Bubbles, Harbingers, and the Perils of Talking Past Each Other

If ever there was a nation-sized demonstration of the Pauline Kael intellectual bubble on the part of a national elite being caught with their metaphorical trousers down and their pale pasty behinds glowing radioactively for all to see … then the vote this last week for Britain to depart the EU at speed would be it. Here all the movers and shakers, the intellectual, social and political set were so certain in their own rectitude – and equally convinced of the stupidity, backwardness and flat-out racism of their fellow citizens … well, of course, I can almost hear the wailing from the Remainders all the way in Texas. Because – all the right-thinking people agreed with them; membership in the EU was a Positive Good, and the Way Forward, and the Wave of the Future, and such membership showered nothing but good things upon them ….

Well, it showered good things on the right-thinking people, but everyone else living outside the privilege bubble saw disadvantages up the whazoo, including the fact that basically, there was no appeal. Everything from the sugar content in jam to the proper curvature of bananas – and that was just the petty, annoying stuff – was all in rules written by some faraway bureaucrat who could never be sacked for cause, or voted out of office.

It was a transnational government without the consent of the governed. That absolutely has to get up peoples’ noses, having become accustomed for the last two hundred years or so of having some degree of input with regard to those in government, either through voting for them, or at the very least, being able to appeal effectively through protest and lobbying.

And of course, the absolutely crowning insult – after enduring the downside of EU membership, and being vocal about said downside – is a toxic combination of having your valid concerns not addressed in any meaningful fashion, but being disparaged as a racist, a nationalist, practically a Nazi, and a stupid old bitter clinger. Slapping down the race and xenophobia card is the last resort of those who actually have no concrete, defensible rationale for their actions, or are disinclined to defend them in a logical and rational manner: Shut up you stupid peasant, and let your betters make the meaningful decisions.

So in that sense, voting for Brexit was for ordinary Brits as much of an “up yours” to their establishment as backing Donald Trump is for ordinary, flyover country, working class Americans. (More along these lines from City Journal, here.)

8 thoughts on “Bubbles, Harbingers, and the Perils of Talking Past Each Other”

  1. I was trying to find that EU edict that declared that ordinary drinking water was life-threatening but google was not cooperating. I know if a similar blanket governmental organization was imposed on us many of us would feel the same way

    Unaccountable bureaucrats making edicts. We already have enough of them.

  2. I was in Brussels last September. Our hotel was right near the main square, called The Grand Place.

    The hotel was very busy and we were fortunate to get rooms. It was central and had a parking garage, apparently unusual in Brussels. The breakfast room was full every morning and with people speaking all the languages of Europe. The cast of characters changed nearly every day or so. I got the opinion that these people were not tourists but were on business. Since the only business in Brussels is the EU bureaucracy, I assumed they were all there to petition or lobby or influence in some way the EU.

    It was also the hotel that, after the terrorist attack, was sealed and no one was allowed to enter or leave for a week. Fortunately, we were home by then.

    There were Muslims everywhere, with mini-bazaars on main streets with lots of women in chadors.

  3. Brexit seems more and more sensible as we see what our bureaucracies think (or don’t think).

    Barely beginning to look at today’s links on Instapundit, I see ABC wondering what the causes of “cutting” are in America (with exclamations like “it is happening on American soil” and the child welfare agencies are falling down on the job).

    Then we see that a research facility our taxes have been supporting has been closed down, even though the falsifying of records began in 1998 and continued until 2014 (and had been noticed by 2008).

    These aren’t even the treason and greed of the Hillary contingent. This is just plain old, who’s running the store and my god have you (the bureaucrats, the tame news reports) no decency?

    I wondered how the mess in England at Rotherdam happened. But why should I have wondered. I knew the response to Fort Hood and not to San Bernadino and Orlando; I didn’t want to understand.

    I think if I were British I’d begin thinking about getting away from all foreign entanglements and doing some house cleaning. It might also be useful to stop thinking in terms of diversity and more in terms of natural law and human rights, respect for the autonomous individual and an internalization of responsibility, those nice old bourgeois values of respect for the dignity of others. Those are what made England free – diversity is the result of a belief in human worth and human rights; if it becomes the cause then these are the results. And it seems to me we have a pretty flawed character as house cleaner here – but we know who soils her own and our nests daily.

  4. No need to wonder how Rotherdam happened, it’s happening here:


    The Obama appointed U.S. Attorney is threatening those who discuss the matter:


    In a small town like Idaho Falls this kind of intimidation can work swiftly and seemingly already has. We’ve seen the efforts to shield inconvenient suspects take epic proportions before, and this latest fits that pattern.

  5. I am pretty certain that the sticking point for the ordinary working Brits who voted to leave was the absolute inability of anyone (unless they were one of the very wealthy and insulated elite) to counter many of the EU’s more insane and picayune rules. There was just no channel of recourse, it looked like from over here. “…to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed …” And there wasn’t a shred of consent from the governed for the antics of the bureaucrats in Brussels.

  6. Bill Brandt
    I was trying to find that EU edict that declared that ordinary drinking water was life-threatening but google was not cooperating. I know if a similar blanket governmental organization was imposed on us many of us would feel the same way.

    This is not precisely what you were looking for, but at least we get a picture of what EU bureaucrats have done. Bonfire of the EU laws: From crooked cucumbers to powerful vacuum cleaners, the barmy Brussels regulations we can now get rid of.

    4. Drinking water does not prevent dehydration

    In 2011, a ruling by the European Commission claimed that drinking water ‘does not ease dehydration’.

    EU authorities passed a law which claimed scientists had found no evidence to suggest drinking water stopped dehydration.

    Manufacturers of bottled water were prohibited from labelling products with claims that would suggest consumption would fight dehydration.

    One of the examples in the article is the banning of incandescent lights- which also occurred in the US.

  7. The EU was designed along the lines of a pillbox an example of which you can readily find along the Maginot Line. Well armored, but unapproachable by any but the ‘select few’.
    You cannot protest the declarations about the hydrating properties of water because you have no avenue of approach. The doors are locked and the windows barred. You cannot send a message asking for relief, for help, but only receive those messages emitted by the bureaucracy at their well-protected desks in the bowels of the Maginot. They have barracks and mess halls, dormitories and offices, all connected by little trains. They can and will outlast the protesters outside who just want their gripes to be heard, an occasion to verbalize their dissatisfaction. Impregnable. Absolute. Resolute. Wrong.
    With no external input, the buggy whip makers who inhabit that place will soon find their Commodore calculators unable to handle the smallest of problems. They will go on until the rations run out – unless tipped from their perch.
    The paper-clip orders for 1946 have been completed and sit in the out-basket, awaiting pickup and forwarding to the factories … It will go on until it cannot.

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