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E.U: Leave or Stay? Your thoughts.

Discussion in 'Serious' started by TheBlackSwordsMan, 22 Feb 2016.

  1. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    It's not a proposal, more an abstract theoretical argument. In reality it is never going to happen, of course.

    The complexity is that people are, well, people. Highly diverse, emotional, tribal etc. It's a miracle that societies continue to function relatively coherently as they do. And yes, people are fscking busy just trying to eke out a living, but at the end of the day it doesn't take much reflection to decide that if the same old Party hasn't delivered over the last decade, it is unlikely to deliver over the next parliamentary session and to just tick another box for once. After all, they managed to do it in the EU Referendum because "they wanted change". Any change. Even if there was going to be a price to pay (so Leavers tell us).

    Of course capitalism has managed to maintain a foothold in society, and become the monster it is, because it appeals to people's egocentric, immediate gratification-seeking instincts. Thing is: just like the king is the country and the country is the king, people are "the structure", and "the structure" is the people.
     
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  2. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Multimodder

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    I disagree. You can alter the culture of, say, a social network by adding a "Thumbs down" button alongside a "Thumbs up" button. The structure is the structure, the people are the people.
     
  3. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    I agree with this point, actually, and the enduring popularity of the Tories is endlessly fascinating to me. I have never been able to completely explain or excuse it. But Labour being as shite and dodgy-looking as they are is undoubtedly a major factor.

    A bit off topic at this point, but hey. Comparing Brexit and the elections is an interesting point: a desire for change and large-scale experimentation was a major factor for people with Brexit, but they never change their vote in the elections.

    Vipers is spot on re: game theory. Most people I've asked about the Lib Dems agree that they're a decent centrist option, if only they could win. But they can't, because nobody votes for them. Because nobody believes they can win.

    I voted for them once and got a Tory coalition. Life is a cruel teacher.
     
  4. perplekks45

    perplekks45 LIKE AN ANIMAL!

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    I honestly think, after reading everything we've said here, that we are not part of the uneducated masses. At least that's a positive to take away for all of us, eh?
     
  5. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    In the case of democracy, it's the people who decide whether to add a "thumbs down" button, whether to use it, and how to use it.

    We're in the minority though...
     
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  6. Mr_Mistoffelees

    Mr_Mistoffelees The Rotary Cat.

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    What we have had since the last general election is a kakistocracy.
     
  7. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Multimodder

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    [​IMG]
     
  8. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    Last edited: 2 Jun 2021
  9. perplekks45

    perplekks45 LIKE AN ANIMAL!

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    Very true. If we weren't, we wouldn't even have this conversation.
     
  10. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    Causally speaking, if a huge chunk of the population are misinformed and manipulated into misunderstanding an issue and making a poor choice, wouldn't it be fairer to blame the people doing the misinforming and manipulating? I'm old-school. I blame the Leave campaign. I refuse to blame the Brexit majority; I know quite a few of them, they feel misled and duped.
     
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  11. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    If they were the victim of a deviously clever, sophisticated con that would be fair enough. But it wasn't even as if the Leave campaign ran a very sophisticated campaign. It was built on vacuous sloganeering, simplistic promises not only contradictory but also clearly too good to be true, blatant lies and some pretty unpleasant racism. People believed it because they wanted to believe it. This was not a test of gullibility, but a test of character.

    Responsibility is not a zero-sum equation. Just because politicians are responsible for their lies and deceit, does not exonerate people from their responsibility to think critically and make informed choices.
     
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  12. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Multimodder

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    So politicians create an economy and education system leaving many impoverished & uneducated, and making them predisposed to latching on to patriotism to feel some sense of self-worth.
    Then politicians run an unsophisticated campaign that appeals to that patriotism...but it's still the electorate's fault.
    If it was a clean slate I might agree, but there's a generational aspect to all this that makes it feel like victim blaming.
     
  13. perplekks45

    perplekks45 LIKE AN ANIMAL!

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    If I wanted to sound harsh, I'd say "Kant's self-inflicted immaturity comes to mind...", but I'm not that much of an arsehole.

    But I still think we can't excuse the inability of the large majority of the electorate to critically look at statements made by people like Boris and Nigel with "but the guys at the helm made them stupid". There just seems to be too little will and capability to learn from their own (the electorate's/people's) mistakes to remove them from blame for what's going on.
     
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  14. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Multimodder

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    So it's the people who weren't educated in critical thinking's fault for not thinking critically.

    I look at all this as functioning in much the same way religion does. There are lots of perfectly capable people out there who also happen to be religious. Is the onus on them to question their beliefs to free themselves from the shackles of religion? Yes...but is it their fault they were exploited by religious leaders in the first place? No.
     
  15. perplekks45

    perplekks45 LIKE AN ANIMAL!

