Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Brexit, Racism, Trump Part II

I think the not listening part is what's important. That gets tricky.  That is also what Black Lives Matter claims.  There is a certain Personality Disorder for which "You're not listening to me" means "You couldn't possibly be listening to me because you don't agree with me.  Anyone who was really listening would see things my way.  Therefore, when you disagree with me it proves you aren't listening." That is certainly my impression Black Lives Matter.  Yes, we hear you.  We all know that there is some prejudice by the police against black people, that this is not good, and it should be eliminated.  However, we don't think that's the whole problem, and you stop listening to us whenever we try to go there.

Is there a mirror here?  Are the Brexiters similar in their attitude, of claiming they aren't being heard simply because they aren't being agreed with?  The Brexiters aren't violent, and whatever racism they have is not as overt as BLM, but is it, at root, much the same thing - a refusal to see any view but their own?  They are certainly accused of it.

I'm trying to entertain the idea, but I just can't get my head around it.  I think one bit of evidence in favor of Brits actually listening to other points of view is that they themselves held different points of view not so long ago. The have long been frustrated with the EU - over beef, over chocolate - and have polled disapproval of it.  But packing up and actually leaving it has not been so popular.  That only covers the people in the middle, however.  Perhaps the confirmed Brexiters, that 30% that has wanted out no matter the ebb and flow of opinion?  Are they unwilling to listen, unable to be reasoned with?  Well, hmm, they haven't done a lot of marching and shooting about it, have they? No shutting down the speeches of others? No doubt some are bullheaded and can't be reasoned with.  Perhaps even a significant portion of them.  But the signs of aggressive refusing to listen just aren't there.

Lots of Europe was anti-EU because of unemployment long before the influx of Mediterranean refugees came in. As the newcomers swarmed into Greece and Italy people in Western Europe started to get worried.  They seemed rather...violent.  They didn't seem to be coming as devastated families of refugees but as opportunistic young men who were willing to riot at borders.  Along with this came all the assurances, accompanied by pictures of sweet children and young mothers, that they immigrants were a little rough around the edges, but were just fine.  I suppose they couldn't have tried to sell the idea by saying "these are mostly young men and lots of them are criminals and entitled, but we want to be generous to them anyway," but that would have at least been honest. The next step up was the one I think pushed it over, attracted those last few percentage points of Brexiters.  These men were clearly assaulting young women - in Germany, in Sweden, in Norway, in Hungary - but this was being downplayed or denied by the authorities.

The Brexiters have this suspicion.  No, these immigrants aren’t "just like us" except for living here for a generation. Our love of tea, and eccentric hobbies, and reading mystery novels, or watching weekly comedies is more than the sum of its parts.  It symbolizes the whole culture of we-didn’t-know-what. But now we know. They sexually assault women in public. Hundreds of them, thousands. However many want to work, there seem to be an unfortunate percentage of them that expect to be given things. Nigel Farage says we don’t want any more, and he’s a bit of an extremist, but we do say we want less.  Thank you.  signed The Public. Then the EU, with the support of the toffs – who aren’t seeing any problems in their neighborhoods – says we won’t get less, we’ll get more. That sort of attitude toward the people in the provinces tells then their culture is not merely eroding, as everyone’s does a bit over their lifetime, but is in danger of becoming unrecognizable in short order. 
It's the doubling down that did it.  The British complain a lot but have historically put up with a great deal.  Having been thrown a cookie would have been enough for many.  But virtue signalling being what it is, the Remainers couldn't bear to throw a cookie.


Boxty said...

You have a link in the final sentence that doesn't work and I think you wrote "could" instead of couldn't.

As far as the Brexiters go, "mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Fixed. thanks.

Grim said...

Somebody's not listening, but I doubt it's the Leave camp.

Texan99 said...

When I state a grievance, like "I'm upset because the county can't seem to find an ambulance service that can meet reasonable response-time goals, and yet the county is spending money on frills I think are lower priorities," and someone answers, "You must not be generous enough to care about preserving the environment for our grandchildren," that's when I get an unhappy feeling that I'm not being listened to. It's not that I expect my interlocutor to share my priorities (i.e., let's get the ambulance response times down and then worry about unregulated private water wells later), it's that the response appears to take no account whatever of the explanation I offered for my position. It changes the subject and mounts an unfair attack instead. I don't expect agreement, but I'd like the discussion to include an acknowledgement that I have one priority and my audience may have another. Then maybe we can have a civil discussion about different ways of prioritizing competing claims on time, attention, and resources.

In a more personal context, if I say "I don't enjoy BBQ," and a companion continues to suggest BBQ, my complaint "you're not listening" means something like "If your point is that you'd like me to make a minor sacrifice and accompany you to a restaurant I'm not crazy about, then I wish you'd come right out and say so instead of acting like you haven't absorbed the message about how I'm not crazy about that restaurant." In a discussion like that, I'm always wondering whether the message is that someone would like me to repeat myself at higher volume. Reflective listening is a useful skill.