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.


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Jul 6, 2016 10:53 PM

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
Pablo Hansen
Jul 4, 2016 12:51 AM

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.

Jul 1, 2016 1:09 PM

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 of being working class eh??
Bugger all.
PS I do. I was privately educated and went to Oxbridge too. But my PhD was done at the height of PhD salary scandals and my three years taught me what surviving on the edge was like. I wasn’t very good at it. So I have a healthy understanding of the trials, tribulations, stresses and breaking points of living on the edge in a world that doesn’t care……..

L Garou
L Garou
Jun 28, 2016 1:02 PM

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.

Jun 28, 2016 12:33 PM

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 Scots/Welsh, do it.
About what suverenety really means, not empty words coming from people that isnt even elected, but apointed, by an other non elected persons, and of course they dont like it, its Their ass witch is in the fire.
P.C. Roberts says the rest.
But, the MSM this days is like an divine comedy, an quire of howling morons and nobody talks about EU, but drules about Trump/Putin, that alone is hillarious, hehe, I cant help it, but to laugh at them.
And this, the real scare isnt the consequences of Britain leaving EU, nope, but like the Ukrainian theater, its the spin after that matters and how do they (MSM) do it, that worries me, because the western world is getting increasingly more polarized, marginalising people and creating situations where nobody wants to tell the truth, about everything, from the wacko Junkies in the EuroCrauts and Byrocasy creatures realms, thrue the downfall of economy/banking to the invasion of “refugies”, witch is nonsense and its all about perseptions,, aka propaganda.
I dont go into this for now, but this is basicly Austeretys and Bailouts of large international private own corps, fueled by an neoFaudal nepotistic fueled cleptocraty aka our scumbags called Polticians.
I could go on for hours about why we have them here in the first place, about wars and economy, imperialism and large multinational corps, their rape and plunder of Africa is an classical exerise on real time imperialism, aka why dont they ask Hoholander about Mali, the Coup they instigated after Malis peace agreement and their atempt to nationalise their recoursess.
Do enlighten me about demcrasy French.
I forgot, and so on.
But (again, hehe) thats not what worries me, its the beginning of an civil war, that worries me, the insane division in the MSM about islam, while they never, ever corrolates that with what They Do, fuel wahabism. arming wahabism, selling weponds
(cluster bombs and so on, to spike bombs I have seen the Norce airforce us in Syria, scary shit, even when it detonated, atleast 5 km away, you could hear the spike hit the wall behind the man filming this bomb go of and by all miracles the Norce claim nobody died, huh, yea, santa is suddenly becomed more trustwurthy that the nonsense we are feed by the MSM)
And the hyping of racism if anyone states something even remotely conected to Not wanting this people in our house.
Why be tallerant to people that behaves as savages with no tallerance what so ever.
The facts is quite clear, they want a race war, but first Religion must be made to be the first causalty, and then its mutch easyer to fuel an race war, aka against Arabs,wtich by some obscure reason is always portrayed as Muslims, that is an flatout lie.
WHY is white people in the MSM and Twitters/Facebook been scorn, even “liberal/leftis/ughh….knowswhatelse” openly advocate violence and hate against elderly white people, that trend is what will be first steps to fuel an race war, and along with the influx of people, where Wahabists hide.
The ugly truth.
Labour is This:
Israel is burn and killing Christians as ISIS is doing, this two insane perseptions of reality, are brothers, wahabism and zionism, born from the same Tribe, maintained by the same tribe, the Saudis are genuine “jews”.
Like Kurds and some Turks, the famous/infamous Young Turks was an fullblown Jewsish Run org, nationalistic and tribal racism, but we dont talk about that do we, afraid of offending anyone, huh.
Truth is an bitch isnt she.
Both, is stealing and creating their history by forging and lies, builded upon other peoples, whom have been there for eons of time.
I know all about that, in real time, because Im a Skolt.
Haplogroup V Velda.
Thats why The Leftis freaks never have spoken for us, never, and the others, dont know because of the nationalistic Norce propaganda aka the education system.
And on topp of it, I can prove everything I say.
They cant, thats why they lie and cover this issues up all the time, and its NOT only confined to the North, but to the Levante to.
And the Rightwinged Gov. whines about racism and nationalism, huh, in Norway, where they moved the Home of the Giants, the home of the Jots, Jotunheimen, down to the south of Norway, and so on, nothing of their history is infact true, nothing, the viking era is one massive bluff.
And the Scots are orginialy Finns, like NORge/NORway was founded by an Finnish kings youngest Son, prince Nor.
Intresting times indeed.
And find this debate so childish, that thank god for PS4.
And Iceland.

