It was/wasn’t about Brexit

Intellectual pygmies, especially those of the neocon persuasion, get giant salaries at American universities, belying the widespread belief in their superior quality.

I can prove my point with two words: Niall Ferguson. And if that still doesn’t do the trick, read his rant in The Times two days ago.

It was ostensibly against populism but in reality against Brexit, hostility to which is shared by all American neocons. In this, Ferguson, British gone native in the US neocon circles, toes the party line with unwavering loyalty.

That line ends in an arrow aimed at the heart of Brexit. This stands to reason.

The neocons have never shaken their Trotskyist heritage. They’ve only shifted the same radical animus from a ‘permanent revolution’ promoting communism to a permanent war promoting Democracy.

That’s why they’re non-conservative statists. A global crusade for a particular political form (divorced in their minds from any underlying content) can only be undertaken by the omnipotent state. To be able to do that, the state has to grow pari passu with the scale of global ambitions.

Since any single state has limits to its expansion, the neocons support the notion of a supranational state, ideally governed by America. The EU is seen as an intermediate step on the road to such unification.

Hence in the run-up to the referendum Ferguson wrote articles with such robust titles as Brexit’s Happy Morons Don’t give a Damn About the Costs of Leaving.

When the vote went the other way, it took Ferguson some six months to recover from the shock. “My mistake,” he then wrote, “was uncritically defending Cameron and Osborne instead of listening to people in pubs.”

Translating from snide to human, it was uncouth pub-crawlers who swung the referendum in favour of British sovereignty. Clever people like Dave, George and above all Niall knew better, but made the tactical error of not tossing the louts a few crumbs off the Remain table.

Now that Trump has won in America and Corbyn almost did in Britain, Ferguson develops the same theme.

It’s worth mentioning parenthetically that, though Trump is many things, a neocon he emphatically isn’t. That’s why the neocons sputter spittle at the very mention of his name – and that’s why many of them voted for Hillary, who has all the intellectual failings of Trump plus the moral one of being downright evil.

In any case, the neocons have nothing against the Democratic Party. Some of their iconic founders, such as Moynihan and Kirkpatrick, were Democrats themselves. And all four American wars in the twentieth century, the two world wars, Korea and Vietnam, were started under Democratic presidents.

Closer to home, Ferguson explains the Brexit vote by the fact that “Politics in mid-2016 was dominated by populist memes [such as] ‘Take back control’”. And he explains Corbyn’s electoral success by the failure of said “populist memes”, those that led the unwashed masses into wishing to reclaim Britain’s independence.

It’s true that Mrs May’s incompetent campaign featured, inter alia, a demand for a mandate to take a strong stand against EU blackmail. But it’s not true that most votes cast against the Tories were really cast against Brexit and its ‘hard’ version in particular.

Let’s agree on one thing: ‘soft’ Brexit means no Brexit at all, which is why the likes of Ferguson support it. Formally leaving the EU but remaining in the single market and customs union means negating three key reasons – and I can’t think offhand of many others – for leaving in the first place.

Our parliament would still be subject to superseding EU laws. We’d still have little control of our borders. We’d still have to pay billions into EU coffers. Effectively we’d keep every disadvantage of EU membership while relinquishing even our minuscule 1/28th part of the control.

With the characteristic neocon knack for self-refutation, Ferguson unwittingly presents data giving the lie to his assertion that every vote against May was cast against Brexit.

First he writes that the election featured an usually high turn-out of young voters, with 67 per cent of those aged between 18 and 24 voting Labour. And second, “Only 8% of Labour voters said Brexit was the most important issue…”.

The first datum is a strong argument against the kind of democracy run riot that the neocons favour. The less qualified the electorate is to cast votes with selfless intelligence, the better it is for those wishing to entrench their own control. In that spirit the neocons and other crypto-socialists would gladly lower the voting age not just to 16 years but to 16 months.

Hence Ferguson’s implicit gloating over the swing of “the younger, healthier and better-educated” voters to Labour. He clearly shares the view of Trotsky, the spiritual progenitor of neoconservatism, that “the youth is the barometer of the nation”.

And yet Ferguson acknowledges that only eight per cent of Labour voters saw Brexit as important. How this proves that May lost votes because of Brexit escapes me, but then I’m not privy to the intricate thought processes of our intellectual elite.

“The younger, healthier and better-educated” voters so dear to Ferguson’s heart are those immediately before, during or soon after university. Since according to our sage himself they don’t attach much importance to Brexit, something else must have tickled their naughty bits, those the young use in lieu of brains.

Could it perchance be Corbyn’s irresponsible promise to abolish tuition fees and cancel the debts already incurred thereby? No, of course not.

Such narrow-minded selfishness would blow the neocons’ democratic totem sky-high, showing that even “younger, healthier and better-educated” voters are ignorant of, and indifferent to, the needs of society at large.

Ferguson’s analysis isn’t worthy of the name, representing as it does not serious thought but the longings of his apparatchik loins. Underneath it all, what matters to his ilk isn’t truth but victory for their perverse understanding of the world.

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