notion that “uneducated” is synonymous with “stupid” was imposed by you solely, not anyone else. Dimbleby did not propose it. It is something that you have inferred incorrectly, and something which you enforce and aggrandise with your proposals that we are “anti-intelligent thought”.

    This appears to be a much more severe insult of the population of the nation, which thereby subsumes the working class, than the mere suggestion that they would vote along certain lines. This suggestion was born out by the results, and yours seems to be unsubstantiated and tasteless for the time being. Moreover, I must ask on what basis have you founded this sentiment, that the population as a whole is “anti-intelligent thought”? How might this be evidenced?

    Further, your contention that “this is a victory for the common man against the establishment”, on the basis of the notion that the “campaign was spearheaded by the Eton-educated, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnso”, is philosophically spurious and entirely without rigour. The personal characteristics of a single individual, prominently involved with the campaign, cannot be taken to be representative, any more than your characteristics, as a highly educated and successful professional in the field of history, can be taken to be representative of the campaign or “side” for remain. These indications are flatly irrelevant.

    Indeed, the inclusion of these particular issues, spurious as they are, stand quite notably against the position of anti- “anti-intellectualism” that you seem to adopt throughout. No sound generalisations can be founded on these instances of considerations pertaining to singular individuals, nor are their motivations established on the basis of these characteristics, such that they could be compared with any given (or presumed) motivation held by any member of the working class. The latter element is not enumerated in sufficient detail either, so here there is the philosophically disastrous instance of comparing un-articulated elements with un-articulated elements with the aim of establishing similarity or dissimilarity.

    This is, in purely philosophical terms, scarcely intellectually sound and quite “anti-intellectual” in fact, if we take, as we must, anti-intellectualism to be the negation of intellectualism, with intellectualism defined as “the pursuit of the matters of the intellect at the expense of the passions or prevailing whims.” Your statements are effete, opaque and quite whimsical, even on a charitable analysis.

    I think that, encapsulating this thread for now, this notion was expressed beautifully and potently by Sir Oswald Mosley in his speech at Tyneside, in which he offers that:

    “In the lives of great nations there comes the moment of decision, there comes the moment of destiny. And this great nation, again and again in the great hours of its fate, has swept aside convention, has swept aside the little men of talk and of delay, and has decided to follow men and movements who say, ‘we go forward to action, let those who dare follow us in this hour’. That is the permanence of the mighty mood of Britain […]”

    I believe that Britain has made the correct decision, with this being a decision based upon principle. To act in accordance with principle, either expressed and articulated in precise logical or linguistic form, or unexpressed in the form of non-articulated instinct, appears to me to be one of the chief marks of rationality.

    Moreover, should problems arise as a result of this principled action, further rationality may be evinced by the process of holding ourselves accountable for the predictable negative consequences of our actions. For my own part, I am prepared to do this, as I knew the risks going in, and I will move to counter the negative outcomes of this decision, insofar as I am able to do so. What is irrational, bigoted, racist or uninformed about this?

    Turning toward the principle of accountability in governance, as an example, if we take immigration to be of importance, as we should, then whilst the leave campaign may renege upon their commitments today, the principles of accountability in democracy ought to lead us to contest this, and this we can do.

    Should we have stayed, and, for instance, become part of the Schengen zone, could we have held our representatives accountable for their policies on immigration? Could we have contested the increasingly insane and destructive, from a humanitarian and cultural perspective, policies of the Union? I doubt it.

    You identify a component of this principle yourself in the last paragraph, though you do not complete the syllogism, nor round out the principle. “Our problems were not caused by the EU. They are caused by our government […] Worried about immigration? Again, decided by OUR government. Every problem we have, comes from our government.”

    Assenting for the moment to the truth of these propositions, they appear (on the most charitable of readings) to function as an enjoinment to the hypothetical reader to consider the proper ordering of their discontent, so that they might reinterpret their decision to leave, assuming they did vote to do so. Well, contradicting these statements in no way, isn’t it the case that we, as enfranchised citizens, can do this?

