Some on this side of the great divide have come to accept that the West is not going to vote itself out of its current decline. If the West is to survive, it will require a radical change in the political arrangements outside the democratic apparatus. Not everyone on this side accepts that. Some still cling to the hope that the ruling class will have an epiphany and begin to accept reality. Others think that if enough of the public wakes up to what’s happening, this will force the political class to yield.
It is an interesting question as to how people in the West, particularly heritage populations, really think about democracy. The new comers mostly think democracy is free stuff and a comfortable lifestyle, but the heritage population still has the residue of civic nationalism The Left, of course, despises democracy, despite their yelping about it. They see democracy as a means to an end. The rest have been conditioned to say they think liberal democracy is the best, but how many really believe it is unknown.
It is a worthwhile question to consider when watching the Brexit drama unfold over the next two weeks. The official version of this process is the British people had a referendum and they voted to leave the EU. The law put March 31, 2019 as the deadline for leaving and Parliament had until that date to work out a deal with the EU. If there was no deal, then Britain unconditionally leaves the EU. A deal to leave slowly and gently, however, would need to pass through Parliament. That was the orderly process laid out for Brexit.
As of this writing, the government of Theresa May has tried several times to get the deal she struck with the EU through parliament. The deal is an insult to the intelligence of the average British subject, so it has failed to get through parliament. The deal she cut is to leave the EU in name only. Britain would continue to allow Brussels to dictate terms on things like regulation, trade and most especially immigration policy. Those rooting for democracy have to be appalled by the craven cynicism of this ploy.
The Commons Speaker, which is like the head parliamentarian, ruled that Theresa May cannot submit her deal for a vote again, unless it is substantially altered, which is an impossibility at this point. That would mean Britain is headed for a hard Brexit at the end of this month. It would also mean that a responsible democratic government would now be moving to inform and prepare the public for that eventuality. Instead, the government is scheming with the EU to delay everything so they can have a second referendum.
Americans are familiar with this gag. Back in the dark days when marriage was linked to biological reality, left-wing agitators would get homosexual marriage initiatives onto state ballots. These initiatives would fail, but the agitators would get them on the ballot again the next election. The Left sees democracy as a bus. Once it takes you to your desired stop, you get off. That means they demand people keep voting on their issues until the people get the correct result. Once that happens, no more democracy.
This is the scheme the “Remainers” have always had in their back pocket. It’s why they have been happy to drag out this process for years, right to the deadline. This week, they will argue that the country is not prepared to meet the legal deadline, so there has to be a delay in the process. Of course, the point of the delay is to then get a second vote setup for later in the year. If that vote goes their way, that’s it. If they lose again, then the whole process begins anew as they scheme to undermine the results.
For Americans, watching this unfold is useful in understanding why Trump has become Jeb Bush. After the 2016 election, we saw a parade of Washington politicians stagger around shell-shocked at the result. What we did not see is how they immediately got to work plotting with one another as to how to undermine the new administration and the will of the public. Just as the political class in Britain has spent the last few years undermining the Brexit result, official Washington has worked tirelessly to undermine Trump.
Democracy can only work if the people in elected office and the political system see the will of the people as legitimate. They have to respect the system as much as the voters, in order for the system to function as designed. The trouble is, democracy selects for the cynically ambitious and sociopaths. The former sees the public as suckers to be fleeced, while the latter simply enjoys lying and deceiving. For democratic politicians, democracy is mostly just a game they play to amuse themselves.
For the public, democracy inevitably becomes a weird game of Russian roulette. In every election, no matter how hard they study the choices, the results are almost random. You vote to leave the EU, and three years later you’re voting on the same issue again or maybe the vote was ignored entirely. People forget that the French voted several times on joining the EU and all of those votes were ignored. In fact, most of what we see happening in the West has never seen any ballot anywhere. Immigration is an obvious example.
At some point, the absurd uncertainty of voting becomes obvious to even the most delusional civic nationalist. It’s why democracy always ends in authoritarianism. The certainty of a dictator, even a bad one, beats the randomness and uncertainty of the democratic process. There are probably plenty of Brits who would welcome the monarch taking control of the government again. Even the daffy Prince Charles is an upgrade over the circus of Parliament. At least the ceremonies would be fun.