Cognitive Dissonance: The Dilemma of The Left

Updated below.

I’m still trying to figure out how what is called The Left, in the UK and elsewhere, can hold two seemingly contradictory positions in its condemnation of the Brexit.  On the one hand, they laudably criticize the neo-liberal agenda of austerity, privatization of public resources, and all the rest of the retrograde policies that have returned Europe (and wherever else 21st century capital has managed to extend its tentacles) to a neo-feudal state.  On the other, they criticize the Brexiteers of every political stripe of caving in to some minuscule but megaphoned far Right Wing racist agenda that will somehow weaken the UK, distancing it from the brotherly embrace of the EU.

This somehow reminds me of something called “cognitive dissonance”.

Need I remind anyone that the construction of the EU was designed by the US?  The largest criminal enterprise the world has ever known?  Adhesion to the EU, in any manner, is the equivalent to renouncing one’s autonomy, one’s freedom of choice.  Just look at Greece.  If the Brexiteers, having gained said autonomy, want to sign the toxic trade treaties with the US and return to vassal status, then that, obviously, would not be a good idea.  But I believe that the Brexiteers have a little more common sense than that.  The fear of losing status, of becoming somehow weaker is, in my mind, a red herring.  It’s an argument based on a bourgeois ideology long since identified and discredited.  The Brexiteers, knowingly or not, have, maybe intuitively, recognized the rot represented by the US proxies in Brussels, and have decided they no longer want to be a member of this club of arrogant sycophants.

When I was a child (in the fifties), I asked my father why a Russian farmer would want to fight an American farmer.  I can’t remember his exact response, but it was probably something along  the lines of the Russians being communist and that was bad.  Well, the Soviet Union is no more.  It turned out, for whatever reasons, to be a failed experiment.  Mr Putin has admitted that.

So what does this childhood anecdote have to do with the Brexit and The Left’s cognitive dissonance?  It has to do with breaking out of a pre-formatted existence.  And the corporate, neo-liberal way of doing things and presenting “reality” is about as pre-formatted as one can get.  Thatcher’s TINA.  It’s about breaking out of a binary way of looking at things.  Sure, there are things that should be pretty obvious.  “Thou shalt not kill” comes to mind.  Especially for no reason whatsoever.  The Leftists, who moan about a separation from the EU, who has followed this binary, close-minded logic, need to begin coloring outside the lines.

*****  Update

Dmitry Orlov has kindly taken the time to patiently explain the needed distinctions between Patriotism, Nationalism and, Fascism.  He carefully dissects the nuances of how they can be complimentary as well as toxic.  His entire post should be read, but here are his key definitions:

• Patriotism is one’s love of one’s native land and people. It is a natural, organic result of growing up in a certain place among a certain people, who have also grown up there, and who pass along a cultural and linguistic legacy that they all love and cherish. This does not imply that those not of one’s family, neighborhood or region are in any way inferior, but they are not one’s own, and one loves them less.

• Nationalism is a synthetic product generated using public education and is centered around certain hollow symbols: a flag, an anthem, some yellowed pieces of paper, a few creation myths and so on. It is supported by certain rituals (parades, speeches, handing out of medals) that comprise a civic cult. The purpose of nationalism is to support the nation-state. Where nationalism serves the needs of one’s native land and people, nationalism and patriotism become aligned; when it destroys them, nationalism becomes the enemy and patriots form partisan movements, rise up and destroy the nation-state.

• Fascism is the perfect melding of the nation-state and corporations, in the course of which the distinction between public and private interests becomes erased and corporations come to dictate public policy. An almost perfect expression of fascism is the recent transatlantic and transpacific trade agreements negotiated in secret by the Obama administration, which at the moment, to everyone’s great relief, seem to be dead in the water.

I think that pretty wells sums it up, but his entire post is worth reading.

As analyses of the vote illustrate, London, in general, and a high percentage of the rootless youth cohort voted Remain.  Think about it.  The City is the world’s capital magnet, trillions are traded every day, and the crumbs allowed to fall off the table, the commissions and salaries, are not insignificant when compared to the paychecks of those who still produce something tangible, and even larger to those whose jobs have been lost to off-shoring, or to those already retired whose pensions or savings cannot possibly keep up with inflation, whether stated or not.

This particular cohort has been mesmerized by the easy money made available by world capital, the very thing that is destroying the grand majority of citizens all over Europe (and essentially the world).  They are more attached to their electronic gadgets and agribusiness sponsored molecular cuisine than they are to their own roots.  They are the stateless “good little Eichmanns” following the capital carrot wherever a quick profit can be made.  Not unlike the private military mercenaries roaming the world, working for the same capital masters, sowing mayhem and destruction wherever they go.

They call themselves “world citizens”, “Europeans”.  When, in reality, they are nothing more than little foot soldiers, financial drone operators, hiding behind their keyboard and computer screens, just waiting for that moment when they can hit that Enter key and rip off another couple of billion dollars, cackling away like la Clinton:  We came, we saw, he died!

And this is what The Left is trying to defend?

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