Jun 27, 2016 5:33 PM

Zoe Williams is a presstitute establishment shill
Stop calling Tony Blair a war criminal. The left should be proud of his record

Petri Krohn
Petri Krohn
Jun 27, 2016 5:03 PM

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.

Jun 27, 2016 4:35 PM

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 spectacle! What petty minds and hearts now occupy the seats of power in Britain! Goddamn it all! Where is the nation that fought through the Blitz? Where are the Scots who said of Hitler’s campaign, “If England falls, it’s going to be a long war!” ?
Bunch of gutless, High Street Starbucks-sipping posers bereft of common sense, common heart, imagination and pluck.
Shake yourselves! For God’s sake! I see nothing but people utterly filled with the most implacable sense of impending doom when there’s simply no cause for it! Let the morons in the stock-market take the share-value losses they deserve! Let the housing market cool from its glowing red-hot state!
Goddamn! There are no small number of people in real dire need and suffering! Think of them! This exit is the only thing that offers a reasonable hope that Britan might put a stop to the programmed blight by austerity of millions more Britons’ lives–lives which don’t count for shit among The Guardian‘s comfortable coup-schemers and fomenters.

What lie ahead are administrative tasks and rearrangements.  There are middle-level civil servants who can figure out how to make this transition and there is the all the time necessary in which to do it.

If there really were a serious crisis at hand, The Guardian should never have dared to help create a phony one with the cooperation of Hilary Benn.

He and his fellows, newly-resigned from the shadow cabinet,  could do their country a real service by all having a sudden and fatal coronary infarction.

“In Critical and baffling situations, it is always best to return to first principle and simple action”

Mike Parr
Mike Parr
Jun 27, 2016 12:56 PM

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.

Jun 27, 2016 1:29 PM
Reply to  Mike Parr

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. 🙂

Jul 15, 2016 8:01 PM
Reply to  Catte

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 interests of ordinary Russians.)

Sam Edi
Sam Edi
Jun 27, 2016 12:08 PM

“”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 ones?
Leaving the EU is one thing, doing it the Brexit did it, is another. No prior negotiations, no economic planning, no safeguarding of essential rights, and no, it was not Democratic! Democracy cannot exist unless the electorate is given sufficient factual information with which they can form an opinion.

Jun 27, 2016 8:56 AM

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:
— 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 stocks in order to convince the British voters that their vote is sinking the economy.
— More emphasis on the vote’s weakening of Europe, leaving all to the mercy of “Russian aggression.”
— Hard to resist bribes (and threats) to prominent members of the leave majority and pressure on such leave leaders as Boris Johnson to be reasonable, concillatory and to maintain good relations with Washington and Europe, and to reach a compromise on remaining in the EU.
— Expect the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) to attribute the loss of British jobs and investment opportunities to the leave vote.”
Universal suffrage took almost 100 years to establish in the UK. Through various reform bills of 1832, 1867, 1918, 1928 a democratic electoral system was established. But even now to call the UK’s system democratic is stretching credulity. We have a non-elected Head of State, a non-elected second chamber, an unwritten constitution (which means in practice no constitution at all), a legislature dominated by the executive, a parliamentary system which is in fact a Presidential system, and a first-past-the-post electoral system which results in a political duopoly, where a minority vote can and does lead to one party government.
And apparently the liberal-class through their Guardian flagship thinks even this truncated democracy is both dangerous and passe. The aim is to run history backwards so only people of their persuasion can vote. This is in fact treasonable and should be thought of and treated as such.

