Every Conversation With A Brexiteer Ever

Well, perhaps not ever… but this seems to be the summary of many:


Leaver: It was a vote, you have to accept it!

Remainer: But the referendum was only ever advertised as advisory, it was never legally binding for the government to enact. So it really should be given parliamentary approval in a free vote. Particularly, the terms agreed upon after 2 years of Article 50 negotiations should be ratified through our representative democracy.

Leaver: It was a vote, you have to accept it!

Remainer: But perhaps it’s dangerous to just enact something without proper expert consideration, especially now that multiple Vote Leave promises have been rescinded and it’s become clear that the population may have been (read: definitely were) mislead. The political and economic landscape has changed significantly since June, so you can’t say a decision taken by non-experts in one situation should be, by default and without consideration, applicable to a much different different situation at a later date.

Leaver: It was a vote, you have to accept it!brexit_recession

Remainer: But it was a very small win for Leave. The margin was a few percent, almost on par with a margin of error. Given the number of people expressing regret over their vote – a proportion that polls suggest would be high enough to swing the referendum in a different direction if it were done today – is it wise to plough on without further due consideration? Can we not take into account further opinion polls taken after a reflection on the impacts to the value of our currency, the economic impact, or the fact that many Vote Leave promises turned out to be complete fabrications?

Leaver: It was a vote, you have to accept it!

Remainer: Okay, but we have a constitution based around representative democracy. We elect people to make decisions on our behalf based on the fact they can take the time and do enough research to make an informed decision, whereas the general public can’t afford the time. In line with both the country’s precedent-based constitution, parliament should have a final say in both leaving the EU and accepting post-EU terms. They should take popular opinion under advisement ( as this was advertised as, and as they’ve always done) without accepting the narrow referendum result as a mandate for sweeping, unilateral change.

Leaver: It was a vote, you have to accept it!

Remainer: Thing is, many aspects of democracy require supermajorities to enact rather than 50% +1. Things like amending the US constitution, for example. That’s precisely to stop bad decisions being made on the back of popularism and to ensure broad, representative consensus rather than making sweeping changes when there’s a clear split and the margin is tight. It’s also why arguments about the counterfactual case of ‘Remain’ winning by a small margin don’t hold up – because you don’t need to get a supermajority or a large margin in favour of the status quo to keep with the status quo, because there would still be no strong mandate for change. This is also the essence of basic conservatism, incidentally, as well as part of mainstream political thought about democracy since the term was invented.

Leaver: It was a vote, you have to accept it!

Remainer: Part of the democratic process is that you can’t just accept things blindly, even when popular – as you have to have safeguards against a tyranny of the majority, where the rights of minorities can be removed or oppressed just because a majority says so. If some groups will be more negatively affected by a decision than others, then not everyone is equal when it comes to a simple ballot. Something that sounds good to a large number of people but will probably not affect them might be absolutely devastating to a small number of people who will never have their voice heard in a popular vote. This should be taken into account when taking the voting results into consideration as this forms the basis of a representative, egalitarian and equal society – again, the basis of democracy and mainstream political theories of justice.

Leaver: It was a vote, you have to accept it!

Remainer: Democracy doesn’t begin and end at voting. It starts at representation, and ends with beneficial decisions made through consensus – with voting as a means, not an end. It’s an involved process that continues beyond just voting when and where they tell you. There are countless opportunities to petition, or get involved in decision making. It doesn’t stop, it continues. That’s the actual point of democracy if we want it to mean something positive and beneficial rather than just hanging on the idea that it’s a popularity contest and the majority rules. Leaving it at “vote, and the majority rules!” is a really stunted view of democracy, one which really limits its ability to do the most good for the most number of people – particularly so when the question asked of the populace at large is a simple binary but the real-world options and their ramifications are numerous, complex, and nuanced.

Leaver: It was a vote, you have to accept it!

Remainer: Fine, fine… but… how? How are we going to implement this? The vote was a binary choice of in/out. There was no concrete plan suggested at all – especially by the people pushing the ‘Leave’ option. We’ve literally been left alone to figure this out. Sure, we can do it… but there are no details. What are the details? What do you actually want?