    Could we do the same to any of the representatives drawn from the EU?
    (see http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21602200-european-elections-will-neither-lend-new-credibility-european-parliament-nor-give ; https://www.rt.com/uk/331434-unaccountable-brussels-cameron-eu/ ; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/letters/12167326/David-Cameron-has-achieved-no-reform-of-the-unaccountable-EUs-control-of-British-freedoms.html)

    You postulate that “[…] this referendum has done is put more power in the hands of those already in power, and removed the sanctions and laws to keep them in check.” Well, firstly, how exactly has this happened? What policies have been enacted, in the intervening day since the conclusion of the referendum, that would make this statement true? Secondly, how could we hold the representative bodies of the Union to account, should they assume “more power” into their hands? How could we contest them, should they “remove[-] the sanctions and laws [that] keep them in check”?

    Further still, turning back to truth of the given propositions, what evidence does there exist that should give us to believe these things? How have you substantiated these positions? In stating these positions without sufficient exploration or proof, why should I as a reader be expected to agree with you, or even consent to the notion that your ideas are sensible? By this, I mean that no sense, as Frege intended it, can in fact be given to these propositions, at least in the absence of proof and its necessary reference.

    With regards to your troubled musings and speculations on the issue of what impact this may have on EU nationals residing within the country, it is a simple enough act to ask: “what statements have been made that should lead you to query their security?” Has any prominent campaigner on the side of the leave campaign given voice to any policies that should cause you to doubt the security of the remaining EU nationals? Has any legislation been enacted or proposed that would lead to a lessening of the security of the current immigrant population in any sense? If so, what is this legislation? It is far beyond unlikely that the cultural tides will swing to such an extent that working EU nationals will be deported, derided, chided or ostracised. Single anecdotes and stories do not substantiate this in the whole, and thus your earlier reference is again without any further importance or meaning. The mood of the nation will very plausibly remain as it was before, in spite of your misgivings.

    Again, to assume that the country will be carried along by a tide of “xenophobia”, given that it “now wears a mainstream face”, is to assume that the common citizen possess very little in the way of standards, compassion, decency or rigour. Vague allusions to the rise of Nazism and Fascism in the 1930s will not buy this proposition any privileged place, nor will these references make your concerns true. These concerns must be evidenced, as must the comparison to the state of affairs in the 1930s.

    Again on the point of truth, what have you considered, read, pondered or proposed that should lead anyone to believe that this pairing of circumstance is even appropriate or illuminating? In what way is our current decision to leave, and the popular mood that surrounds it, alike to that of the continent in the 1930s? You offer that “in case you have ever wondered how the Nazis came to power, it was in moments exactly like this one”. Well, simply put, how do you know this? How is this tying of one circumstance, separated by 80 years of history, development, culture and the like, either representative, useful or true? How is it historically literate?

    Granting the correctness and utility of this comparison, what should it give us to do differently? What is the purpose of this tying over of one era to another? How does this stand against any of the arguments for leaving? Is this not, in no uncertain terms, simply an invocation of the device of Godwin’s law? Is this intellectually permissible? Is this not “anti-intellectual”? As “a historian”, how are these pronouncements rigorously justifiable according to the strict logical standards of the art?

    Concerning the manifold aspersions that you cast on Nigel Farage, of what importance are these? He is only one man, and the events that you reference ostensibly occurred a significant portion of time ago.

    The inclusions of these events into a discourse that holds as its aim the determination of the justifiability (or lack thereof) of the decision to leave appears to be entirely spurious. They do not function as arguments toward any known position, as far as I can tell.

    They scarcely achieve the aim of establishing anything plausible in terms of Farage’s ongoing character, given their age; and they do not succeed in generalising to the other members of the leave campaign, given their singular nature.

    Would it be permissible, rational or sensible for me to claim that the remain campaign has a problem with their notable propositions given Dianna Abbot’s professed preference for Mao, given her relation to Corbyn? Surely, Mao’s record, in terms of the strict accounting of the inhuman devastation he wrought upon his nation, is just as deplorable as Hitler’s. Yet these things can hardly be taken to be either serious or important in the connexion of establishing the intellectual and political legitimacy of the vote to remain.

