The Brexit Reaction Is The Reason Brexit Happened

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Matt Taibbi, originally posted at,

...the freedom to make mistakes is itself an essential component of freedom.

As a rule, people resent being saved from themselves. And if you think depriving people of their right to make mistakes makes sense, you probably never had respect for their right to make decisions at all.

This is all relevant in the wake of the Brexit referendum, in which British citizens narrowly voted to exit the European Union.

Because the vote was viewed as having been driven by the same racist passions that are fueling the campaign of Donald Trump, a wide swath of commentators suggested that democracy erred, and the vote should perhaps be canceled, for the Britons' own good.

..."This isn't democracy; it is Russian roulette for republics. A decision of enormous consequence… has been made without any appropriate checks and balances."


..."Since ancient times," he wrote, "philosophers have tried to devise systems to try to balance the strengths of majority rule against the need to ensure that informed parties get a larger say in critical decisions."


..."Elites matter in a democracy," Sullivan argued, because they are the "critical ingredient to save democracy from itself."

I would argue that voters are the critical ingredient to save elites from themselves.

The overall message in every case is the same: Let us handle things.


"Too much democracy" used to be an argument we reserved for foreign peoples who tried to do things like vote to demand control over their own oil supplies.

Now it's not just carpetbagging visitors to the Third World pushing this line of thought. Just as frequently, the argument is aimed at "low-information" voters at home.

Democracy appears to have become so denuded and corrupted in America that a generation of people has grown up without any faith in its principles.

What's particularly concerning about the reaction both to Brexit and to the rise of Trump is the way these episodes are framed as requiring exceptions to the usual democratic rule. They're called threats so monstrous that we must abrogate the democratic process to combat them.


My admittedly primitive understanding of democracy is that we're supposed to move toward it, not away from it, in a moment of crisis.

It doesn't mean much to be against torture until the moment when you're most tempted to resort to it, or to have faith in voting until the result of a particular vote really bothers you. If you think there's ever such a thing as "too much democracy," you probably never believed in it in the first place. And even low-Information voters can sense it.

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BandGap's picture

Taibbi is an asshole writing for Rolling Stone. Fucking idiot.

hooligan2009's picture



Are you allowed to say that? Surely Taibi's view that you msut be a racist is more important than your view that he is a fucking idiot?

toady's picture

Don't call me Shirley 

putaipan's picture

boaty mcboatface redux.

SWRichmond's picture

Hey Matt, 

Rolling Stone wants to ban guns.  Time to pick a side, buddy.  Choose well.

Stuck on Zero's picture

The problem is that we're calling it Democracy. An old and venerable term that has become stale. The younger generation needs a new, modern term and I vote for:

                  "Crowd Sourced Leadership"


ThaBigPerm's picture

Referencing America (presumably the USA, not the pair of land masses comprising the "New World") in the same breath as democracy proves the author neither understands democracy, America, nor our founders' dim view of democracy.

SmackDaddy's picture

Funny he should mention carpetbaggers. Pretty sure those were carried by a particular demographic:


glenlloyd's picture

Aside from the racist comment, which is utterly stupid, he's got a very good point.

It's all fine and dandy until the votes stack up in favor of the solution you don't like, and then there's a lot of crying and whining about how the process is flawed or we need a 'do over' of some sort.

How about we let the fuckin people decide and get the rest of the turds out of the way and away from the microphones.

cdevidal's picture

Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.

TBT or not TBT's picture

Which is to say that the British do not possess Liberty. An englisman's castle is his prison, which he cannot defend, with or without arms, nor even verbally, because the pervasive state will punish him for doing or saying such things.

cdevidal's picture

Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time-ah

SWRichmond's picture

Liberty is a well-armed sheepdog who refuses to live in this contemptible manner.

Bastiat's picture

That "asshole writing for Rolling Stone" is the one who coined the name "vampire squid" for Goldman Sachs in this famous line:  "“a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity."   

Matt Taiibi, through Rolling Stone, brought the Wall St. crimes behind the sub-prime meltdown to a very wide audience.  Compelling prose, some real depth and with the an invigorating sense of moral outrage.  There was nothing else like it anywhere in the MSM.  Matt Taiibi:  balls, passion, brains, and a wicked pen.




jwoop66's picture

How much government cupability did he bring to our attention?  If he mentioned it at all, was it just a quick blurb?  


Don't forget the many times govt threatened the big banks to make loans to the poor disfortunates, or else be labeled mean old racists, and threatened with fines and punishments.  


I'm not a fan of the banks, but as always, government is the biggest criminal/problem. 

TBT or not TBT's picture

Bingo. Taibbi riled up the Bernie/Warren/Occupy part of that story, obfuscating the biggest fish of all in the story. The Federal Government in all of its branches, and mostly just one political party. That of Dodd and Frank and certain former ACORN type currently serving in the White House.

Oldwood's picture

We are protecting ourselves from ourselves.

There is no place for democracy, much less liberty, in that equation.

GeezerGeek's picture

"We have met the enemy and he is us!"

Of course we need to protect ourselves from ourselves.

Jtrillian's picture

Said the bankster with a straight face. 

Jstanley011's picture

"...the same racist passions that are fueling the campaign of Donald Trump..."


What an idiot.