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    Since we're talking about one of the leading countries (at least it used to be for the last few centuries) in the Western educated world: yes, they have to ask themselves and their leaders what is happening. Regularly, not just once in a blue moon when, again, others push them into a revolution. That is a large part of what makes the Western World think we're better than the rest: our average level of education and critical/free thinking.

    To me, it feels more like one of those things I absolutely can't stand about Germany: this country still seems to think they're "the country of poets and thinkers" it used to be back with Goethe and Schiller and the likes. What I see on a daily basis is a bunch of morons lead by the same, albeit richer, morons. But, of course, that is the fault of the US/Russians/Chinese/Muslims/random other reason. Always blaming something or somebody else for their own shortcomings.

    Our great leaders around the world are getting away with what they do, partially because they are good at lying but mainly because the average person is not capable or willing to see through their proverbial animal excrement.
     
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  16. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    Good point, but also slightly different: we have an evolved religious impulse, it's part of our psychological apparatus. If you're raised in a religion, you're probably never getting it out of your system, unless you're one of the wonky few on whom religious thought just doesn't work for some reason. Whereas political logic and critical thinking are just habits: you can't become a theist or an atheist just by thinking about it, but you can become more critically and politically aware just by thinking and reading about it.

    But there are other impulses besides the religious one that circumscribe our habits of thought. Peer pressure, groupthink, culture, prejudice, narratives youre emotionally invested in.

    These constraints create vulnerabilities and blind spots in our thinking, and if politicians exploit those, I think it is fair to blame them rather than us, even if we technically were free to think our way out of it.

    One narrative people were heavily invested in, for example, was the idea of freeing up money for the NHS. This was very appealing - to our selfish desire for safety and security, to our altruistic desire to see everyone, not just the rich, benefit from healthcare. It was also difficult to test or disprove, since it's a future hypothetical.

    That single factor had huge emotional influence on people. This, Nexxo, is why I think your take on Leavers is too reductive and mean: who knows what proportion voted Leave through gritted teeth, convinced that it would be detrimental but believing it would save the NHS? They don't fit into your pigeon holes of stupid, idle, ignorant or bigoted. They were just lied to and chose to trust the Leave campaign. And trust is not something to be sneered at, it's important (otherwise how do you ever choose to vote for anyone based on their claims and promises).
     
  17. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    Yes, because the electorate voted these politicians in, in the first place. Repeatedly. They actively reinforce the politicians' behaviour.

    This is not an issue of education. Polling data from the Electoral Reform Society shows 85% of people feel that politics isn’t working, while 80% feel they have little or no influence on decision making today. Every person in the street will tell you that politicians are self-serving, corrupt, out of touch with ordinary people and liars --except the one they voted for; THAT one is 'special', "not like all the others". This is not based in rational thinking, as we have seen even on these forums; not based in the politician's actual track record, but how he comes across as a personality in what the voter darn well knows is finely crafted and orchestrated publicity.

    But people want to believe they're special. So it's not even about being "not like all the others"; it's about being "not for all the others, but for us". The chosen politician may be self-serving, corrupt and a liar, but he is our self-terving, corrupt liar; out of touch with other people, but right in touch with people like me. He's on our side. It's a big game of projection, with the politician carefully honing his public image such that the voter can see their own self-importance reflected and actualised in him. The more grandiose the politician, the better people feel about him, because the more grandiose it makes them feel themselves. The King must, above all, be glorious*. It's a reciprocal dynamic of narcissism resulting in adversarial politics: us against them. People do not vote for the good of the country, the people, the community; they vote for their own immediate gratification --a very narrow, short-sighted and egocentric view to take on a vote of national importance that will affect everybody.**

    Any voter who asks himself: "what is important for the community?" knows what to vote for. But nobody asks this question (and no, asking "what do I want this community to be like?" is not the same question at all).

    Kind of. But whereas Kant saw this as a consequence of laziness and lack of courage to use one's own capacity for understanding without the guidance of another, I'd say it's the consequence of arrested development; an inability or unwillingness to move beyond childlike egocentricity and demand for immediate gratification (with the complementary ever-available, ever-giving mother's breast) which requires relinquishing being at the centre of your own universe, developing autonomy, having to consider other people, cope with delay --or even frustration-- of gratification, having to accept responsibility, duty, compromise, loss, disappointment, defeat, suffering, all those things we have to learn to deal with as we grow up into adults.

    Religious belief has a bunch of cognitive and social functions, and is on a continuum with culture and politics --it's all about attachment and tribalism, in the end. They're all wired in --in human history and culture they are often inseparable. As above, so below etc. Once you understand how religion works --take a meta-view on it, so to speak-- it kind of breaks the spell. Psychologists are the least religious professional group for a reason.

    Religion may feel more deeply entrenched in the human psyche because it is part of culture, which is upstream from politics, but it's all part of the same thing.

