Monday, 4 April 2016
If you found a community where everybody believed the same limited number of unvarying things and where to challenge those beliefs resulted in harassment, threats and outright indignation that anybody could think otherwise, you would soon realise you’d encountered a cult. Believing unquestioningly in a single narrative of the world has to be a form of collective madness; the Branch Davidians, North Korea, the Moonies and hard-line religionists all fall into this category. As do certain political fanatics.
Although there are cults on ‘the right’, the phenomenon appears to be far more prevalent among ‘the left’ including as it does, young people, idealists, old revolutionaries and many of those who fly the flag against ‘white privilege’, believing in narratives that portray simple success through hard work and ambition as sinister plots to subjugate the masses. The masses, of course, are the masses by a simple numerical fact – by definition only one percent will ever be in ‘the 1%’; to believe otherwise is folly. To demand otherwise is a delusion which tempts many of the hard of independent thinking.
I work with ‘workers’ – I always have done – people who expend their time and energy for one purpose, to provide for their families. In the main they don’t own second homes and many run their own businesses at their own risk. Self-employment is common. In the main they are strugglers and strivers and in the main they want government to let them get on with it. For most of them politics is a peripheral thing but, in the main, they fear the many-tentacled thing that the EU has become. They want out and I don’t think they are mad to do so; they are no dreamy-eyed cult members, they just want independence.
On the other side however, a collective madness can often be seen; a belief in a loose narrative that says to leave would be perilous. I listened for a while to an LBC phone-in on the subject yesterday. Admittedly there were a few tin-hatted crackpots in the out lobby, but oh, the delusions of the Inners. Like collectivists everywhere they were almost universally scathing about the Outers – calling them fools, dupes, inadequate and unintelligent – yet they had only the same flimsy set of beliefs to support their own stance.
Their ‘facts’: 1. if you want out you are a racist, xenophobic Little Englander who wants to retreat from the world. 2. Travel will become nigh-on impossible for Brits and expats will all be deported back to Blighty. 3. Outside the EU we will have zero trade, our children will starve and we will be powerless to defend our streets. 4. The only way to have influence and prosperity is to be subsumed into a borderless conglomerate under one flag. 5. The ultimate aim is one-world government, a thing to be hastened, not opposed... otherwise you’re a racist or something. (I’d drifted off by this point)
You would have to be mad – or Mandelson - to believe in one world government. You’d have to be crazy – or Cameron – to be wedded to the concept of a United States of Europe. And you would quite clearly have to be barmy - or Barack Obama – to imagine Britain, with its teeming millions, to be insignificant outside that ugly entity. Call me insane but if I have to choose between the madhouse that is Europe or the open sea it’s the open sea every time.