The human brain is extremely limited in its ability to reason and human memory is very fallible. We tell ourselves self-aggrandizing stories about how wonderfully clever we are but over the last 70 years clinical data has refuted every one of our inflated notions. In reality most of us are closer to the Keystone Kops than to the very few clever people of our species such as Richard Feynman or Oliver Sachs.
This is why almost all of human history is the story of one blunder after another. We subsequently pretend the parade of follies was because of strategic imperatives or the grand march of progress or political necessity or some other nonsense. We do this so that we can avoid having to accept our own fundamental cognitive limitations. We don’t want to face up to the fact that we’re all inept when it comes to the business of understanding the world around us and inept at making adequate decisions based on this faulty understanding.
But it is essential that we accept just how limited our mental capacities are if we ever want to escape from a never-ending series of self-harms and catastrophic errors.
To this end, we will now stroll back in time to 2016 and over to the dis-United Kingdom and insert ourselves into the cramped and sparsely furnished mind of Mister Johnathan Ruddiman, a fervent Brexit supporter.
Mr. Ruddiman is sixty-nine years old, skims the Daily Mail for his news, and is an avid supporter of his local football club. He left school at sixteen and spent much of his working life on an assembly line. His favorite parts of Christmas are watching the Queen’s Speech and yet another re-run of The Battle of Britain.
According to the chattering classes, Mr. Ruddiman and his ilk voted for Brexit in 2016 as a protest against globalization, as a protest against wealth disparity, and as a protest against an undefined elite.
Inside Mr Ruddiman’s mind, however, the scene looks very different. Mr. Ruddiman is going to vote for Brexit because all the talk about Europe and foreign things makes him very uncomfortable. Mr. Ruddiman likes to go down to the corner shop on Sundays so he can chat to the proprietor Mrs. Rapaka and for a few minutes feel a little less lonely, but that’s because she speaks English. Mr Ruddiman has never had any interest in foreign languages and can’t understand why they don’t all speak English. After all, Britain won the war and freed Europe so they should all be grateful.
Mr. Ruddiman isn’t sure who the elite are and frankly he doesn’t care. He voted for Brexit because Boris and Nigel are a laugh, he wouldn’t mind having a pint with either of them, and they’re both good blokes. So what if there’s a bit of slapping foreigners? They deserve it and ought to go back to their own countries. As for globalization it’s all Europe’s fault and the sooner England is out the better. Life was better when there was the British Empire and getting out of Europe means the Empire can come back. People can be proud again. Spitfires will fly over the White Cliffs of Dover and there won’t be any foreign muck in the supermarkets.
Mr. Ruddiman is sick of people telling him about all the bad things that will happen if Britain leaves the European Union. He doesn’t understand most of it and it annoys him that people are pretending it’s all so difficult. Boris and Nigel say it will be easy as anything and Britain will finally get its money back so it can be spent on the National Health Service, not on greasy foreigners. Boris and Nigel say all the gloom-mongering is just Project Fear and that’s good enough for Mr. Ruddiman.
Mr. Ruddiman likes the idea that Britain will be wealthier after Brexit and the National Health Service will be even better. He likes the sound of restoring Parliamentary democracy to Britain so it can make its own rules and take back control from foreigners in Brussels, wherever that is. It’s all going to be fantastic with Brexit: easy, quick, tons of money, and the world’s greatest and oldest Parliament back in control. What’s not to love?
Mr. Ruddiman is going to vote for Brexit and a brighter future for Britain.
We shall now step forward to 2019, while remaining in Mr. Ruddiman’s consciousness.
Mr. Ruddiman is furious.
Boris and Nigel said it was going to be quick and easy but here we are, nearly at the end of 2019 and England is still shackled to Europe like a slave to its master. Obviously it’s all the fault of politicians. They could get it done if they wanted to. There’s no excuse. What a shambles! They should all be chucked out, put real people in there who will get Brexit done. Britain can count on Boris but somehow he’s not quite there yet.
So what if the Pound has collapsed? Things in the shops aren’t much more expensive so that was all rubbish, and frankly no one should be going abroad for their holidays when there’s loads to see in Britain: the Lake District, for example. Lovely place, although Mr. Ruddiman’s never actually seen it for himself. But everyone says it’s lovely so that’s good enough for him.
So what if there’s going to be lost jobs and a recession? It’s a price worth paying to make Britain Great Again in future. You’ve got to be willing to lose something if you want to achieve anything of importance. Mr. Ruddiman is sick and tired of businesses saying Brexit will cause them huge problems. Just goes to show how unpatriotic businesses are. Like Boris says, f*ck business. Who needs them anyway?
Mr. Ruddiman is sick and tired of hearing about how the National Health Service is losing doctors and nurses because of racist incidents. If they’re foreign they don’t belong in Britain. It’s that simple. Plenty of good British people can take those jobs. Mr. Ruddiman can’t understand what all the noise is about and frankly he’ll be happy when it’s English doctors who treat him for his sciatica and lumbago. At least then he’ll be able to understand what they’re saying.
As for Parliament, Boris is right to shut the place down. What use is it? Getting in the way of Brexit, wasting everyone’s time. What Britain needs is a strong hand, get things done, get Britain back to the good old days. People spend far too much time talking about foreigners getting bashed up and not enough time talking about how great it’s all going to be once England is finally free from Europe.
Mr.Ruddiman is thinking seriously about voting for the Brexit Party or UKIP when there’s an election. He wants someone who’ll be firm, put police back on the streets, kick out the foreigners, and deliver Brexit properly. People who don’t like it should leave, go somewhere else where they can babble in their foreign languages and eat foreign muck. So what if there won’t be avocados or plum tomatoes in the shops? No one eats that stuff anyway. And why should Mr. Ruddiman now have to wait for weeks and weeks before he gets his hospital appointment, just because so many foreign doctors and nurses have left? It’s not right. He deserves better.
That’s why he voted for Brexit in the first place.