    Additionally, you hold that:

    “Bigots and radicals have managed to legitimise their views and sneak themselves into power, some via the front door, only for the rest of them to now run round and open up the back door to let in all their mates. If you voted Leave because you were scared of radical politics, religions and cultures, the only thing you have succeeded in doing is giving that a voice and a place in our government”

    Well, following the obvious course, how do you know these things? What evidence does there exist to support the claim that such views have been “legitimised”? How are these views (whatever they are, given that you do not identify them in any precise form) “sneak[ing] into power” via either the “back door” or front door? Who holds these views? Are these views demonstrable on the basis of statements made during the campaign, or simply suggestions and speculations concerning those statements?

    Further, granting the correctness and permissibility of your views, a number of your statements and suggestions, if this interpretation is correct, appear to be inconsistent in total. Accepting for the moment the suggestion that “xenophobia wears a mainstream face”, and uniting it in concept with my earlier statements drawn from the implicit concern found in your query:

    “what will happen to the people I love, to those already being demonised and attacked in schools, on buses and in public up and down the country?”

    it is plausible at least to suggest that your concern may be with the growing popularity of possibly “bigot[ed] and radical[-]” views, and the public’s susceptibility to them.

    Well, if it is the case that the great swell of the tide of public agency, opinion and though is turning toward the right; if it is the case that more people fall in line with views that find themselves beyond the bounds of the current Overton window, then wouldn’t it be permissible, on solely the grounds of the consideration of the principles of elective and representative democracies, for them to “succeed[-] in […] giving th[is] a voice and a place in our government”?

    Wouldn’t it be permissible for them make such motions in order that these once “extreme” views might “rejoin a main political party and find their views supported”, if these are the views of the majority? These may not be the views that you personally support, like or find to be palatable, yet this is hardly important. If you disagree with them, the sensible thing to do would be to argue people out of these positions. Yet you do not do this.

    Moreover, if you intend your expressions of fear and worry to be binding, I cannot see why any sane or rational person would give them a moment’s notice, seeing that, on principle, one’s own personal misgivings, views, goals and intellectualisations ought not be taken as legislating anything for others, nor should they constrain others to act in one’s stead.

    If the populous intends to move, in terms of the shades of its discourse and sentiment, toward a position not currently occupied, then it should be permitted to do so. I must ask, in this connexion, for instance what do you think of the arguments given in the earlier parts of the 1990s again the increasingly progressive bent of popular culture, and against the continued rise and rise again of feminism and social justice movements? Were the protestations against this swell of the tide permissible? If so, why, and if not, why not? The logical form of these separate verbal protests appears to me to be indistinguishable. Both are suggestive of status quo attitudes, and both lament the turning of the tide in a direction not favoured by their respective authors.

    However, the difference in content between these instances is quite crucial. Status quo arguments are not inherently impermissible in the realm of culture, I believe. Yet if taken to be strongly binding in the realm of democracy, they arise to a flavour that is quite possibly pernicious, if acted upon. The overzealous realisation of legislation on the basis of status quo positions, taken contrary to popular sentiment, appears to be strongly anti-democratic, and if taken to an extreme, plausibly fascistic.

    Truly, you make no such statements yourself, and these are mere derivations and conjectures made on my behalf, yet still I take it that you would not wish any strict action to be taken on the behalf of solely your voiced concerns, only that you wish that the concerns themselves motivate a change in the perspective of the reader. Well, again as noted, your arguments are not sufficiently precise, cogent or substantive enough to warrant that.

    Further still, even if it could be substantiated that the public mood has moved in the direction of “xenophobia,” if we define xenophobia as “the dislike or distrust of foreign elements or people from other countries”, would this distrust not be warranted?

