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Suffering a lack of influence is undemocratic, which is why centrists currently have their knickers in a twist.

Why has yearning for change overwhelmed our nation’s liberal sensibility and damaged its previously healthy intolerance of bullshit? To whose opinion do we now defer? And why does lucidity of the situation yield no gain?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″ offset=”vc_hidden-xs”][vc_empty_space height=”40px”][vc_single_image image=”1600″ img_size=”full” alignment=”right”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”5/6″][vc_column_text]

The philosophy of opinion

Life is full of choices, decisions, battles to be fought. Central to our ability to make meaningful progress is a subconscious and therefore instinctive grasp of self (Freud described this as ego in his early work). This is essentially a hardened and weathered in-built philosophy, without which we cannot readily agree or disagree with anything.

When presented with a choice, before the stage of deliberation, we know fairly quickly what our preference is, and also what it should be. This is because we have built up a firm understanding of self; who we are, what clan we’re in, how we like to be perceived, notions of wrong and right, recalling how we were judged after previous choices.

When we weigh up options, we are potentially diverging from that instinct, but even the most persuasive of arguments is not always enough to sway people. In this situation, there’s another social layer to your onion – a consideration of how your decision is going to be viewed by others, and then how that affects their perception of you and your previous assertion of principles.

In the delivery of an opinion, nobody endures hypocrisy; it is on a par with deceit (see The Truth About Lies). So you need your ducks in a row when other people witness a choice you have to make.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″ offset=”vc_hidden-xs”][vc_empty_space height=”40px”][vc_single_image image=”1600″ img_size=”full” alignment=”right”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”5/6″][vc_column_text]

Subjects of the subjective

Is anyone making a choice above suspicion? Well, you choose.

The opinionated

Some people deal with a social choice by asserting their instinct proudly (and sometimes loudly). They are always right, even when they’re wrong. They’ve put all their eggs in one basket, so treat them with a little suspicion in case the nest falls out of the tree. Being overtly opinionated is usually a sign of intransigence, but they’ve taken a risk so should be acknowledged, if not applauded, for their decisiveness.

The sheep

Some like to be seen to be in the majority, so they hold off until others have spoken. Whilst this may ultimately paint them as hypocritical, at least it is mitigated by the consensus view. But they should be treated with suspicion too. Nobody endures hypocrisy, remember?

The dissenters

A few will present an intentionally controversial opinion. This could be simply because they love a fight, they know that the gullible will sometimes fall for it, they need to practice opposition for next week’s Toffington School debating society meeting, or they have another agenda unrelated to the matter at hand. These people are beyond suspicion, they are generally best disregarded whenever possible (which is undeniably difficult when it’s your president, your MP, your boss or your ex-wife).

The changelings

Opinions can be swayed, but it is a rare creature indeed who can have their instinct altered. Unlearning is a fearful challenge. It is impossible in most cases. So anyone claiming to have achieved this should definitely be treated with great suspicion.

The boffins

Few situations nurture the changeling. Science is a notable exception. Scientists will state an opinion knowing it’s possibly wrong, but trusting it will eventually be proved one way or the other by a bunch of experts. This requires unknowing, so they get used to instinct being a guide only. In some ways, this makes decisiveness impossible, because they have to wait for confirmation. Whilst this is an admirable form of discourse, a by-product of their possible wrongness is that their opinion should also be treated with suspicion.

The blank

All of the above groups may subconsciously consider another tactic before their head inundates with the competing influences of the super-ego. The fallback position is nothingness, meh; a kind of mediocrity void in which presentation of any opinion is too great a risk to tolerate. Anyone failing to climb out of this abyss is going to be a problem of one sort or another, a blank in your gun.

These could be the yes men in your organisation, your community, your political party, your family, your circle of friends. Or they could be the don’t give a fuck men. Or they could be incapable of forming an opinion at all, perhaps deserving the title what the fuck? men. All of them hide behind either silence or the words ‘I don’t know’. Don’t get me wrong, it can be ok not to know, but is it ever ok not to know what you know? So people without opinion should be treated with an enormous amount of suspicion.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″ offset=”vc_hidden-xs”][vc_empty_space height=”40px”][vc_single_image image=”1600″ img_size=”full” alignment=”right”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”5/6″][vc_column_text]

The acquiescence of liberalism

Acquiesce: verb: accept something reluctantly but without protest: Sara acquiesced in his decision.

This is how my dictionary presents the word acquiesce. Sara is apparently male. Poor thing, cruel parents.

A choice to be faced after a decision is made is whether or not we accept it. Democracy tells us that the majority rules, and while we cling to our precious right to protest, there is an undeniable sense that this is a little unseemly, a little un-British, particularly amongst liberal folk.

And since the alternatives to democracy include historical haemorrhoids like Lenin’s Red Terror or Hitler’s mad ambition, we are necessarily bound by the intractable power of the polls.

Acquiescence is an admission that we are without influence. That we accept something we disagree with is tantamount to complicity. Suffering a lack of influence is undemocratic, which is why centrists currently have their knickers in a twist.

The Brexit referendum saw democracy wield an exacting blow upon itself, in which political extremes garnered an unstoppable momentum based on false opinion. A slender majority was enough for a juggernaut of massively impactful constitutional reengineering to start rolling down the hill, which inevitably leaves roughly half of the British population squirming in its own acquiescence.

The problem before was holding a referendum at a time coinciding with a general appetite by the disillusioned for change of any kind. The problem now is not so much the efficacy of tried-and-tested democracy, it is what to do with the perfect storm of the black and white ‘yes/no’ question that was asked and the almost equal result. Richard Dawkins sums it up nicely here:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaySOifpusg”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″ offset=”vc_hidden-xs”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”5/6″][vc_column_text]The promise of certainty was a weapon brandished incorrectly by both sides, but the liberal elites somehow failed to energise voters, or dispel the outrageous opinions of UKIP. Boris Johnson gave it all a credibility it did not deserve, despite his haphazard style; he was a Prime Minister in waiting, so surely he wouldn’t lie?

And now the incumbent political elites lead the vanguard of our reluctant acceptance because presumably their think tanks have decided that uncertainty is the thing to be avoided at all costs.

There are protests about the protests. People brave enough to still question the result are immediately painted as sore losers, ‘remoaners’, undemocratic. In such an intimidating environment, even cultured polemicists and articulate communicators find themselves ridiculed. The Brexiteers have their hands on their ears, singing can’t hear you very loudly.

Britain was confused by the opinionated and tricked by the dissenters. The social media bubble we inhabit encouraged the sheep by empowering them with a fake view of the consensus. The blanks misfired (no surprise there then). The changelings are a mystical race that I probably shouldn’t have even mentioned. We’re still waiting to hear from the boffins.

The problem with the acquiescence of liberals and moderates and centrists is that a significant number of highly rational people suddenly appear no different to the blanks, either running like lemmings off the cliff, stupefied into inaction (unless you count tweeting WTF? and an Edvard Munch emoticon occasionally), or we genuinely don’t give a fuck.

Either way, this ironically adds our number to the army of the disillusioned we were so inept at winning over before the referendum. Ultimately, our complicity in this nonsense exacerbates the country’s diminishing gravitas on the world stage by showcasing the quivering frame that used to house our backbone.

So I would ask again, is it ever ok not to know what you know? Welcome to the mediocrity void.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row]