Leaver: It was a vote, you have to accept it!

Remainer: Fuck it, I can’t be bothered with this shit anymore.

Leaver: SEE! YOU SILL LITTLE REMOANERS CAN’T ENGAGE WITH ANYTHING! WHAT STUPID IDIOTS YOU ARE!!! ALL YOU DO IS CALL US RACIST FOR BEING BRITISH!! YOU DON’T HAVE ANY ARGUMENTS, JUST INSULTS!! NOW SHUT UP! IT WAS A VOTE, YOU HAVE TO ACCEPT IT!


Addendum: The high court rules that parliament should vote on leaving the EU. Good. This isn’t about preventing Article 50 being invoked, it’s about making sure it’s done with our actual sovereignty intact, through the due process of our representative parliamentary democracy. It’s about making sure that the more complex and nuanced options available in reality, and not on an idealised voting slip, are explored democratically. If you’ve bleated on for a year or so about us leaving the European Union in order to restore our “sovereignty”, and then supported the government unilaterally and autocratically passing a law without parliamentary approval, then you are – plain and simply – a hypocrite. If you still can’t wrap your head around this, read here, and keep reading until you understand.


Addendum 2: If any of the above sounds like “bullshit” or “whining” to you, or you still think “but democracy is about voting”, I suggestion you begin with the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s article on democracy. Rather interestingly, it doesn’t spend a lot of time talking about voting, because – louder for the people at the back – democracy doesn’t begin and end at a vote.

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Consent Might Be Complicated If…

I’m re-blogging this owing to the whole “grab her by the pussy” thing. Not because of Donald Trump’s words, exactly, but because of the defenses made on his behalf.

I’ve seen things about supposedly hypocritical pop-starlets who grab their crotches being “offended” by it – because touching yourself and someone else touching you are obviously the same thing.

I’ve seen “but I thought liberals were about sexual liberation”, because, of course, liberation meant liberating ourselves from silly little things like consent.

And, of course, countless things about it being how “real men” talk. Now, that has numerous layers of bullshit, but suffice to say that if “real men” are supposed to casually ignore consent, we’ve got a serious problem.

Do I think all of those comments are spawned entirely by ignorance of consent and culture? Broadly, yes. I think there are shades between ignorance and malice, and rarely do you find one without a bit of the other propping it up. Ultimately, what the people defending “grab her by the pussy” demonstrate is that they literally do not understand the concept of consent, and that it’s foreign and alien to them. We can debate why, but it’s pretty clear they don’t understand it – to them, it literally does not compute.

Spherical Bullshit

I really like this post on consent, and it seems to have had a massive surge in popularity, and for good reason. As one of the later paragraphs concludes:

Do you think this is a stupid analogy? Yes, you all know this already  – of course you wouldn’t force feed someone tea because they said yes to a cup last week. Of COURSE you wouldn’t pour tea down the throat of an unconcious person because they said yes to tea 5 minutes ago when they were conscious. But if you can understand how completely ludicrous it is to force people to have tea when they don’t want tea, and you are able to understand when people don’t want tea, then how is so hard is it to understand when it comes to sex?

It’s a testament to the power of analogy (and logic, in fact) that something can seem…

View original post 822 more words

Confused? Good.

Are you unsure about an event that’s going on in the world?

Not sure what side to take?

Not sure what you think about it, or which is right and which is wrong?

Have you seen someone make a decision, and have no idea whether to support them or not?

Good.

Really, good for you. This is definitely a good thing, and stop pretending otherwise.

Because it means you’re thinking about it. It means you’re opening to any possibility or any conclusion. It means you have a good motive to really dive into it in some detail and make a decision that’s informed.

People who make a sweeping didactic statement about something almost immediately – with certainty, with judgement, and with no tentative hesitation – are almost certainly operating on what their prior biases tell them. They were always destined to think that, and nothing else. The alternative was never an option for them.

That has its place, sure. Mostly when things aren’t terrifyingly important or inherently confusing and difficult.

But if you’re unsure, great. If you have to stop and scratch your chin a for a bit, fantastic. If you need to think a bit longer and a bit harder before your decision, do that.