Brexit and the Diseased Liberal Mind

by Jonathan Cook

The enraged liberal reaction to the Brexit vote is in full flood. The anger is pathological – and helps to shed light on why a majority of Britons voted for leaving the European Union, just as earlier a majority of Labour party members voted for Jeremy Corbyn as leader.
A few years ago the American writer Chris Hedges wrote a book he titled the Death of the Liberal Class. His argument was not so much that liberals had disappeared, but that they had become so coopted by the right wing and its goals – from the subversion of progressive economic and social ideals by neoliberalism, to the ethusiastic embrace of neonservative doctrine in prosecuting aggressive and expansionist wars overseas in the guise of “humanitarian intervention” – that liberalism had been hollowed out of all substance.
Liberal pundits sensitively agonise over, but invariably end up backing, policies designed to benefit the bankers and arms manufacturers, and ones that wreak havoc domestically and abroad. They are the “useful idiots” of modern western societies.
Reading this piece on the fallout from Brexit by Zoe Williams, a columnist who ranks as leftwing by the current standards of the deeply diminished Guardian, one can isolate this liberal pathology in all its sordid glory.
Here is a revealing section, written by a mind so befuddled by decades of neoliberal orthodoxy that it has lost all sense of the values it claims to espouse:

There is a reason why, when Marine le Pen and Donald Trump congratulated us on our decision, it was like being punched in the face – because they are racists, authoritarian, small-minded and backward-looking. They embody the energy of hatred. The principles that underpin internationalism – cooperation, solidarity, unity, empathy, openness – these are all just elements of love

One wonders where in the corridors of the EU bureaucracy Williams identifies that “love” she so admires. Did she see it when the Greeks were being crushed into submission after they rebelled against austerity policies that were themselves a legacy of European economic policies that had required Greece to sell off the last of its family silver?
Is she enamoured of this internationalism when the World Bank and IMF go into Africa and force developing nations into debt-slavery, typically after a dictator has trashed the country decades after being installed and propped up with arms and military advisers from the US and European nations?
What about the love-filled internationalism of Nato, which has relied on the EU to help spread its military tentacles across Europe close to the throat of the Russian bear? Is that the kind of cooperation, solidarity and unity she was thinking of?
Williams then does what a lot of liberals are doing at the moment. She calls for subversion of the democratic will:

The anger of the progressive remain side, however, has somewhere to go: always suckers for optimism, we now have the impetus to put aside ambiguity in the service of clarity, put aside differences in the service of creativity. Out of embarrassment or ironic detachment, we’ve backed away from this fight for too long.

That includes seeking the ousting of Jeremy Corbyn, of course. “Progressive” Remainers, it seems, have had enough of him. His crime is that he hails from “leftwing aristocracy” – his parents were lefties too, apparently, and even had such strong internationalist principles that they first met at a committee on the Spanish civil war.
But Corbyn’s greater crime, according to Williams, is that “he is not in favour of the EU”. It would be too much trouble for her to try and untangle the knotty problem of how a supreme internationalist like Corbyn, or Tony Benn before him, could be so against the love-filled EU. So she doesn’t bother.
We will never know from Williams how a leader who supports oppressed and under-privileged people around the world is cut from the same cloth as racists like Le Pen and Trump. That would require the kind of “agile thinking” she accuses Corbyn of being incapable of. It might hint that there is a leftwing case quite separate from the racist one – even if Corbyn was not allowed by his party to advocate it – for abandoning the EU. (You can read my arguments for Brexit here and here.)
But no, Williams assures us, Labour needs someone with much more recent leftwing heritage, someone who can tailor his or her sails to the prevailing winds of orthodoxy. And what’s even better, there is a Labour party stuffed full of Blairities to chose from. After all, their international credentials have been proven repeatedly, including in the killing fields of Iraq and Libya.
And here, wrapped into a single paragraph, is a golden nugget of liberal pathology from Williams. Her furious liberal plea is to rip up the foundations of democracy: get rid of the democratically elected Corbyn and find a way, any way, to block the wrong referendum outcome. No love, solidarity, unity or empathy for those who betrayed her and her class.

