Remoaning: the utter stupidity of clever people
Brexiteers are thick and gullible, apparently. A University of Bath study published a couple of days ago concluded:
‘Only 40% of people with the lowest cognitive ability voted Remain, while 73% of those with the highest cognitive ability voted Remain...people with lower cognitive ability and analytical thinking skills are more susceptible to misinformation and disinformation.’
The above quotation is from a tweet by A. C. Grayling, a clever fellow - you can tell because he is a Remainer, or was; I suppose we now have to call him a Rejoiner.
Speaking of which, his tweet invites a rejoinder.
In the first case it is not true that the more intelligent always ‘see life steadily and see it whole.’ Here is another quotation, from The Guardian, which is also full of folk who congratulate themselves on their smartness:
‘for … particularly emotive claims, intelligence and education may actually make you more susceptible to fake news, through a process called “motivated reasoning.”’
Secondly, underneath the implicit sneering lies a complete misunderstanding of the role of voting.
Our version of democracy is not Athenian; the electorate is not a privileged class collectively and directly deciding policy and having to live or die by the consequences. The male citizens had doctors and trainers to keep them healthy and fit for war.
Modern British governments work by representatives with an average electorate of 70,000 per seat. Unlike the Greeks we lack slaves to do our work, so we do not have the time information and expertise to participate meaningfully in the rule of the community. We ordinaries do not attempt to run the government; instead, we are allowed the opportunity once every few years to say how we feel about its performance. The elected government simply bases its legitimation on the pencil cross in the polling booth, so that we are fatally implicated in the farrago of failures.
The assembly in ancient Athens met about forty times a year; here in the UK there is up to five years between General Elections. So the years roll by and the populace waits impotently, discontent mounting so that the party out of power can count on eventually getting its turn to misrule: no wonder the Opposition is Loyal. Once it gains power we have a fresh episode of ‘I can’t hear you’ and the game recommences.
The extension of the franchise in 1918 was a valve releasing the steam that might otherwise have blown up into revolution. It was and is a con. The progressive lowering of the voting age is an obvious strategy to include even more inexperienced, ignorant and excitable people in the process so that they can be manipulated into consent for the next stage of managed decline and disempowerment. That is where we were heading before 2016: follow Guy Verhofstadt on Twitter/X to see the EU’s plan to remove national vetoes and create One Ring To Rule Them All.
The privileged may wish their inferiors could not have a say at all; perhaps they envy the USA where before 1965 literacy tests were applied to exclude the poor, especially blacks - even now some American constituency boundaries are drawn to gerrymander results and make it harder for those without cars to get to a polling station.
However the vote is not an intelligence test. British democracy is merely a feedback system. You do not have to be Einstein to know when the shoe pinches or the roof is letting in rain.
When, foolishly self-assured of the outcome, David Cameron permitted a referendum on EU membership, one in which every vote counted equally and the result of which was guaranteed to be honoured (so turning it into a binding plebiscite), the underprivileged finally had an opportunity to voice their grievances.
Now conceited commentators want to tell them ‘No, your shoes are comfortable and your strangely dripping heads are quite dry, we are sure of that.’
Who is stupid?
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