    Taking into consideration the major demographic shifts that are projected to occur in light of the rates of increasing rates of immigration (see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/25/population-surge-to-change-the-face-of-england-forever/ ; http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/396390/Migrants-change-UK-forever-White-Britons-will-be-in-minority-by-2066 ; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3046477/One-four-Britons-ethnic-minority-2051-thanks-baby-boom-people-Asian-African-backgrounds.html ; http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/white-britons-will-be-minority-before-2070-says-professor-8600262.html ; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/10032296/White-Britons-will-be-minority-by-2066-says-professor.html), the declining birth rates in Europe (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28330429 ; https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/23/baby-crisis-europe-brink-depopulation-disaster), the representation of the immigrant population within crime statistics (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/12112024/Violent-crime-jumps-27-in-new-figures.html ; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/12160464/More-than-700-criminal-notifications-involving-EU-migrants-every-week-official-figures-suggest.html ; http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/378232/Immigrant-crime-soars-with-foreign-prisoners-rising ; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3450323/Criminal-convictions-EU-migrants-leap-40-five-years-700-guilty-week-UK-20-000-foreign-criminals-deported.html), the representation of the immigrant population within rape statistics (http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/01/its-not-only-germany-that-covers-up-mass-sex-attacks-by-migrant-men-swedens-record-is-shameful/ ; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/9410827/A-fifth-of-murder-and-rape-suspects-are-immigrants.html ; http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/646052/Horror-migrants-film-raping-male-teen-asylum-centre-Norway), the implication of the immigrant population in the housing crisis (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/12032152/new-homes-housing-crisis-migrants.html ; http://www.independent.co.uk/property/house-and-home/property/britain-is-suffering-from-a-housing-crisis-who-is-to-blame-and-how-can-we-fix-it-9113329.html ; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15400477), the cases of Islamic radicalisation (http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/34851049/young-british-and-radicalised-why-people-want-to-join-islamic-state ; http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/12/report-muslims-avoiding-uk-anti-terror-spy-programme-151226161427606.html ; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/12194157/Inmates-fear-being-radicalised-in-Belmarsh-prison-by-Muslims.html ; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3450515/At-21-illegal-schools-haven-t-officially-registered-investigated-fears-radicalising-50-000-pupils-narrow-Islam-focused-curriculums.html ; http://news.sky.com/story/1670528/exposed-uk-school-promoting-extreme-islam), the Rotherham sexual exploitation scandal and its related cover-up (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-28934963 ; http://www.mirror.co.uk/all-about/rotherham-child-abuse-scandal ; https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/aug/26/rotherham-abuse-scandal-ipcc-working-to-identify-100-police-officers), the terror attacks in mainland Europe in recent months (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34818994 ; https://www.theguardian.com/world/paris-attacks ; http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/11/20/world/europe/Paris-terror-victims-list.html?rref=collection%2Fnewseventcollection%2Fattacks-in-paris&action=click&contentCollection=europe&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=collection ; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-35869985 ; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/brussels_airport_explosions/index.html ; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/belgium/12204399/Brussels-terror-attacks-metro-airport-suspects-live.html), the possible implication of the immigration crisis in facilitating the climate for these attacks (http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/11/14/paris-terrorist-migrant-registered-refugee-greece/), the migrant crisis in general (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/immigration/index.html ; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34131911 ; http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/682439/Angela-Merkel-migrant-crisis-Syria-Africa-European-Union-EU-referendum-Brexit), the Cologne attacks (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/cologne-attacks-what-happened-after-1000-women-were-sexually-assaulted-a6867071.html ; http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/cologne-only-three-out-of-58-men-arrested-in-connection-with-mass-sex-attack-on-new-years-eve-are-a6874201.html), the possible cover-up of this (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/cologne-police-ordered-to-remove-word-rape-from-reports-into-new-year-s-eve-sexual-assaults-a6972471.html ; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/12085182/Cover-up-over-Cologne-sex-assaults-blamed-on-migration-sensitivities.html), the commonly held views of the Muslim population (https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/apr/11/british-muslims-strong-sense-of-belonging-poll-homosexuality-sharia-law ; http://www.channel4.com/info/press/news/c4-survey-and-documentary-reveals-what-british-muslims-really-think ; http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/why-the-survey-of-british-muslim-attitudes-is-so-profoundly-disconcerting-10070358.html), Muslim integration (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3533041/Warning-UK-Muslim-ghettoes-Nation-nation-developing-says-former-equalities-watchdog.html ; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/11409181/British-Muslims-integration-and-segregation-are-about-economics-not-values.html ; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/11753615/At-last-the-Prime-Minister-is-listening-to-me-on-Muslim-integration.html), and so on.

