Brexit fallout: Weighing the cost of freedom

Brexit is a rare affirmation for the rewards of ideological motives in a modern world driven by consensus politics and reactionary alarmism. The vote to leave the nightmarish morass of the European Union was driven by purist desires to sovereignty- a noble act of rebellion and self-affirmation in the face of dishonest politicking.

While the attempts to thwart the referendum by prognosticating global financial doom and positioning it as a nationalistic strain of nasty identity politics is not surprising, it does raise an interesting question: in a globally connected world, what right do dissenters have to exercise their conscience?

Follow the logic of Remainers: the possible financial backlash, even to non-European business interests, and risks to political issues which are implicit in the structural rejigging of the European Union trump any of the Leave arguments, whether they be political or ideological. This is nothing short of a lecture over the evils of selfishness. “Yes, there are shortcomings to the system,” Remainers lecture in the condescending tone of a parent to a child driven to naughtiness by ignorance,”but upheaval threatens the welfare of all of us.”

Their answer is a slow, grinding slog of bureaucratic improvements. Incrementalism- the backbone of collectivism- is the rallying cry of modern politics. It is the result of a pervasive modern worldview that frames everything as a zero-sum game. If Britain gains independent, then everyone else loses. Therefore, Britain must endure.

Rather than recognize that the inability of individuals to act without affecting others is a fault built into the foundation of the international framework, those who designed the system blame individuals dissenters for potential backlashes. And in doing so, they push alternative viewpoints and rationales out of the realm of consideration, further cementing their control.

Under this reasoning, what minority group has a right to resist control it feels harm its interests, to improve its situation? The answer is simple: it does not, not if harm may come, either intentionally or coincidentally, to others.

This line of reasoning asserts itself not just over the logistics of the physical world, but demands that value-rooted judgments be subjugated to it. The ability of the individual entity to look to their own discretionary system and make a cost-benefit analysis of corporeal interests against competing spiritual desires is deferred.

Such thinking defines right and wrong as an amalgam opinion of the masses. Under this worldview, what minority group has a right to rebel? Superior powers can always scoff away moralistic objections to subjugation under the rationale that a change to the system endangers the needs of the many.

Conscience is held ransom to eventualities. Spiritual and corporeal needs are pitted directly against each other. In fact, ideological motivations, or other rationales rooted in esoteric principles, are derided and discounted, labelled the dangerous excesses of the quixotic. Their vision is seen as delusional because it is grounded in a world governed by absolutes not bound by the logistics of reality. Ironic then that those who belittle them fail to recognize that their arguments also rest on potential outcomes. Though they may cite more facts and figures where ideologues offer philosophical rationales, these are approximations only- the present extrapolated to predict the future.

In the past, reason balanced the relative merits of outcomes; it did not simply discount entire courses of action out of hand because of potentialities. Case in point: every act of rebellion in the course of history. Were the analytic processes of figures who stand out of history governed by the modern mindset, their names would be unknown because they would never have undertaken their long-shot quests. A great many acts have been undertaken in the name of individual inability to subjugate conscience to the claims of the rest of the world. And no living soul has the right to condemn their choices as the modern world and all the luxuries it affords Western intellectuals rests on such intransigence.


Also published on Medium.

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All content protected by copyright. The Politics of Discretion, 2016.
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