The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Then the People Voted

First, it was the Brexit vote. There was no way the Brits would vote to remain a part of the EU. No matter that doing so gave power to centralized bureaucrats who often rule at cross purposes to the wants and needs of the British people. The elites said that the U.K. must remain a part of the EU mega-government, so stay it would. The polls indicated that Britain would stay, so stay it would. Until the people voted.

Next, it was the 2016 election in the United States. There was no way the Americans would vote to elect Donald Trump as President. Hillary Clinton was to be the next leader, no matter that she was demonstrably corrupt, provably dishonest, and mildly incompetent. The polls indicated she would win in a landslide. The elites on both sides of the aisle made no secret about their preference for her. The media was solidly in her corner. The deep state (we know know) was aggressively plotting against her opponent. She was going to win. Until the people voted.

Then it was Australia. The Labour Party (the political equivalent of our Democrat Party) ran on a platform of higher taxes, increased spending to combat the predicted (but not proven) global calamity associated with climate change, increased engagement with China, and a variety of other progressive positions. They were to be the clear winner in parliament. Polling indicated that Aussies would vote in Labour in a landslide. Australian bookies were so sure of a Labour victory, some paid off bets before the election. Labour would give Australia a more progressive parliament. Until the people voted.

Richard Fernandez comments:
Are polls wrong because people are concealing their true feelings from the woke vigilantes? Do they result from some confirmation bias that blinds us? There's a theory that the Titanic's lookouts couldn't see the ice ahead because North Atlantic temperature gradients refracted the berg's position like a mirage. We see what we want to see. True believers are especially vulnerable to the Tinkerbell effect, a kind of narrative causality, that makes desired ends seem closer than they are. Ideologues can unintentionally think that if you really believe that Labor or Hillary or Europe will triumph, then they will really prevail.

But it can equally produce the reverse Tinkerbell effect. "Legal scholar David Post coined the term to refer to the phenomenon in which heightened beliefs in something increase its likelihood to produce unwanted outcomes. For instance, if more people believe that driving is safe, more people will go out for a drive, causing chaos on the roads and thus driving becomes dangerous." Thus Hillary's confidence in her insurmountable lead caused her to skip campaigning in the "blue collar Rustbelt" and ironically undermined her.
But it's more than that. Across the world, elites suggest that their way is the only way, that their leadership is the only acceptable leadership, that everything should be centrally defined and centrally controlled.

But at least the elites make an attempt at pragmatism. The woke are entirely different. The Urban Dictionary defines the term this way:
Woke means being conscious of racial discrimination in society and other forms of oppression and injustice. In mainstream use, woke can also more generally describe someone or something as being "with it."
When the woke are considered in the context of the election loses already noted, we can add an overlay of an extreme level of political correctness that not only suggests group think, but demands it. Any criticism or opposition is labelled as racist or sexist. Stir in a media that echos these sentiments without the inherent skepticism that should exist to test these ideas. And add in a palpable condescension that labels those who disagree as bad people whose world view is "deplorable," and you've got a recipe for the votes in Britain, and the U.S. and Australia.

Although they lose elections, the woke have succeeded culturally, not because they win at the ballot box, but because they've won everywhere else—the media, entertainment, academia, the arts, education, some parts of government—and as a consequence, their ideas permeate our culture like no others. But there is pushback, lots of pushback.

Fernandez said something wise about the woke in a separate tweet:
The most remarkable thing about the woke is not their virtue but their presumption.
Without evidence, without factual backup, and with a level of hubris that is often astounding, the woke presume that their way is the only way. When their ideas, their policies, and their governance result in wreckage in the real world, they never, ever admit error—they double down.

In a way, all of this boils down to fantasy thinking. Believing something to be true doesn't make it true. In the end, maybe that's what really happened in the U.K, the U.S. and Oz. Then the people voted.