There hasn’t been a more fertile time for a Labour leader since the 1990s. The case for a snap general election, already strong, will only intensify over the coming weeks. As the sheer mendacity of the leave argument becomes clear – it never intended to curb immigration, there will be no extra money for the NHS, there was no plan for making up EU spending in deprived areas – there will be a powerful argument for framing the general election as a rematch. Not another referendum, but a brake on article 50 and the next move determined by the new government. If you still want to leave the EU, vote Conservative. If you’ve realised or knew already what an act of vandalism that was, vote Labour.

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
wardropper
Reader
wardropper

What a good article this is.
Hits several nails right on the head, and takes the risk of offending people who were born needing to be offended.

Pablo Hansen
Reader
Pablo Hansen

It is always creepy to read or listen what these organized mad people say or try to push. They have no awareness of the implications in their death. It is interesting how they all look similar. Reddish skin, glasses, straight hair. Maybe they have the Borna virus, which alters behaviour, and gives those looks (bad eyes, red skin). Psychopats.

rtj1211
Reader
rtj1211

Perhaps the most amusing thing is her last exhortation: ‘if you believe in leaving the EU, vote Conservative’. Actually, most of the Labour Heartlands voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU. I don’t think they’ll be voting Conservative, they’ll be voting UKIP. Zoe Williams has proven herself such a prize political retard, numpty, cretin, ‘special needs child’, choose your insult: she has just advocated telling all the core Labour voters of the past 35 years to f**k off. Ah well, what does a privately educated, Oxbridge luvvie who lives in the nirvana of north London polite society know about the realities… Read more »

L Garou
Reader
L Garou

The best laid plans of liberals and neurotics, gang aft agley..
Especially when a gigantic monster in the form of millions of N. African miscreants, cretins and goblins, comes calling.

mikael
Reader
mikael

You nailed it so good its one of the few times its an plesure to read, in this common core times. By the way, Im am teacher to, before my spine/central system collapsed into some sort of MS, because of an acsident and painful to(cannabis), in process tec, just to give Them an hint. Hiihiiiho, they lost it, and even ( to-football, they managed to even make Me watch football, hehe, I never thought that would ever happend) little Iceland, the ONLY country so far that infact have done Something to the system. Everyone should look to Iceland, Incl the… Read more »

mitch
Reader
mitch

Zoe Williams is a presstitute establishment shill
Stop calling Tony Blair a war criminal. The left should be proud of his record
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/08/tony-blair-labour-pride-war-criminal-iraq

Petri Krohn
Reader

Re: “authoritarian, small-minded and backward-looking.”
American propaganda uses the term “forward-looking” in the same way Soviet propaganda would use the word “progressive”. It means someone who is committed to total subjugation to the Empire, to its unipolar form of “democracy”, to market totalitarianism (“market liberalism”) and to Western lack of values.

proximity1
Reader
proximity1

Good riddance to David Cameron. And good riddance to the Labour shadow cabinet members who have resigned and to those who might soon follow them. I almost pity Britain for fact that a resolute electorate, having had the good sense to vote “Leave,” now finds the spoiled and privileged half of their compatriots panicked and acting like frightened children in a dark room–who lack the composure to walk over and turn on the light switch–instead of summoning some goddamned commradery and standing beside their neighbours in a common effort to chart rather than to cheat the course ahead. What a… Read more »

Mike Parr
Reader

I disagree with Willam’s about Corbyn – but hard not to agree about “……… when Marine le Pen and Donald Trump congratulated us on our decision, it was like being punched in the face – because they are racists, authoritarian, small-minded and backward-looking. They embody the energy of hatred”……….is the writer supporting le Pen & trump? probably not – in that case why quote them? I’m puzzled.
As for the referendum – it is advisory – parliament ultimately decides.

