Brainy Quote of the Day

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Brexit and Exits...

Image Source: Clean Technica
Topics: Existentialism, Politics

There is a typical mythology around the fear of unification, cautionary tales of the abuse of power by strongmen that would misuse the levers of republic meant for the common good. The League of Nations - precursor to the United Nations - was formed in the wake of the Great War, (as World War I was known, until it had a sequel). The idea behind it was to always have lines of communication between nations such that war between particularly European nations would be unthinkable, and economically impractical. The European Union formed in the wake of the sequel and the ruins of Europe and WWII, with similar goals and reasons to avoid internal conflicts (The Irish Republican Army comes to mind).

Enter the conspiracy provocateurs. Foaming at the mouth about obscure ancient texts in Holy Writ warning of nation state confederacies: the dragon; 7 heads, 10 horns; the "mark of the beast" (usually compared to RFID chips currently found in your smart phones), and of course: the onslaught of refugees either from Mexico or Syria. Doom must be avoided so as not to give supreme authority to an overarching, powerful figure that will show no mercy to humanity: the Antichrist. He was given a limited run as Damien in the Omen movie series, and several world leaders including presidents 43 and the current 44 have been accused of being the antidemocratic prince of darkness.

In a Facebook forum, I said these short comments the day after Brexit:

The Brexit vote has two parallels within the US: the disdain and disrespect for expertise and xenophobia for the future.

There was a time we lamented access to "The Information Superhighway" as the Internet was referred to in the age of phone lines and dial-up modems. Home computers cost on average $2,500 in the 90's, making purchase and access prohibitive to people of color in the US. Now that we have the equivalent of supercomputers in our hip pockets, we comment on every article without reading them; our attention spans to information is fleeting; we share a preponderance of cat videos; we become "Google scholars" and everyone with a URL, a loud mouth and with a large following becomes an "expert," despite no academic preparation in their curriculum vitae.

Brexit split along generational and cultural lines: the older more conservative wanting to exit the EU, remembering Halcyon days of empire (when the UK actually had one) instead of the interconnected world we now have. Racist and xenophobic forces used the refugee crisis to their crass advantage, putting out the British equivalent of the "Willie Horton ads" during the 88 election by George HW Bush and his political adviser Lee Atwater. Fear is an excellent motivator to bring constituents to the polls, inevitably voting against their own best interests as many in the UK are now becoming cognizant to. Within the US, conservatives have voted for small government, family values representatives that continue to treat them less than constituents and more like Pavlovian canines they manipulate with Jingoism, Sloganeering and scripted. faux 3-point-sermons they obviously don't actually believe by their demonstrated lifestyles. It points to the demonstrated fact that all elections are about the apportionment of power and a sophisticated display of tribalism. We're not nearly as advanced beyond the caves as we delude ourselves to think.

In my previous state, Texas is considering its own version in "Texit" - which is somehow more sophisticated than the a traditional, unconstitutional secession. Despite the dodge of states' rights, articles of secession from the Confederacy were not so pandering, and mention slavery numerous times as their raison d'etre. That apparently goes away if the reality TV blowhard they have a hard on for becomes our 45th president. The Halcyon days they wish for in Dixie is a return to the 1850s: Eisenhower had the tax rate for top earners at 91%, and the nascent Civil Rights movement was energized by Brown vs. Board and Emmett Till's execution in the "Happy Days" 1950s. We started trying to afford pesky things like roads, education, integration and a space program. In the 1850s we had dirt roads, plantations, "free labor" and mint julep tea.

,,,"all elections are about the apportionment of power and a sophisticated display of tribalism."

As the demographics of nations diversify, the dominate cultures of those nations perceive an immediate loss of power and a need to protect it from "the others." Immediately after Brexit, there were reports of xenophobic attacks. Hate crimes sadly rose in breathtaking percentage estimates post-Brexit. The motivation for the UK's exit from the European Union - immigration, especially now during the Syrian refugee crisis - would probably be better managed within the EU.

Ironically, the countries that would have loved to witness an actual Brexit in their by-force-colonized lifetimes is an exceptionally long list.

Not to say the EU doesn't have its flaws, and free trade has had a disproportionate impact on blue collar workers on both sides of the pond. The Bilderberg Group is an actual "thing," but so is the Council on Foreign Relations, just a little more accessible. NAFTA is the favorite boogie man of the aforementioned provocateurs and doomsday preppers, ignoring the history of Ronald Reagan in 1984; George HW Bush thereafter as well as both parties in Washington in its implementation. In the UK and the US, globalization has enriched the 1%, who usually own the dominant industries and media outlets in their countries, as well as finance the politicians running for office that map out trade deals. Trade agreements allow them to pursue any cheaper labor force outside of their host nations of origin, thereby "taking jobs" from those not as educated or prepared for changes in the global economy. The caveat is simply eliminating trade agreements isn't an answer either: Foxconn in China just replaced 60,000 workers with robots, so even the cheapest labor force isn't safe from the automaton. In my hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, someone who wasn't "college material" could make a reasonable living and raise a family at Hanes Dye and Finishing (as my father did) and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (where my sister retired from). Both companies have reduced their presence substantially in the US, most of their manufacturing operations shipped overseas. When manufacturers go for cheap labor and profits, it reduces the quality of life and even education in the municipalities they expatriate. The crass idea that companies can sell their product back in their host countries is born out by the facts they have been so far wildly successful. Blaming the immigrant and/or refugee for "taking jobs" is a convenient dodge at the moment, until the crowds with torches and pitchforks become painfully aware that they have been bamboozled.

The irony being that in two demagogues with exceptionally bad hairdos in the UK and the US, to protect their foaming-mouthed followers from "the other"; to ensure no nefarious New World Order confederacy is formed (or more likely: reasonably trying to avoid conflict, and fairly employ citizens in their home countries) we're about to turn over the reins of power not to Damien-type avatars from the pit: but two* loudmouthed racist, xenophobic nincompoops. With the North Korean supremely badly-quaffed leader, I guess we have a trifecta of idiocy: an "axis of evil" pompadours?

Oh well, I guess that's far better than being under the boot of Beelzebub.

* I wrote this before the London head mop and his UKIP stooge bowed out of managing the mess they've made. They're political pyromaniacs: 1) they lit a fire; 2) gleefully watched the castle burn; 3) on charged with accountability, denies having lit said fire.

Related Links:

Some observations about Brexit (and the relevance of constitutional theory)
Sandy Levinson

The Daily Beast: I'll let you click through to Samantha Bee's blunt title
#P4TC: Terms of Indifference

Lastly, John Oliver for the appropriate after-independence fireworks:

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