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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Nihilism

Britain's vote to leave the EU has everyone in a panic, and it seems almost certain to cost them (as it has already, between stock losses and the pound dropping like a stone). Larger questions like whether Scotland will re-vote for independence (probably) or other countries may start opting to the leave the EU (probably not) are open to speculation for now. In the meantime, the country already seems like the proverbial dog that finally caught the car it was chasing, only to realize that it has no idea what to do with it.

What's perhaps more interesting is the apparent parallels in voting "philosophy" between "Leave" voters and American Drumpf voters. The socioeconomic contexts appear to be very similar, in that the people likely to be hurt the most economically by those respective policies are the most enthusiastic for them.
While it may be one thing for an investment banker to understand that they ‘benefit from the EU’ in regulatory terms, it is quite another to encourage poor and culturally marginalised people to feel grateful towards the elites that sustain them through handouts, month by month. Resentment develops not in spite of this generosity, but arguably because of it. This isn’t to discredit what the EU does in terms of redistribution, but pointing to handouts is a psychologically and politically na├»ve basis on which to justify remaining in the EU.
There have been any number of similar assertions from Drumpfsters interviewed over the past year, many of them bizarrely attesting that Drumpf is "one of us". Presumably "one of us" in this context can basically be taken to mean, much like "speaks his mind", something along the lines of "not afraid to be a toxic asshole".

In stopped-clock fashion, Drumpf's comments about Europe being overrun with refugees has some truth to it, and it's only going to get worse. He's also right when he says that citizens have a right to expect that immigrants make a good faith effort to assimilate to the culture of the host country, and that if their cultural values and mores are antagonistic or hostile to those of their country of refuge, too fucking bad. If you want to be able to throw gays off of rooftops and abuse women and forbid them to drive, then stay in Saudi Arabia, rather than going to Europe or America.

And England, among other countries, has a right to expect that immigrants aren't going to form pedophile gangs and turn English girls into sex slaves. These things factor into seemingly perplexing voting decisions, just as much or more than purely economic rationales.

The people who feel like they've been left behind are entirely correct in feeling that way; the spreadsheet-diddlers can point at the numbers all they want, but when the benefits only accrue to the usual few, the thieving scumbags of the world who buy mansions they'll never use because they literally have more money than they know what to do with (though they'll never, you know, help anyone less fortunate) it doesn't matter, not at all.

But the Brexit seems unlikely to improve the overall well-being of England, and Drumpf definitely won't improve the lives of any of his voters. Again, the diagnosis is spot-on; the proposed cure, much less so. The system in place will remain in place, fueled by the twin powers of rotten pelf and racist venom, each using the other as a handy distraction, each drowning out the (dwindling) moderate majority in between. As always, what looks like a bug from the outside is actually a feature designed in for the end-user.

(Hint:  You are not the end-user; your elite superiors who retreat to Davos every year to decide what crumbs you might get from their table, they are the end-users.)

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