Richard Le Sarcophage
Richard Le Sarcophage
Jun 28, 2016 2:11 PM
Reply to  Frank

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 the insatiably greedy parasites of the transnational elite and their political and MSM stooges. And if the peasants’ revolt spreads any further-look out!

Jun 27, 2016 8:52 AM

Brava for this.

Jun 27, 2016 6:58 AM

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 Palestinian self determination.

stephen f. eisenman
stephen f. eisenman
Jun 27, 2016 3:38 AM

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 rhetoric — they are one and the same.
At this very moment, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and their friends are plotting how to turn their unexpected (and even unwelcome) victory into new profits for themselves and the elite of international hedge-fund buccaneers he represents. They want to decimate the NHS, destroy trade union rights, privatize what public services remain, and make the UK a wholly owned subsidiary of the bankers and financiers that have already bled this country dry.
Don’t let them do it! Let’s get on with the business of creating an independent, internationalist, prosperous, cooperative, and proud United Kingdom. Let’s establish a safe and fair immigration policy that provides welcome to those legitimately fleeing war and seeking opportunity, but that denies it to any who mean to do us harm. Let’s establish a free and fair trade policy with Europe, but one that protects the rights of our citizens and businesses and restores our environment. And lets reach out to our brothers and sisters in Scotland and Ireland and assure them that we cherish the same goals as they, and want to work together to achieve them.
In the next few weeks, I am going to travel from city to city, and town to town explaining my vision for a progressive, successful, peaceful and prosperous way forward for all of us. I want all of you to come out and meet me, tell me your own hopes and dreams – and yes, your fears too. I want to hear it all, and I want to offer my vision of a truly united, United Kingdom.”

Jun 27, 2016 12:10 PM

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 Afghanistan refugees (and soldiers returning home with ptss) are not included in this equation. It surely made the military industry more rich, which is not a proud and lasting achievement.
In 2008, Dutch banks and insurance companies needed to be bailed out by the government which has cost us 20 billion euro by one penstroke of our finance minister. It did not stop the financial crisis that we are in, but it surely prevented corporations and bankers to become less rich. Which is not a proud and lasting achievement.
In 2016 the ruling government is (long) out of ideas that work. So they come up with fear mongering, austerity (for the poor), and more money to the military and corporations, which at least makes them not less rich. But the people are squeezed out of money (so austerity does not work) and we should not fear (even though the nuclear threat with Russia is real but not solved by fear and created by ‘us’).
The solution to all of this is to start creating ideas that work in parts of your own country, leading to work in parts of your own country and an achievement that is lasting in your own country and that makes you proud. Like the waterworks in the Netherlands.
As a Dutch person, I therefore do not see Brexit as a lack of solidarity with Europe. Brexit is more an example of which I hope that more EU countries will follow it, i.e. not to think Big (banks, corporations and the military who control the world for the ‘benefit’ of us), but small (people working together for the benefit of people). More controllable (less chance of self-enricnent, fraud) and much more fun to do (creating something together instead of creating things for someone else).
But what should we do then with the elites? – Which is the reason why the elite call Brexit a crisis… It is the elite’s crisis, and an opportunity for the rest of the people…
I am sure one has said this better and can say this better and more nicely than I do here. Still I think that this thought is worth to share here.

Jun 27, 2016 8:21 PM
Reply to  Willem

Yes. This. Everywhere.

Jun 27, 2016 2:57 PM

[[ 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 of Lords.
I wonder what was going through Corbyn’s mind as he stood there as Cameron’s Mini-Me?
George Galloway – a man happy to jump into bed with Bozo, Govo, Nigo and Heffalump – writes on his Twitter feed that Corbyn is apparently now considering a War Crimes tribunal against Tony Blair? While this may be very charming… has this only just come into Corbyn’s mind? What the hell was he been thinking of for the past fifteen years? And does he plan any action against Hattie Harridan, who cheered on the bombing of civilian targets in Serbia by NATO???
The Labour ship against EU/NATO crimes sailed long ago. Only Dennis Skinner was on board. Corbyn was at a champagne party elsewhere.