    I disagree. In a democracy politics are a reciprocal dynamic. It is a co-construction between the politicians and the electorate. This is important for the electorate to understand. Empowerment can only come from accepting responsibility. As long as the electorate continues to see itself as the hapless, trusting victims of nefarious lying politicians, deceived over and over again, it will not change the status quo. And I'd say that narrative is part of the whole pathological dynamic --like an addict who sees himself as powerless to challenge his addiction.

    I would say that they were not worried about the NHS; they were worried about their place in the queue in the NHS, a narrative quite blatantly played on by Vote Leave.

    Trust is noble; naivite is stupid. The measure of a politician is not by their promises, but by their past actions and voting record and how they align with your priorities.

    * In Tudor times the common people would come and watch the king eat. They would stand in a gallery at one end of the dining hall as lavish dish upon dish was paraded past the king. It was a feast and a spectacle, vicariously enjoyed by subjects who themselves could afford only the most basic foods. Such opulent rituals and displays of wealth were almost demanded because, well, it's no good being the subject of a king who wasn't glorious, was it?

    ** This is also how Vote Leave won: not by promoting a national vision of Brexit, but by making a bunch of very narrow and specific promises targeted at very specific groups. Of course they turned out to be mutually contradictory, incompatible and having no larger, overall strategy, but by then the vote was won, which is all that mattered.
     
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  18. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    Touché. However, the problem of available material remains. Garbage in, garbage out; if we're deceived and fed biased information on all sides, if there are no trustworthy or impartial sources, if every news outlet and campaign is unreliable, how are we supposed to make informed decisions?

    I tried to become informed in the run-up to Brexit, but could not find reliable information not peddled by someone with a horse in the race. In the end I voted by deferring to authority: some independent economists said Remain would be economically best for us, so I took their word for it. I was unsatisfied with my decision-making process, because "economically best" is only one facet of the issue. But it's all I could find to work with that was clearly not BS. Economists, by definition, want economic prosperity and stability; I trust their self-interest to make them honest on the subject of what will or will not be a disastrous economic misstep.
     
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  19. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    When I was about six, I read in an old popular science mag from the 1960s that in the next fifty years all human knowledge could be stored in a device the size of a cigar box. I thought it was rather fanciful. In the 1990's MS published Encarta encyclopaedia on a CD-ROM, and I realised they might be right. Now I carry around an 8mm thick computer with a touch screen that will listen to voice commands, and is hooked to a worldwide information network. I can queue up in Aldi with my shopping while reading, watching, listening to any subject I like.

    Almost everybody has at least one mobile phone. We live in the information age. There is no excuse not to be informed.

    I appreciate that there are other obstacles: when you are job insecure and dealing with grinding poverty, when you have kids to look after you are simply too tired to get informed about, well, anything. But if voting for the same party for the last decade hasn't improved things, what stops you from putting a tick in the other box?

    Brexit was easy, actually: look af the track record of, and publications by the politicians campaigning for Brexit; then look at the critical analyses of their claims, of which there were many, such as the informatively clear videos by Michael Dougan, and it was clear that the campaigners were either moronically stupid or blatantly deceitful, or #whynotboth. Even just looking at the internal consistency of their claims would have revealed them to be nonsense.

    But most of all, when the Brexit campaign looks like this:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Well, would you even want to be on that side?

    It was really a no-brainer: Remain was a known entity; Brexit was empty promises and racist rhetoric. So no-brainers voted for Brexit.

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    I take your point, but I think you're overlooking the problems of information overload and a glut of bad/biased information. Increasingly I speak to people who seem burnt out trying to figure out what to believe, who to trust. Their dilemma is not identifying that, for instance, the Leave campaign was a pile of manure (I agree with you that it was); it was in figuring out whether the Remain campaign was also a pile of manure. (It also was.)
    I agree, actually. I'm baffled by the enduring popularity of the Tories, as I've said. But this thread is about Brexit, not the national elections. I think you're making a mistake in conflating the two, or even debating them at the same time. You seem to be assuming that there's this gigantic perfect overlap between xenophobia, Tory voters and Leave voters. That is categorically wrong. I know many, many left-leaning moderates who are pro-immigration and anti-racist who also voted Leave for financial/economic reasons.

    Lest we forget - Cameron was a Remainer. So was Theresa May. And Labour twisted themselves into bizarre pro-Leave knots trying to find a defensible position that didn't agree with the Tories. That was pretty confusing for a non-allied left-leaning voter with a mistrust of the Tories to parse, frankly.

    This is also categorically false and really uncharitable. Again, I can assure you that there were plenty of 'thinking mother****ers', to use a Stringer Bell-ism, who voted Leave. I don't know exactly how many or what overall proportion, but neither do you, because I've definitely spoken to a lot of them and I guess you haven't.

    I don't know where you got this poisonous idea that all Leave voters - all 51% or whatever of the country - are racist idiots, but it's just not true, and it saddens me that you find it plausible. You can't have had very good experiences of the British populace where you live.
     
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