ZeInfidel's picture

Actually, the line in the article is "the vote was viewed as having been driven by the same racist passions that are fueling the campaign of Donald Trump"


That's a big difference, and perhaps changes who the idiot actually is.  Replacing the key first 9 words of the author's sentence with an ellipsis completely changes the context and meaning.  

Row Well Number 41's picture

Agreed, if you're going to quote them, then do it right.  It's not like running the cursor over the rest of the sentence is that hard.

Strelnikov's picture

When a Leftist journo like Taibbi use phrases such as "some would say" or  "Some view it as", what he is saying is "This is what I think" or, in the alternative, "This is what everyone in the news room thinks."

Al Gophilia's picture

Reading for Comprehension 101; a course in high school lond forgotten.

ArkansasAngie's picture

Being a racist is the only acceptable reason for voting for Trump.


How about throwing the status quo through the window? 

jomama's picture

Agree that comparing the Brexit supporters to Drumpf supporters is totally inaccurate.

Sir John Bagot Glubb's picture

Yea, right, no's just about immigration but obviously the  two phenomonons have absolutely nothing in common........

as usual jomommie, you get more down votes than just about anyone around here.........must be your astute Trump observations, I'm sorry Dumpff, ...maybe you should blog at Huffington Post......they'd love your Dumpff moniker over there......

ZeInfidel's picture

Yet, these same people loudly declare such stats as "90% of people want more gun control" - sometimes pleb opinion matters, sometimes not.  Depends on when it's convenient for the larger goals.

robobbob's picture

pleb opinion of the masses matter, right up until that opinion is to crush minority or individual rights

ZeInfidel's picture

pleb opinions matter when convenient...or successfully manipulated to side with what powers-that-be want.  where that's not the case, the plebs are 'racist, sexist, homophobic, islamophic, rubes, bitter clingers' or other term employed to isolate, humiliate and discredit until they are quiet or capitulate.

Luke 21's picture

Democracy is overrated. It is individual rights and the rule of law that is most important.

CoCosAB's picture

"rule of law" written by each individual!

Luke 21's picture

That is called mob rule and it does not respect the individual's rights.

gmak's picture

you're mad at Tabibi because he quotes other idiots who are looking for an excuse to roll back the vote?  Did you even read what was written?

TradingIsLifeBrah's picture
TradingIsLifeBrah (not verified) Jun 27, 2016 4:54 PM

The latest rationale being used is that if you voted for Brexit you are a racist.  WSJ and NYTimes are running with that one.

PhoQ's picture

Maybe we need to get used to the idea that some people actually are racists and get on with our own perfect lives.

CoCosAB's picture

""Elites matter in a democracy," Sullivan argued, because they are the "critical ingredient to save democracy from itself.""

Absolutely right!

Although - being fucking hilarious - the reality is that the herd of slaves is dumb as fuck!

robobbob's picture

"herd of slaves is dumb as fuck" true enough

but who exactly made it so, and why? it was illegal to educate slaves, and for good reason

As the one of the institutions behind the founding of the American education establishment, the Rockefeller Foundation stated:

"In our dreams, people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present education conventions of intellectual and character education fade from their minds, and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk.
     We shall not try to make these people, or any of their children, into philosophers, or men of science. We have not to raise up from them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen -- of whom we have an ample supply.
     The task is simple. We will organize children and teach them in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way."

The herd is dumb as fuck, and the elite do everything in their power to keep it that way.

allamerican's picture

matt, freedom isabitch huh..

i_call_you_my_base's picture

The "elites" don't get, and they won't until it's too late for them.

This is the best article I've read on Brexit so far:

Glenn Greenwald

jskern's picture

From between the lines of that article I'd say that Greenwald finds nationalism too distateful to understand what's really going on with BREXIT. Brits--yes, WHITE, Christian, English-speaking people--want to be the overwhelming majority in their own country and to vigorously protect their culture from stealth invaders and globalist leaders. And they're sick and tired of being thought of as racist cretins by people like Greenwald (and I'm not referring to his ((echo))) for fealing this perfectly normal, human desire. In the US, Trump has tapped into the same sentiment. I know it's shocking, but Americans want to put America and Americans (yes, majority white, christian, English-speaking people) first.

naiverealist's picture

It is extremely presumptious to say that a democratically ordained "Brexit" is due to the ignorance of the unwashed masses.  I have met many an "elite" (or those who thought they were) that were remarkably ill-informed, behind the times, or just plain stupid.  Their only redeeming quality, as far as they were concerned, was their rapacious greed and success from it.

Whalley World's picture

V the Guerrila Economist had a guest writer on after Brexit, Banskster Slayer.  He said the fix was in alright, by the London bankers to rig the vote to leave in order to abandon bankrupt USA and Europe and to cuddle up to Russia and China to become part of the new Silk Road.

Makes sense if you think about it., great site.

TradingTroll's picture

Haha. Funny. The City of London  voted Bremain and now has a referendum to secede from the UK. The bankers, the ones who count anyways,  are in the City.

Secret Weapon's picture

Tabibi is the guy who first called GS the "vampire squid".  He has called BS on wall street corruption for a number of years now.  His writing is always worthy of consideration, if only to get another viewpoint. 

PhoQ's picture

True. But I wish he'd check his baggage at the door when he settles in to write.