Catte
Reader

No, the writer isn’t supporting Le Pen and Trump – that is why his article says “there is a leftwing case quite separate from the racist one” for Brexit. And he doesn’t quote Le Pen or Trump, those blockquotes are all from Zoe Williams in the Graun. Are you sure you read this article thoroughly before commenting?
But at least you now understand that parliament has to ratify the Brexit vote. 🙂

kgbgb
Reader
kgbgb

I’m open to correction by specific evidence, but my suspicion is that the “racism” of Trump and Le Pen is of the same epistemological status as the “racism” of all us Leave voters. It is the only explanation (that is acceptable to the Western oligarchy and its servants in the media) of the popularity of politicians who give a comparatively greater weight to the economic interests of the ordinary people of their country than to those of the international oligarchy. (Just as the Western media pretend that Putin is an autocrat and an oligarch, rather than a representative of the… Read more »

Sam Edi
Reader

“”liberals had disappeared, but that they had become so co-opted by the right wing and its goals – from the subversion of progressive economic and social ideals by neoliberalism, to the enthusiastic embrace of neoconservative doctrine in prosecuting aggressive and expansionist wars overseas”” Really? And what was the doctrine and ideals of the Brexit campaign? Freedom? Theresa May scrapping the Human Rights Charter? Taking back our sovereignty? We just handed our economic future on a plate to EU trade negotiators without any input from UK representatives. How is Brexit not an economic disaster for UK families, as well as EU… Read more »

Frank
Reader

The liberal bien-pensant at the Guardian seem to be having a collective nervous breakdown. This wasn’t supposed to happen. The counter-offensive against the democratic expression of the UK electorate is apparently intolerable to these people, and this counter offensive has only just begun. Paul Craig Roberts posits an all to plausible scenario as follows: ”Expect: — The British government to come back to the people and say, look, the EU has given us a better deal. We can now afford to stay in. — The Fed, ECB, BOJ, and NY hedge funds to pound the pound and to short British… Read more »

Richard Le Sarcophage
Reader
Richard Le Sarcophage

The Guardianistas are perfect examples of the psychopaths of the Right who totally dominate the Anglosphere. They fear and hate anything unlike themselves, and have no human empathy or compassion for them. The plebs who dared disobey orders and vote to leave they despise with class hatred of a particularly venomous kind, and one that grows year by year as they devolve into over more vicious forms. After forty years of neo-liberal brutality, the plebs might just be wakening to the fact that their true enemies are NOT the poor, weak, dispossessed, disabled, refugees, Moslems or even ‘Evil Putin’, but… Read more »

proximity1
Reader
proximity1

Brava for this.

falcemartello
Reader

Yeah according to this article as long as labour is run by an anglo-zionist. Forgive me for not being surprised at this article . I wouldn’t expect anything less farcical from such a rubbish rag. It ain’t worthy of wrapping fish in. at the rate the MSM is writing fiction these days it won’t be long before they become instinct. Hell hoping by the time they do call an election which we all know won’t happen Like Hillary Clinton after becoming Pres she will instigate detente with Iran,China and Russia and then will force the 1967 Palestinian resolution hence enabling… Read more »

stephen f. eisenman
Reader
stephen f. eisenman

Here is the speech Jeremy Corbyn should deliver to the nation tomorrow: Jeremy Corbyn, the progressive Labor leader, is now under attack. Here is the speech he should give tomorrow: “The majority has spoken and I have heard. They want out of the EU. My heart is with them. Though I argued during the recent campaign in favor of Remain, and believed that with hard work, the EU could be reformed, I nevertheless welcome the election result as a legitimate expression of dissent against the failed economic policies of the EU and the Tory Party. Don’t be fooled by the… Read more »

reinertorheit
Reader
reinertorheit

[[ I am going to travel from city to city, and town to town ]] I doubt he could find his way. New Labour have a tendency to pitch up in London, and never leave. John Two-Jags Prescott liked London so very much, that he set up home (with his secretary) in a grace-and-favour apartment at Admiralty Arch, and claimed 4000 pounds per year of luxury groceries while living there. He told his poor wife – back in his long-forgotten constituency – that he was ‘very busy runnin’ the country’. Yet he remains a valued Labour peer in the House… Read more »

Willem
Reader
Willem

In the Netherlands, our proudest national and lasting achievement is the making of the waterworks, that keep some parts of our below sea-level country safe from the sea. Started in the 50s and ended in the 80s for a total cost of 5 billion euro or 165 million euro per year. The war in Afghanistan (Uruzgan) started for the Netherlands in 2002 and ended in 2011 and has cost us 3.5 billion euro or 389 million euro per year. It led to nowhere or even worse: terror only increased since that time and the financial, mental and physical costs of… Read more »

Bonnie
Reader

Yes. This. Everywhere.