    Not being suspicious of this, not being distrustful or concerned about this quite honestly flies in the face of common sense, and one’s instincts for survival. It betrays nothing evil or pernicious about the nature of individuals within the population to see these things, and exercise concern or distrust, or to petition for legislation that responds accordingly. To do so makes no claim about the native endowments, virtues or failings and properties of the groups and individuals committing these acts, and so cannot cross the line into racialism.

    Distrust and distaste for all of this, and action in the face of this in the line of introducing legislation to counter the counterable elements of these patterns, whilst perhaps undesirable from a standpoint of high compassion and sensitivity, is ultimately necessary and advisable. Whilst the effects of such counteractive legislation may not be immediately perceivable or predictable, they may be for the common good once all is accounted for, even though they are initially unseemly or doubtful in their requirement. Indeed, a quote from another luminary English statesman, Enoch Powell, would salutary in this connexion:

    “The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils. In seeking to do so, it encounters obstacles which are deeply rooted in human nature. One is, that by the very order of things, such evils are not demonstrable, until they have occurred. At each stage in their onset, there is room for doubt and dispute, whether they be real or imaginary. By the same token, they attract little attention in comparison with current troubles, which are both indisputable, and pressing. Whence the besetting temptation of all politics to concern itself with the immediate present, at the expense of the future. Above all, people are disposed to mistake predicting troubles, for causing troubles, and even for desiring troubles. ‘If only’, they love to think, ‘if only people wouldn’t talk about it, it probably wouldn’t happen.’ Perhaps this habit goes back to the primitive belief that the word and the thing, the name and the object, are identical. At all events, the discussion of future, grave (but with effort now, avoidable) evils, is the most unpopular, and at the same time, the most necessary occupation for the politician. Those who knowingly shirk it deserve, and not infrequently receive, the curses of those who come after.”

    Lastly, you correctly note that “a […] number of people have already signed a petition calling for a second referendum”. Again, on the basis of the preliminary indications, this number is of no immediate importance, given the petitions nature. It is not founded on the requirement of the enforcement of any existing legislation, and so it only calls for the retroactive application of legislation yet to be passed.

    What is the legitimacy of this proposal? You do not provide any justification, of any sort, for the sheer audacity and temerity of this countervailing attempt. Moreover, given that there appears to be some indication at least that the numbers are not entirely legitimate (see http://i.imgur.com/mYUwZrN.png), given that online petitions are quite often subject to fraud in the form of multiple votes being cast by single users through scripts or proxies, and given that the true vote has been cast across the country, how might you assure the reader of the legitimacy of these claims for a second go around? Why should some small number of millions, taken relative to the population of original voters, dictate the movements of the nation?

    I think that, overall, you piece sits quite close to the line of uninterpretable, if one takes interpretation to be founded upon the apprehension of, and acquaintance with, strict proposals which are enumerated in terms of their logical structure and meaningful content.

    I could have saved myself the time of writing this initially, and in doing so dismissed the entire gamut of your opinions, by striking at the clear view that your piece itself crosses the line into the realm of “anti-intellectualism”, if this is defined as in the above. You do not define the term “anti-intellectual” yourself, nor do define similar cognates such as “bigot”, “radical”, “xenophobic”, and the like. They are simply employed without comment, and without elaboration. Until such definition is given, your arguments that employ these terms are uninterpretable.

    Further, you do not make any movement to substantiate a great many of your claims, as noted above, nor do you render them in a strict or logical form, nor do you identify, reify or propose any principles. There exists no rational reason to assent to your positions, to adopt them, or to grant them any weight. Indeed, one would be acting a-rationally if one were to do this.

    All told, I do not believe that, were a leave voter to stumble upon your piece, they would be swayed by the cogency of your opinions, given that no cogency is revealed in any great way across the patterning of your argumentation.

    • I’m sorry, I was prepared to pay attention to what you had to say until you cited Sir Oswald Moseley! Are you really so ignorant, so tone-deaf that you fail to grasp that your citing a fascist immediately undermines any claim to pious optimism and togetherness you may have thought you had?

