Intellectuals and Brexit, Part 1

Over at Foreign Policy, James Traub has written a piece titled, “It’s Time for the Elites to Rise Up Against the Ignorant Masses.”  As you can probably guess, it is none too sympathetic to those who voted in favor of Brexit:

The Brexit has laid bare the political schism of our time. It’s not about the left vs. the right; it’s about the sane vs. the mindlessly angry…

The Republican Party, already rife with science-deniers and economic reality-deniers, has thrown itself into the embrace of a man who fabricates realities that ignorant people like to inhabit.

Did I say “ignorant”? Yes, I did. It is necessary to say that people are deluded and that the task of leadership is to un-delude them. Is that “elitist”? Maybe it is; maybe we have become so inclined to celebrate the authenticity of all personal conviction that it is now elitist to believe in reason, expertise, and the lessons of history. If so, the party of accepting reality must be prepared to take on the party of denying reality, and its enablers among those who know better. If that is the coming realignment, we should embrace it.

Perhaps the problem isn’t the “ignorant masses” but rather intellectual bigots like James Traub.  If you genuinely believe that your side is the only one that believes in “reason, expertise, and the lessons of history,” then you have no reason to take a step back and ask yourself, “Well, did the folks who voted to leave have some legitimate grievances?”  It’s a priori that they are sheep being led by slaughter house owners.

In short, the EU is a governing body that imposed rules and regulations on people who had little to no say in those rules and regulations.  A government without accountability seldom ends well.  Apparently that is a lesson of history that the likes of Traub have no interest in learning.

 

Photo: David Eulitt

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