Sunday, June 26, 2016

That Moment When You Realize An Argument Is Going the Wrong Way

I woke up this morning to find that Infidel753 has been so upset by the reaction he's seeing online about both the Pulse shooting and the Brexit vote that he's walking away from blogging (he's also coping with real-world physical pain and surgery, so there's that) at least for now.

I've got this sinking feeling in my gut that I'm one of the ones who pushed him off the ledge, so to speak.

By his reaction - his complaint of people berating the British voters for speaking their mind - I think he's pointing at the bit in my "You Tossers" rant a few days ago where I blame the voters for being short-sighted and ill-informed. Well, here's what he wrote:

No one seemed to have any knowledge or awareness of the actual issues -- restoration of national sovereignty and independence (however sacred if it were a Third World country involved), the desire to return power from an unelected oligarchy to an elected government, the economic devastation wrought by the euro currency and the EU's enforcement of (very Republican-like) austerity policies on already-weak south European economies -- or the implications of the fact that polls show support for the EU plummeting in all its member states, not just in the UK.  That's hundreds of millions of people who have been living under the damn thing for decades.  Which is more likely -- that they are totally misreading their situation, or that you are totally misreading their situation?...
Bloggers who should know better rushed to ridicule the democratic decision of the British people (soon likely to be replicated in any EU member state where the public gets a chance to vote on its own future), based apparently on some combination of received opinion from the popular media, the fact that Donald Trump approved of the decision (remember the old adage about a stopped clock being right twice a day), and, bizarrely, a perceived similarity between Trump and Boris Johnson, based on a slight physical resemblance and a tendency toward iconoclasm.  I always knew Americans tend to be ignorant about the outside world, but this is astonishing.  Is it really impossible to look at other countries' politics except by ridiculous, shallow analogies to something American?
Even stupider have been the efforts to legitimize this reaction by zeroing in on one individual who was quoted as saying he didn't think his vote would count (every population includes a few idiots), Google searches about what exactly leaving the EU will involve, and suchlike, in an effort to depict the British people as na├»ve fools who didn't know what they were doing.  Trust me, they knew.  This contemptuous disdain for the will of the people when they vote against the rule of a self-appointed oligarchy is exactly the kind of thing I'd expect from the authoritarians who support, well, Trump -- or worse...

Infidel has a valid point in that the Europeans have a better sense of what's going on with their situation that we (or I) do over here on this side of the pond. That the Leave voters had sensible reasons for cutting ties with a bureaucratic system and economic coalition that had little transparency, accountability, or understanding of how their ongoing Austerity measures were cutting into people's lives.

And I don't want this argument to get any worse or cause further divide. If only I can make one point of my own here.

My biggest concern was and still is that the Leave voters honestly didn't realize that the chaos they've voted for is going to be just as traumatic as staying under an EU system that wasn't working as intended. And that it is going to be chaos now not only in the United Kingdom but across all of Europe, which is going to affect everything else in this global economy. And chaos isn't always a good thing.

I want to argue in favor of greater push for reforms, not outright rejection. That's what they should have voted for (and I noted Cameron was an idiot for not framing the referendum to include a "stay but reform" option).

And if I came across as angry and petulant or uncaring of the British voters' right to express themselves, for that I apologize. (It didn't help that the ones I saw pushing for Leave the most - Farage and the UKIP - were shilling a racist anti-immigrant argument as well as lies about what benefits leaving would bring)

I DO respect the right and power of people to vote. I want people to show up to vote (and dammit, just don't vote Republican... sorry, I had to... you know...) because as every election has proven, every election and every vote matters. I just get frustrated - A LOT, this is what I get for living in Florida - when people seem to vote against something for what I see are the wrong reasons.

I know Infidel is going to be busy with real-world stuff right about now, and it sounds like he should, especially if he's prepping for major surgery. I wish him well and that he comes out of that healthy and improved. I don't want him leaving in a foul mood. I respect his opinion and his values, and if I crossed a line with him, that's on me and I got to do better than be flippant and angry all the time.

...Just one last thing. I'm with the Scottish voters on this point (warning NSFW): Trump's still an idiot.


dinthebeast said...

I've been reading Paul Krugman on Brexit the whole time, and even before, and he has been very clear about the problems created by a common currency without a common government. That said, the UK didn't use the Euro, so they were shielded from one of the worst drawbacks to the union. He seems to think it (hopefully) won't be that bad, and that there were downsides to staying in also. I believe his take before the election was "to reluctantly vote to remain", so it would not seem to be a cut and dried issue. I know how it feels to be on the unpopular side of a prominent issue, so I wish Infidel the best and for a speedy recovery (which I also know a thing or two about.)

-Doug in Oakland

Denny said...

God created war so that Americans could learn geography.

And apparently much more. Besides the blogs it seems that the most honest reporting of American news takes place courtesy of foreign newspapers/websites.