      A refreshingly short contradiction to your endless, vainglorious, pompous bloviation: get fucked.

      • I fail to see in what sense the quotation of Sir Oswald Mosley should be damning as it concerns the quality of my arguments in total. Moreover, the weak implication of the nature of his wider fascistic policies and actions throughout the 1930s is in no way relevant to the determination of the quality of the given quotation, or its relevance.

        The quotation pertains only to that “pious optimism” that one might have for one’s country, and its people, and nothing more. No mention of fascism or the like is made therein. Sir Oswald Mosley himself provides us with the same conclusion when he states “personally I think it a very good speech about England’s greatness […]”
        (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rd7LcaXZzUs&feature=youtu.be&t=1841). Nothing further can be said on the basis of this quotation that pertains to fascism, and anything drawn out in this manner is an imposition made by the reader, falsely, and nothing more.

        Additionally, to voice one’s disdain or disgust with the mere reference to a political figure that may be held in disrepute should hardly be taken to function adequately as an argument. To do this is to provide no justification for the dismissal of the reference, or the notion of its immediate irrelevance, or its ties in the manner implied to the plausibly unseemly nature of the actions of the BUF in the 1930s, or indeed the original unseemly nature of these selfsame actions in concept in the first instance, or their role in the negation of my later arguments.

        Further, if you believe that Sir Oswald was reprehensible, and indeed that the policies of fascism as practised and proclaimed by the BUF were likewise, then you must present an argument for these perspectives, which you do not do. Simply stating your distaste is not an argument for or against very nearly anything at all.

        If we were constrained to disregard wholesale the libraries of everything that individuals might say on the basis of their wider actions, or wider beliefs, then we would live in an enormously impoverished world, wouldn’t we? It would be profoundly foolish to think that there might not be certain statements, drawn from even the most uncommon or unlikely of sources, that we might find ourselves achieving some concord with.

        Interestingly, seeing as this issue appears to resolve around the import and “tone” of words and their combinations, and the reach that these words achieve, it might be worthwhile to consider the following statement on this issue:

        “words build bridges into unexplored regions.”

        This seems sensible, and interesting, enough, right? To be sure, it is not all that profound or far reaching, but one could certainly agree with it, if only in a purely informal sense. Well, if you liked that quotation, then I’m afraid that you just happened to agree with Adolf Hitler (http://i.imgur.com/O0X1D7a.png).

        Should that bind you to support his policies, or to think that this quotation is tainted by the mark of the historical accounting of his later actions? I do not think that it should, as the quality and sense of the words is borne out by their literal nature, not by their implication in some broader scheme of historical reference.

        Funnily enough, I included this quotation from Sir Oswald for the very reason that I expected the sort of reaction that I received from you. I fully expected later commenters to unjustifiably disregard my writing in full simply due to the inclusion of a statement from this given figure.

        I thought that this type of reaction would juxtapose quite nicely with the theme of the title of the article, that of the consideration of anti-intellectualism. This disavowal of yours scarcely appears to be “intellectual”, or “intellectualist” in any great way, does it? To be ruled by one’s passions to the extent that defensible arguments, and significant portions of text containing further arguments, are laid to the side simply in view of the inclusion of one scorned man’s words appears to sit at odds with the definition of intellectualism as given above.

        As for the rest, of your inclusion of the ad hominems concerning the “endless, vainglorious, pompous bloviation” of my arguments, well, that’s just, like, your opinion man, and again these are not arguments. (http://i.imgur.com/m5T4JYK.gif) (https://i.imgur.com/BQqowsu.jpg). I must ask why you even thought to include these statements in the first instance, as even if they were true, what difference would they make to the overall quality of the patterning of the argumentation within my original statement? What work do they do? Further, you fail to establish that these arguments of mine are in fact “vainglorious”, or “pompous”, given that you merely state these things without proof or quotation. If my words are empty, you should get to the hard work of demonstrating this, if you take these matters seriously. Yet you do not do this.

