Wrong again

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Well blow me, those wiley foxes in Westminster suffered an outbreak of common sense yesterday and voted against Labour’s patently absurd plans to stop No Deal. I was almost as surprised as on Brexit day, and possibly a lot more pleased (my main reaction on June 23rd 2016 was ‘faaaaaaaaaaaaaackin’ ‘ell, what have we gone and done?’ – I honestly felt my vote was somewhat wasted, but the whole sovereignty issue was too important to not vote to leave).

I do like being proved wrong in these situations. Yesterday I was being, despite protestations to everyone not to be, a pessimist, so fed up am I with the incumbent set of MPs and their undemocratic, remainer bent, and Labour’s apparent intent to just vote for anything that might get them into power, no matter how silly or contradictory.

One thing I learned early in life is that there’s no point getting het up about having to be right. I spent my formative years as a vaguely evangelical christian, before I went to Uni and had that nonsense kicked out of me (in a positive, scholarly way). I’m still embarrassed about some of the stupid thing I said in those naive days. But since then I’ve learned to respect other people’s opinions (something I was also severely lacking), and allow apparent contradictions in life to just be.

We don’t know everything, we never will, and this is the beauty of life; it will always surprise us. It’s how we react to that surprise that counts. Too many people, dare I say of an intelligent, if left-leaning persuasion, get hung up on being right. They will keep coming back with arguments well after the conversation should have moved on.

I always find this a little depressing. I guess we all to it to a degree, the trick is to smile, accept that you disagree, and move on.

I believe

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Robert Tombs made an interesting argument yesterday on the difference between Leavers and Remainers. I’m not sure I entirely agree with the logic, but I do agree with the conclusions that on the whole, Remainers seem to come from a position of pessimism, while Leavers are naturally optimistic.

Tombs argues that the Remainers are irrational, and have an unhealthy fixation on their gut instinct that drives them to denigrate Britain’s ability to survive outside of the EU, and a logical consequence of this is to look down on the plebs of Britain, imagining themselves not British, but part of the greater European Empire. In contrast, Leavers must be rational optimists.

I would argue that the pessimism vs. optimism argument holds true, although the rationalism vs. irrationalism does not.

We are all ‘rational’ creatures, but what we ‘think’ about various subjects is down to our subsconsious (see Why Do I love You?). As our subconscious does not deal with language, emotions bubble up from our subconscious, mostly filtered through the right brain before the logical left brain can start to make sense of them.

Those opinions espoused by the subconscious are driven by our unconscious biases which have been shaped over the years by the countless stories we’ve been told and we repeat to ourselves. We try to make sense of these emotions with our logical, rational mind, and usually fail (or at the very best manage to stop ourselves saying anything too politically incorrect or embarrassing). Unless the debate is blindingly obvious, (and Brexit is not), rationalising anything usually ends up in us trying to grapple with things our brains can’t really deal with, so we just end up going with what we feel is right.

As the debate for Brexit was, from a rational perspective, fairly balanced (you could comfortably argue for or against), the final decision comes down to our unconscious biases. Thus, the general attitude towards Brexit of Leavers, from what I’ve seen, is one of optimism and belief in the country; that of Remainers, one of pessimism and a lack of faith in the country and its people. It is this issue of faith that is, I think, the real dividing line between Leave and Remain. It’s down to whether you believe we can or we can’t.

I personally choose the optimistic outlook every time. I believe that we are all intelligent, clever people (and not so dissimilar as those obsessed with class or of a liberal authoritarian bent would like to believe). We may express this in many different ways, which to me just makes the whole thing more wonderful. Time and again, we are the embodiment of proof that when we work together the result is much, much greater that the constituent parts.