We dissidents have the impression of being a plucky minority amongst a pack of wolves. Everyone seems to be against us. But that’s only informed by our Twitter feed – blue check marks of journalism, politics, and economics. In other words, people without skin in the game. They’re necessarily wrong about everything. People in the real world, however, butt against reality on the daily and necessarily have an imperfect but understanding that’s always good enough.
If you take the time to go out and actually talk to normal folk about important issues, you’ll be surprised. Okay, you’re not going to get a perfectly sophisticated understanding of political economy, but you will get good intuitions and a not insignificant dash of common sense.
Take the issue of Brexit: we on the right side of things, that is the pro-Brexit side, might get the impression we’re on the losing side. Yet that’s only if we’re on the internet all day. On my travels I’ve had the fortune of conversing with a great number of fellow millennials from around the world on this issue – they want to know what the Brit thinks of Brexit. The majority of them are remainers.
That’s quite easy to explain: first of all, a lot of them are other Europeans like Germans who simply do not understand Brexit – for them, separation and secession means East Germany, which means bad. I totally get it. Another reason is that those that travel are often more open and liberal in orientation, and that side of the spectrum tend to be pro-Brexit. In their eyes, again through no fault of their own, Brexit means nationalism and xenophobia.
The first thing I do when explaining my position on Brexit is that I am not a UKIPper. I’m not a nationalist and I don’t have a problem with immigration on principle (as someone who has lived in many different countries in my years, it would be a bit hypocritical of me to make a strong case against it). My support of Brexit is on the margin and almost only about economics.
For most of these folks, that’s the first time they’ve ever heard it argued in that way. Astonishing, yes. I’ve had a number of them say that when they first find out I’m actually a Brexiteer, they’re aghast. “I thought you were such a nice guy!”, but after mansplaining my position, they will admit I have “rational reasons” for being one. For me, that’s a huge step in the right direction.
The truth is most people are not warriors of the establishment, but normal human beings confused and afraid. They’re worried about what will happen, but also about seeming like an idiot. One woman I spoke to about the subject put forward the idea of just postponing Brexit until we have a good idea of what’s going on. This is wrong-headed, but I don’t blame her. Those “in charge” of giving us the facts about Brexit have been woeful. In fact, it’s almost as if they’re trying to be deliberately confusing. From her perspective, it really does seem like we’re rushing into it without considering it properly.
It doesn’t take much earnest conversation about these topics to help people see it clearer and potentially be less obstinate about it. It’s an achievement to get at least one person, through your interactions, to see Brexiteers in a slightly better light than before.
Another example is with this phenomenon of SJW-ism. For us politically-involved people, it may appear as if we’re bombarded with PC Stasi crap 24/7, but it rarely touches real life. If you never went into a University campus, got interviewed by a mainstream journalist or go on Tumblr, you might never encounter a radical feminist or cultural appropriation hawk. Thank God, lest life would be unbearable.
Most people are fairly sober on the issues of “social justice,” i.e. they are not interested in policing your language or dress code. They might be uninformed about one thing or another, such as the gender wage gap, but that’s easily solved with a gentle discussion about it. You’ll find that your average full-size human being that has a real job, like being an Uber driver or an office furniture fitter, is refreshingly grounded.
But let’s be clear – this only works with people who are genuinely capable of being persuaded. As a counterexample to conversations with people that are in the 3D world, I present you the Twitter mob: specifically I’m talking about the self-appointed knights for the European Union. They’re exactly the opposite to real people: they talk as if they’ve never seen the Sydney Opera House, or gotten drunk with Russians. They’re the automatons of the state.
Thankfully, they give out their own marker: hashtag FBPE (Follow Back Pro EU). This pleases me for two reasons: first, I’m glad that there are so few true believers that they have to communicate through code, and also it’s handy for me so I can psychologically prepare myself for the inevitable BS. These are a special form of human who feels that the EU can do no wrong, that Brexit is not merely a mistake but the greatest tragedy that has ever befallen human civilization, and it must be stopped by any means necessary.
These people invariably don’t exist in the real world but have jobs that incentivize them to have a faulty understanding of how it works: low-level journalists, teachers, social workers, regulators, and other public bureaucrats. Take this guy, for example. An actual regulator Tweeted back at me because I suggested that relieving the burden of EU regulations is actually a benefit of Brexit, not a flaw. He explained patiently how the regulations concerning the shape of bananas were all on the level, industry supported and whatnot (without realizing he was proving my point: industry loves regulating out their foreign competition). Then he said this:
Only someone who has been protected from the consequences of their mistakes their whole life, in an institution that thrives on being anti-reality could say something so utterly 10 out of 10 batshit. The force for good in this world? I’m dying! Was that the case whilst Mother Theresa was still alive? Is that including the EU’s brazen corruption and economic destabilization? I have no frame of reference to understand such a thing.
Come on, even if you are anti-Brexit, if you have any sense at all, you can see this is an absurd statement. Most remainers are not so blind to the EU’s failings. Normal people realize that the issue is nuanced and cannot be solved in general terms. They’ll say things like, “Well, even if the EU is not perfect, on the margin it is helpful to the country.” I disagree, but at least it’s a reasonable thing to say.
Then there are these people who claim to be proud European citizens. Yet no-one, and I mean no-one with their head screwed on at least, believes that they are citizens of Europe. Firstly, even the EU doesn’t think it’s an actual nation-state just yet. They’d like to be, sure, but nominally there can be no such thing as a citizen of Europe. Second, a nation state’s lines aren’t completely arbitrary. There is a reason why so far, Europeans have not spontaneously come together to identify themselves as European. It’s because nobody can describe a “European.”
The differences in culture between even Spain and France, neighbors, are so vast they could well be in different continents. Even as an anarchist, I accept that “Britain” is a thing, and “France” is a thing. I’ve met enough French people to realize that French culture is a tangible set of behaviors and customs. “Europe” isn’t a place or a culture. You can’t identify a “European” that would be markedly different from a South American. A Spaniard is closer to a Colombian than a Hungarian. The “European nation” is utter folly – a concept of would-be totalitarians.
To be “proud to be European” is intergalactically stupid, and even with my cynicism, I don’t believe these people are that stupid. No, those that identify as such on Twitter are virtue-signaling to their oppressors.
Check this out:
This makes me feel ill, but it’s nothing to compare with:
It’s a satire, surely! It’s plausible they do exist in the real world, but are misinformed to the point of disaster. Either way, you are only likely to encounter someone like this on Twitter, and we should be pleased about that.
You can read more from James Smith on Think Liberty here.