        I attempted to stray away from simple ad hominems and insults within the body of my original comment, as I do not believe them to be worthwhile in the large, and they serve only to distract. I have no personal issue with the author, as I do not know her, and so cannot vouch for her quality or lack thereof.

        My statements at various points concern only the quality of her argumentation alone, hence my use of terms such as “cogency”, “interpretability”, “sense”, “reference”, and the like. These concepts, whilst undefined by me in the above, have as their aim the determination of the properties of propositions and statements, and nothing besides. I mean no insult to the author in any way, and my statements ought not be read in this manner. It is quite odd to me that you would include these personal attacks within your statement. Notwithstanding, of course, the redundancy introduced by casting the claims that my writing is “endless” and “bloviating” by turns, and also “vainglorious” and “pompous” likewise.

        Breaking away from this, as an update in a different line of things, given that the author references the petition to seek a second referendum, some further interesting details as to the plausible illegitimacy of the petition itself have surfaced through investigation
        (http://i.imgur.com/OOAW8fN.jpg; http://i.imgur.com/EmLmbtM.jpg; http://i.imgur.com/77OlmW5.png). This of course, does not take into account certain instances of individuals publicly advocating for the fraudulent manipulation of the petition (http://i.imgur.com/kbqeRMP.png; http://i.imgur.com/lKUHLpU.png). To be sure, these are just two isolated instances, yet their existence should provide the conscientious reader with doubt enough as to the legitimacy of the petition, if combined with the above.

        Overall, though I could say more, I fear that I am going on at too great a length, and so I might risk straying into the territory of bloviation and vainglory. I would be interested to hear what you have to say in response to my statements, should you read them, as my original arguments are by no means flawless, and there is much in my original comment that could be improved. I posted it because this was my opinion in response to the author’s, and I found her work to be certainly interesting enough to warrant comment in return. Clearly, I cannot achieve perfect cogency and convincingness alone, and so I must wait on the criticisms of others to improve my work. There are clear gaps in certain parts of my original argumentation, and clear instances of positions that I do not define, so interpretability is rendered suspect on this basis. Moreover, I commit a number of elementary grammatical and spelling errors in my original comment, and so I must face criticism for this also. I am not an angel, or some mythical being, and so my actions and thoughts are not flawless, and neither are the author’s either. The correction of my mistakes, at least, requires my action, and the action of others. However, this latter part relies on other commenters taking my efforts seriously.

        For my own part, I took the original article seriously, hence my response. Yet, if you are not prepared to approach things in this way, this is fine, but then I do not see why I should take your comments seriously in turn.
        (http://i.imgur.com/NsPinQr.png; http://i.imgur.com/JWUj2as.png; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCJr2R-3cXI; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baF199mVPzw; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkXsBAQ08xs)

  4. Not about education or class. Poor voted leave and better off voted remain on balance. Austerity and free movement at the same time is not a good mixture I guess were the concerns?
    Housing crisis, too many strains on schools, public services, inflated house prices, getting rid of social housing, wages being under cut, those having degrees and qualifications jobs and wages less threatened than unskilled workers who having hard time.
    Most countries in recessions and wage squeezes have house prices fall, but in UK opposite has happened (English I mean. Scotland has cheap housing and few parts of north England) so really it’s a failure of this government not looking out for its people that has caused the vote results, be it for the right or wrong reason.
    A good PM would not have resigned but would have used result as a lesson to learn and care why people voted that way, address their concerns as it is a so called democracy, and then decide if it’s better to use his power to remain in the EU still despite the votes, do so.
    If we leave EU, then it’s not the voters fault it will be the PM that is to blame.
    He and the MPs are the one who have the power alone and they were the ones who had the referendum and they were the ones who sell houses to foreign investors and push up house prices, yet sell of social housing and know wages don’t pay enough at the bottom yet put austerity and tell everyone you must buy.
    Then they give themselves huge rises and bail out bankers, cut payments to disabled and those savings don’t go to cut the deficit but go to give tax breaks to millionaires.
    We are living in a greedy, selfish, society that is getting like the apprentice show type mentality where it’s always survival of the fittest.
    Of course it will effect the way the poor vote and think and act.

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